This week I had the opportunity to visit Leo Politi Elementary, a school in the middle of the city, and observe the Politi student interact with Dorsey High students. The Politi students informed the Dorsey students about Western Fence Lizards. They explained how to tell the gender, the habitat they live in, what they eat, what predators eat them, and what cold-blooded means. It was great seeing how well informed the elementary students were and how good they were at explaining what they knew. They were very excited to share their knowledge. After the lesson, the Politi and Dorsey students worked on a native garden located right inside the school! It is a very beautiful garden, and we saw several bird species and insects enjoying it. The students worked on piling rocks in the garden to make lovely accommodations for Western Fence Lizards they hope to get in the future. Everyone was very happy to work on the habitat and spend time in the garden.
I also got to observe crows get banded and some of them also received a transmitter. At the Least Tern enclosure at the beach they set out a trap for crows and they caught ten crows. The crows were then banded, a few of them had a transmitter glued to them, and were weighed. The transmitter will be used to see how far these crows are coming from, to this specific area. They are working towards reducing the number of crows in the area before the Least Terns come to nest. The crows attack the terns and eat their eggs. They were able to trap the crows into a wooden enclosure using peanuts. Crows love peanuts. I got some hands-on action picking up the remaining peanuts and peanut shells because they do not want to attract new crows with peanuts that were used to trap these crows. It may not be the most exciting hands-on action but I did learn a lot from a couple Loyola Marymount University professors that discussed the project.
I also conducted my shorebird surveys during the week. The highlight from the surveys is that I saw my first Black Oystercatchers foraging on the rocks. They were pretty close and the bright red/orange beak and eye circle really stood out. It was a great start to my Sunday survey. It was a great week with a lot of new experiences!