Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge
Us interns have some cool sites that we were able to work at. Although it would have been awesome to intern in Alaska (go Lesley!), California has been really great as well. Hugo and I are fortunate to be stationed out in Monterey Bay because we are able to work with more than one agency. This past week, we started to work together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife at Salinas River. This is exciting because its assisting with the Snowy Plover efforts we were doing with PRBO in the past.
Our work includes looking for Northern Harriers and ravens that are predators to S. Plovers eggs/chicks. We are also monitoring a Caspian Turn colony that live within the refuge. The work we are assisting with is part of a controversial issue going on in real time. Currently, US Fish & Wildlife and PRBO are not sure as to how much of a problem the Northern Harriers are to the plovers. Our observations and the data we collect will hopefully help decision makers figure out how to solve this issue.
Here’s Hugo looking at a possible harrier nest
It would be a million dollar shot to see a harrier with a plover chick in its beak. However, our monitoring efforts are key to seeing where the harriers are in reference to where the Snowy Plover nests are. If the two are not in conflict then it would be best to not remove a key predator in that habitat.
Caspian Tern colony
I’m looking forward to working at the Salinas River. Our work is important for more than one specie. Hugo and I are great examples of how important citizen science is. Don’t be afraid of getting out and volunteering, because the effort is worthwhile.