Oregon Silverspot Butterflies and Coastal Sea Birds
One of the things that I liked the most during this internship are all the opportunities of getting involved in different projects and being able of learn about them. I’ve enjoyed getting information about the detailed biology of Siuslaw National Forest endangered species, and the different techniques for its conservation and the restoration of their habitats. During last week I had the opportunity to help measure the abundance and coverage of early blue-violets on Mt. Hebo which is about three hours North of Florence, OR, but it is still part of the Siuslaw National Forest. I also helped with the delineation of an area for restoration on Rock Creek. Mt Hebo has one of the last remnants of suitable habitat for the Oregon silverspot butterfly and it is a hot spot for early blue-violet plants, this violet is the host plant of the early stages of the Oregon silverspot butterfly. Approximately a caterpillar needs 150 plants to become an adult butterfly; unfortunately I observed that invasive species had covered the landscape leaving small patches of early blue-violet, one of the main duties of the Forest Service is to restore meadows and plant early blue-violets on the historic habitat of this species.
In addition to helping survey blue-violtes, last Friday I enjoyed helping with a coastal sea bird survey. We surveyed for different species of coastal bird nests on the rock cliffs in the area. We helped count the nests of pelagic and brandt’s cormorants, pigeon guillemots and rhinoceros auklets which are pretty rare. We also we were lucky for visiting the famous Oregon Coast Sea Lions Caves. I always have the best of times when I contribute to science and conservation here at Siuslaw doing what I love to do the most.