The town is alive! The weather here has been gloomy and rainy for most of the month but now it seems that the town is getting some sunshine. This has opened some time for people to be outside exploring and many of the fishermen and fisherwomen are putting their boats in the water and getting ready for the season. It is so refreshing to step into town and see all the people moving about the harbor. Businesses are extending their hours, cars are being driven all over town, and many new faces line the streets.
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Even though the festival is over, the shorebird surveys continue! At least for a couple of more days. People will still stop by and ask what I am seeing out there and what kind of numbers I am getting. The counts are starting to drop significantly now, since the peak of migration seemed to be the weekend of shorebird festival. If the weather is very nice like it has been, then the birds tend not to push inland towards Cordova and stay out around the barrier islands in the Prince William Sound. If it is raining hard and very windy, there will be high numbers for that day as the shorebirds will come in seeking shelter from the harsh conditions in open water. This change has been very apparent during my surveys and it is a trade-off I wish I didn’t have to make: Get good weather and see few birds, or get a strong storm and see an increase in numbers. I’d rather see higher numbers but I would also like to be able to walk down my sites without being blown away or getting completely drenched by the rain! The views from my sites are also amazing when it is sunny and clear, and it makes the time outside that much more enjoyable.
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I was also able to help the Prince William Sound Science Center with banding shorebirds this past week. Once I would finish with my surveys, I would head down to the banding station to help out. Being that we both were following the high tide, I was always present when they were out catching birds. Mist nets were used to catch unsuspecting birds, but many of them were smart enough to avoid the trap. Once caught, they had their morphological measurements taken, along with fecal, blood, and oral samples. I was able to help with catching them and their release, so it was cool to be able to see them without using a scope! Most of the birds that were caught were the small Least and Western sandpipers, but occasionally a semipalmated sandpiper or a semipalmated plover would land in the net. Now that the migration has slowed, they will stop banding shorebirds and start working on catching and banding gulls. I’ll have to go out on those days to see how different it is to work with those birds!
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As for the Forest Service summer season, people are in the midst of arriving for it. We’re getting new people coming in this week and the next couple of weeks in preparation for the season. Orientation is at the end of the month and everyone should be in by then. The trails crew seems to have already assembled their people, but wildlife (me) and fisheries are still waiting on the extra seasonals to show up. The bunkhouse is starting to fill up so we’ll have to see how it truly is when everyone finally arrives and has to share the space that has only, up until recently, been occupied by one other person and me. With the shorebird activities wrapping up and the summer getting closer, I’m excited to see what these next couple of weeks will have in store for me!

Categories: 2017 Interns

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