Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Earthwatch Team Fab-fortis: Day 6

Today I headed into town for observations again for the morning field work. One of the best parts of field work is even though you do the same thing every day, you can see very different things every day.

Keeping clean for observations
Today, we saw a large rat happily munching on some coconut. It is likely the invasive ship rat, and these are detrimental to the finches and other native animals and plants on the island because they are predators and can also be disease vectors.

To take our mind of these invasive species, we took an iced coffee break near Laguna de las Nymfas.

Our transect through the Laguna brought us up close and personal with a lava heron that looked to be on the verge of catching some tasty fish. However, despite several minutes of patiently waiting, we had to give up and continue on with our data collection.

Betty-Anne was on a mission to see a blue-footed booby, and we knew that some of the other team members had seen one near the fisherman’s market and near the pier. The fisherman’s market had frigates, pelicans, and of course, a sea lion, but no blue footed boobies.

At the very end of the morning, we decided to try the pier. We headed down and saw some sea birds, but no blue-footed boobies. Disappointed, we were about to head back to the station when Betsy spotted one flying into the area. To Betty-Ann’s delight, the booby stayed for several minutes, gliding and circling above us, diving into the water to catch fish, and then taking off to repeat the process. Its distinctive blue feet could be seen, and we all finished the morning quite happy with our bird watching (and data collecting)!

We gave the volunteers the afternoon off to relax, swap stories, and do any last minute souvenir shopping in town. However, data never waits for anyone, so Jeff and Andrew sat down for some data entry.

Tonight, we headed to town for a celebratory dinner, and of course, I forgot my SD card in my computer, so I have no photos to show. Luis showed the volunteers some graphs from the data they had produced, and the volunteers quite enjoyed seeing the fruits of their labour. Tomorrow, we head back into the field, so we said our goodbye’s tonight. As it was last time, we are sad to see the team head off, but hope they enjoyed their experience with us!

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