Saturday, August 31, 2013

Summer Interns' End of Season Report, 2013

Our point count data collection went smoothly; poison-oak proved to be the greatest hurdle as we climbed and crawled through it all summer to find our GPS coordinates. We saw some amazing birds this summer. Our most commonly recorded species were Mourning Doves, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Wrentits to name a few. We all had our favorite birds picked out when our bird data collection came to an end. 

Then it was on to vegetation data collection. It was not as enthralling as the bird data collection but we got very familiar with the common native (and  non-native) plants in the area. We hiked back to each GPS location and  recorded information on the plants that existed 25 meters in four directions from the GPS location center, North, East, South, and West. This data allows us to understand the vegetation composition of each area where birds are detected. This  valuable data will be used by the US Forest Service and by students at Cal Poly for senior and independent projects concerning which species occur in which habitat/ vegetation types. 

Even for the vegetation work, we hiked early in the morning to beat the heat. After our morning of hiking, our downtime consisted of working together on some puzzles, reading, playing cards, sun bathing (if we could stand it), and telemetry for tagged condors. We got a few beeps on the
telemetry receiver towards the Pinnacles National Monument which was exciting! 

With the fire danger in the area reported as "extreme", we also reported a couple fires! We worked hard through the summer heat and recently completed our work at the lookout, setting a record for the fastest intern group to finish the necessary data collection. 

We had so much fun working up at Hi Mountain this summer and are looking forward to more visits, especially the open house! We hope to see some or, even better, all of you there! 

Yours in birding, Summer 2013 Hi Mountain Interns Jackie, Shane, Desiree, EB, Sophie, and Adam