Last night was Team Bug’s biweekly amphibian survey, and it was a blast. We started the survey half an hour after the sun set, and drove to six different points of South San Luis Lakes to listen for amphibians. After we finished those points, we traveled to the south end of Blanca Wetlands and started on the remaining ten points. The first time we did a “herp” survey, we had no maps or GPS points; instead we had Portland Torres, the Blanca Wetlands maintenance worker, with us. He knows the trail and points like the back of his hand, so even though we were traveling in the dark of the night he was able to navigate the paths. Everybody else in the truck, including myself, had no idea where we were going or how to get there. It was fun, but all dependent on Portland having the time and willingness to navigate for us.
I took some initiative and talked to Doug Simon, the office GIS specialist, about creating a GPS map of the trail we would navigate, as well as the points that we would have to survey. Doug set me up with a Trimble Juno Series GPS unit to create a GPS map. So last night between nine and one in the morning, I was mapping the survey points and the trails to each point. Once we finished for the night and I looked at the completed survey map, I felt a sense of accomplishment. We now had the ability to navigate in the dark, and the map can be passed down to next year’s crew. It feels pretty good to know that you contributed, even if it was in a small way.