I Get Paid to Watch the Sunrise

Most days I can’t believe this is my job! It’s amazing!! Last Wednesday I had the privilege to assist with SWFL surveys on the Macintire-Simpson property. What is a “SWFL” you might ask? It is simply an acronym used to describe the southwestern willow flycatcher, a small bird that lives in the willowy riparian areas. They are endangered species so making sure that the habitat is in good condition and that we are still seeing activity is very important. We met at the site at the bright and sunny hour of 5:00am in order to hike down to where the willows were before the sun rose. The birds are very active in the early morning when it is still cool outside  so we had to be there before they hunkered down to avoid the midday heat. We would sit at a spot for a few minutes and listen to see if we heard anything, then we would play a recording of their call and wait again. We moved down the patch of willows every 100 meters or so until we got to the end and then turned around, listening again. Our group only heard one call which was disappointing but the scenery more than made up for it. Watching the sun rise over Mt Blanca turning the sky into a cotton candy pink was well worth leaving my warm bed for. I can’t even describe how the river and mountains just lit up with beautiful colors as the sun climbed higher into the sky. I am so thankful that my job allows me to do what I love!

The sunrise!

The sunrise!

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That’s me! (trying not to get eaten by swarms of mosquitoes)

Morgan Garcia
mlgarcia@rams.colostate.edu
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