If anyone ever asks, Hank Williams is the best music to listen to when you’re lugging 60 pound sandbags across mudflats. So, can you guess what I did this past week? That’s right! I lugged 60 pound sandbags across mudflats while listening to Hank Williams! Senior, that is…
This week, Nick Docken, Robert Masolini, Matt Prinzing and I set out for Egg Island to work on the Wetland Enhancement project. The project was initiated last year when a dam was built with sandbags to create a pond/wetland habitat for dusky Canada Goose brood rearing and gosling use. The purpose of the project is not only to create a freshwater wetland environment for duskys, but also to better understand how these areas are utilized in the rearing of goslings. When the dam was created last year, it was two feet above ground level. When we got to it this past week, it was pretty much at ground level! The bags had settled into the trench so much that it was essentially flattened. We used 300 sandbags, 50-70 pounds each, to get that dam back up to two feet off of the ground. I was able to cart one to three sandbags at a time, while others lugged up to four or more. We saw instant results as our dam started holding back water from the small drainage/stream running across it. The first couple days of work were hard to adjust to, and the rain and wind didn’t help either. But by the third day, everything fell into place, the sun was shining, we sent for reinforcements (Cody Davis and Alanna Gotshall), and listening to Hank Williams full blast while I dragged a wagon with 180-210 pounds of sand made it surprisingly enjoyable.
The best part of the Egg Island trip was getting to see shorebirds again! Although not an anomaly, it was surprising to me to see so many shorebirds back on the Delta. Currently, they are traveling back south from their breeding grounds in the north. So amazing! We saw Pectoral Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, what might have been some Ruddy Turnstones, and another bird that I almost did not recognize, a juvenile American Golden-Plover! It was large like a plover, and its plumage was very light and speckled and it had a white patch at the base of its beak. It was an exciting experience to see the offspring of a bird that may have passed through earlier in the summer, one that I might have counted in my surveys!
The ride home for us on the jet boat was one of the most fun rides I’ve had. The sun was out but the waves were choppy with rolling, rushing peaks and troughs. So manic and fun. Such a difference from the mirror smooth waters on the way to Egg Island a couple days prior. Nick’s a good captain, though, and handles the boat like a boss. I could see the mountain ranges clearly, and Sheridan Glacier was glowing bright blue across the Delta.