Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hi Mtn Intern Update Week 5

Hi Everyone,

We just completed our fifth week up at Hi Mountain, wohoo! At this halfway
milestone we are finally getting in the groove of the "rugged mountain life" and
have learned to appreciate the "simple pleasures" such as traveling to gas up
the USFS Jeep in Santa Margarita and purchasing a diet coke and potato chips
(hits the spot)!

As of this week, both of our studly field teams have braved the horrors of the
chaparral ecosystem as we attempt to find GPS points and trap there. What a
crazy bunch of shrubs! I don't think I have ever experienced such feelings of
claustrophobia/adventure/accomplishment as we successfully bushwacked through
thick clumps of Ceanothus cuneatus, Adenostoma fasciculatum and Arctostaphylos
spp. (for several hours at a time) to the pot of gold that we call a GPS point.
In this ecosystem we are hoping to see some of those super cute Dipodomes!

Update on the P. boylii count: We now have eight out of 10 specimens! It is sad
to have to bring the little guys home, but it is also extremely exciting. Today
all of the interns checked out the Cal Poly Peromyscus collection to find out
that there were just a few, rag-tag P. boylii specimines, it is nice to make the
collection a little more representative of the area. 

We are all headed up to Pinnacles for a day trip tomorrow. We will be traveling
in style (in Graces bright blue VW bug) and hopefully will return home with some
new condor knowledge to impress our friends with as well as pictures of us being
science nerds to post on facebook!

Highlights of the week:

(1) Andrew and Grace both tracked their first condors this weekend (data sheets
coming soon!)
(2) Finding one of our Sherman traps completely annihilated by an unknown
trouble maker (Dr. V says it is most likely a black bear). Maybe Andrew will
sent out a picture, it is rumored that he is bringing the trap home to hang up
in his bedroom (most likely to remind himself of how hard core his job is).
(3) Answering the question of "Do hummingbirds really drink out of hummingbird
sage (Salvia spathacea)?" when we caught an Anna's fly by and take a sip while
we were hiking in Trout Creek. 

That is all for now!