This week, I feel like I became official! I was given a nametag for the Siuslaw National Forest that actually had my first and LAST name and a forest service badge! My uniform feels complete now. I spent the week up at Cape Perpetua learning the logistics of some of the sites I will conduct my outreach nearby the Cape (since I was acquainted with the southern ones last week when I was working from the Reedsport station). I got the opportunity to take a quick hike up on one of the most popular trails, The Giant Spruce Trail! It leads you right to an old-growth Sitka spruce, (Picea sitchensis) that is approximately 550-years old. I was really captivated by the diversity and I tried to be aware of all of the species I was walking by.
I saw a Varied Thrush, a pair of American robins and heard a few birds I wasn’t able to identify by their songs. I also made notes on some of plant species I saw especially if I felt I had seen it before such as Cow parsnip, Heracleum lanatum, which I used to see at one of the sites from my last internship. The site was called Oregon Caves, a national monument in southwestern Oregon. It would sprout up all around us and I did not know what it was at the time but always meant to look it up. There were a few species that caught my eye that I will key because one of my goals is to learn as many plant species as I can while I’m out here! Later on in the week, I got to walk down to the tide pools and got a brief introduction to some of the species that inhabit the tide pools. We were lucky enough to spot a Black Oystercatcher.
A whole lot of planning went on as well too! I got introduced to a few of the programs that I will be a part of and helping out with this month. I am really anxious to get started on my outreach because I have been informed that there are a few campsites that have a real problem with the corvid interaction with visitors because they are near areas where marbled murrelets nest. This is an issue because corvids are intelligent resourceful birds that receive a supplementary diet from the food left intentionally or unintentionally by humans. They will search nearby areas for the eggs or chicks of these birds. And since it is so expensive to have this chick, find a proper tree to raise it, and to feed it they will not procreate again. We’ll see what this coming week will bring!