1,400 Western Sandpipers were sighted! They were spotted by a local at a site other than those I visit to do my surveys. Everything has been arriving early this year: plants, animals, and weather. My super cool supervisor, Melissa Gabrielson, told me that it’s uncharacteristically early for shorebirds to be showing up. During the first week of this month I spotted not even one shorebird. Now there are over a thousand out and about! I will be visiting my survey sites this weekend, and I’m so excited to hopefully see them filling with shorebirds. As with many natural occurrences these days, maybe this means that the timing of the shorebird migration is shifting, the effects of which are hard to predict.
The shorebird festival is just around the corner, and I am working hard to get a collaborative art project underway with the elementary school here in Cordova. I’m hoping to be able to collate all of the shorebird art these students create into one grand mural. My alternative is to just individually display each student’s work (which would still be awesome). I’m including a rough (and I mean rough) draft of my mural vision. It includes a flying shorebird mobile and handmade macroinvertebrate sculptures. I hope it works out!
The cherry on top this week was an amazing hike up to Crater Lake. Chantel, a biological technician and my office mate here at the Forest Service, and I hiked Crater Lake trail on a beautiful sunny day with the District Ranger’s pup, Chugach. He loved it! We loved it! It was a very low snow year so we were able to summit the trail, which is much higher than is normally accessible at this time of year. The temperatures haven’t been getting below freezing, so the snow on the trail was very soft. Chantel, Chugach and I did a lot of “postholing” into the snow, so we got a decent calf workout. I got to see beautiful waterfalls and an amazing view of the Copper River Delta. Awesome week!