Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 4

Allow me to start by saying that Maine, at least since i have been here get a LOT of rain. It was a wash out for banding today, both literally and figuratively. It poured rain this morning and there was cascading water going over the cliff we needed to climb. It was very dangerous with all that water going over the cliff so we called it off.  I was then free for the day so I decided to go explore some. my first stop was to go find these falcons nesting cliff. It was dreary and foggy at the top of the rise they were on but I eventually found them. I was there at Precipice Trail for about an hour, I then headed off to see what kind of bird life i could find along the shore.

I was surprised! I found Common Eiders, Great Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls and Black Guillemots all within my field of view; three life birds!!! It was pretty amazing. I was so happy that I went out. I thought to my self i could go back to the house now and be happy, but i didn’t, I kept going found Common Loons. All the while the background noise was of Red-breasted Nuthatches, White-throated Sparrows, Black-throated Green Warblers (These are rather ubiquitous here) Yellow-rumped Warblers And some that i have not identified yet. Later at Otter Cliff I saw about 10-12 Black Guillemots just floating and swimming around. Off in the distance there was a lobster boat checking their traps. It had a small flock of gulls flying along behind. As Dave always taught me “scan the group, you never know what you might find.” So I did, and saw a Sooty Shearwater in the crowd as well. Yet another Life Bird! I don’t have a good, or working, long lens currently so I don’t have photos of the birds I saw today.

--As a side note--

Anyone who reads this and would like to take pity on a poor Graduate student and gift them, ME, with a big fat Canon 100-400mm lens just e-mail me and I can give you the address :D

--back to the story--

So I drove around the East side of MDI (Mount Desert Island) and saw some beautiful houses, if it weren’t so cold here that Regina, Erin and the boys froze to death I could see my self staying here. It is a lovely place, I just need to find the local cheap restaurants. I am currently at the Opera House Internet Cafe writing this. the sun has finally come out, which is the reason for the internet cafe. After I am done with this I am going to fill up the coffee and head over to the Village Green and attempt, again, to connect to the free internet. After next week I will have internet at my house and these updates will happen more frequently. Hopefully I will also be able to buy that point and shoot soon so i can carry it where ever i go and be able to dress these posts up. sorry for no pictures.

That is all for now, I will chat with you all later.

Day 3

Not much happening today, didn’t start till 0800 today. got to work and organized my desk (somewhat) and then started reading papers. I jus have to say that now I don’t have the pressure of school and having time reading papers is rather enjoyable. I read three papers over egg contamination study looking at piping plovers, peregrine falcons and common loons. It got a little thick on the chemistry of the different contaminants but is was still a good paper. I also read some of another paper over brook trout. It was interesting. I have also found myself looking at the citations to see if there was any other good reading they pulled from. I think i am going over to the dark side…..j/k :D

Bruce and I went out one more time with the Fish guys Matt and Todd and went to swap out two receivers for an antenna  array that they designed and built to read PIT tags of the fish that they have marked. I got training on how to down load the information for the receivers and where the batteries were located to replace the current ones. we then ran back to the office and met with Tim and …forgot his name… to talk with a local land owner to see if he would grant permission to let these guys on his land to net for bats and band them. The land owner was very agreeable and said anytime, he then proceeded to tell us of the 89 little browns that were counted in his barn one year. I think we are planning on banding them one night for the land owner.

I found out today that my personal boots are NOT waterproof. it has been raining for the past three days and today was the worst. It was foggy, misty , soaking rain that permeated everything, it reminded  me a lot of the rainforest except for the cold ass temperature.

Finally we shot back over to HQ for one last meeting of the day with Sarah. She is a college student conducting a small research project with salamander sampling. she was at Acadia last fall with a class and saw how they sampled and wondered if there were a better way to conduct the samples less invasively. Current studies use cover boards that are expensive and inconvenient. Sarah asked if you could set a sample plot and walk the plot and find just as many salamanders then using cover boards. She will be writing the report over the summer and be in contact for revisions of her paper.

I have to admit it was rather interesting sitting on this side of the table while discussing a paper that I didn’t have to write. I suddenly had flash backs to Donna ans most of our conversations concerning any paper that i had written for her. It was funny. Thanks for teaching me so well Donna I thin you would have been proud.

Well that is all for today…

Tomorrow we are going to go for the Precipice Falcons if the weather gets nice. I will have to post a bout the weather some time it is really strange thing here.

Take care all.

Day 1 & 2

The first day was long, wet and cold, but I had a blast! The day started out at 0700 and ended at 1630, Whew! I went electro-shocking for brook trout in Stanley Brook. There were about 12-14 people in the group of researchers that came to Acadia looking at sea running trout. They are asking questions surrounding if it is genetics or some other factor that makes a trout go to sea. It was all pretty interesting.

My first official job was to run buckets full of fish back and forth between the mobile measurement lab and where the fish were pulled from, later I was assigned to one of the teams and was permanent bucket boy for the day. the best way to describe what I did was this only with out the wig and I was wearing a pair of chest waders.

-- insert mel brooks photo here--

I wish i had photos of me in this get-up, I am sure I was stunning. I may be able to ask for some, I noticed a researcher taking some shots while i was in the creek. If not they will be back in September and I will have a small P-A-S (point-and-shoot) camera and will definitely get some shots.

Day 2 was the same as day one only we finished the sample site and I was promoted to netting by the end of the sample.

Well that is all I have for now. I am going to attempt to up load these posts tonight and to call Regina again.

I tried to call Regina earlier to see how the move was going and all i got was “I love you, it is pouring and it is lightening talk to you later.” So I hung up and bought some garlic a butter thing for the table and some storage containers for lunch.

I Have Arrived!!!

Like I said, The next time I would post was when I had some information about the job. Well… I left Memorial day started driving. We, Regina, Bruce and I all decided it would be worth the risk of leaving with out my clearance. Tammy, the HR Lady, was really surprised that my clearance did not show up on Friday but was very certain that it would be in on Tuesday. So I rolled the dice and left.

I finally started my adventure. One thing that I wanted to do was stop at my brothers condo in Brooklyn. Originally I was not going to be able to do this because he was going to be on vacation with our parents in FL. Now that I was delayed it was possible for me to stop by and visit for a bit. It was great to see Charlotte and Jeff. I haven’t seen them since their wedding four years ago. My only complaint was that the visit was too short. I am planning on stopping by in September on my way back to Ohio.

Here are some photos from Charlotte and Jeff place. It is a really swank place they have there.



After my night with Charlotte and Jeff I was on the road bright and early. I left at 6 and I arrived at Acadia at 1530. This place is Beautiful!!!! I can’t wait for Regina and the kids to come.

Well I am going for now I will post my first day tomorrow.


Oh If you are wondering why these are coming in spurts i currently do not have internet, phone or TV at my house. I have to drive up to Bar Harbor and tap into the WiFi the city provides at the park so I can up load these posts. So I collect them and then post them.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Uniform

I received an e-mail today from Bruce and it contained all the information to allow me to order my uniforms. I hope that is a step in the right direction because NOBODY knows what is going on with my clearance. so to focus on a positive step I thought i would show everyone the uniform I would be wearing for the National Parks.

I will take you from head to toe journey of the uniform, first up the Hat.

I know, everyone was hoping for the Ranger Dan hat but I get to wear a nice mesh cap.



Field short sleeve shirts very stylish, I will be styling.

Long sleeve work shirt


Hip-Length Gore-Tex Shell, My first gore-tex coat bring on the RAIN!

Fleece Lined vest, can’t say that I have ever thought of my self as a vest person but it is supposed to be colder in Maine.

The Belt with the National Park Sequoia Cone:

Pants, a 50/50 mix of polyester and cotton. I will look HOT!

I got some boot socks 40% polypropylene 40.% Wool and 20% nylon. I am told these are a great sock.

Boots, I had a choice between two types I chose the less expensive pair to enable me to get more clothes.

So this will be my uniform for the summer. I will get some photos of my self in my uniform and post them later.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Still Waiting!!!

So I am still waiting on word from the background investigation. I wish it would come through soon. I was supposed to start tomorrow and it is kind of depressing to think that I have not left yet. I will let everyone know what happens. I am hoping to hear something this week from the background investigation.

Well on the plus side, I was able to go banding today and got some wonderful photos at the Queen City Bird Festival.









The next time I write will be when I have news on the job.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sad news ;(

Ok I have been dealing with this all weekend. I haven’t posted about until now because I needed to find some good things to say too.


I will not be leaving on the 16th of May for my job in Acadia NP, it has been pushed back. The reason…I went in on the 1st of May to the Campus Police station to get fingerprinted. It was a simple process, and cost me $11 to have done.  Didn't realize that is cost to have fingerprints done today but whatever. Part of this process is that after I have the prints I could not be the one to send them off. something about chain of custody. I asked, on the 1st of May (grrr), if they would go out in the mail that day, the pleasant reply was that it would go out that day. Yeah all done right? Nope. I got an e-mail from Bruce, the new boss, saying that they had not received my fingerprint cards yet and because of that I would not have to leave on the 16th but would have to wait for the 26th of May MINIMUM! It takes ten days from the time that they receive the prints till clearance is granted, and that is with out any problems.

So it looks like I will be in Oxford for another two weeks then I expected. I am really bummed, that I am not leaving when I thought I would, Angry, because the campus police/campus screwed up delivering my prints, and frustrated, because I have absolutely no control over the current situation.

So where is the silver lining that i mentioned earlier?

as a result of leaving later, I should have the time to stop and see my brother and S-I-L in New York, I will be able to help out with the 2nd annual Queen City Bird Festival, and it is more time with my family. The two downers that I see are 1) it will be necessary to travel over memorial day weekend (eeekkkk!!) and 2) that is at least a weeks worth of pay that we will be short.  And that isn’t good.



Happy News

Here is a piece of happy news, Gina has found a house for the family in Maderia, OH. It is 5 minutes from her work, which is like getting a raise. she currently drives an hour each way right now, and that happens at least four time a week now. It is a really nice neighborhood we have a yard with some trees, the land lord is cool, and Simon’s Big Boy school is literally across the street.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The paperwork has left Ohio

Just a quick note

I sent of the paperwork that Acadia (ANP) sent me. I sent it express mail so that there would be no delay. It won’t reach then until Wednesday at 1500. I will be finding out soon about my housing. I will also be able to pick out my uniform soon. stay tuned for that, I am sure that the fashions available will be quite HOT!

Off to study my database class.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Paperwork Arrived

It actually arrived yesterday, but whatever. Included in the mailing were three forms that needed to be filled out. The first one that needed to be filled in were two fingerprint cards. I went to the campus police and got them done just before work this morning. It cost $11, which was a lot better than the $25 Oxford police wanted, plus I would have had to  waited until next Wednesday. I chose the less expensive and sooner alternative. Besides, Bruce, my new boss, said that he needed all this paperwork back very quickly. The other two forms were simple things, fill them out and sign. all of this information will be used in my background investigation. Apparently when you get hired by the federal government you have to be checked out by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Hmmm, make sure you all say nice things if the men in black show up :)


Short update today, I am struggling with GIS and need to get back to it.


Crane Creek

So I am at Crane Creek this weekend. It is located in northern Ohio just West of Port Clinton on Lake Erie. It is a birding hot spot in Ohio and when the spring migration is in full swing it is a wondrous time. The warblers that drop in look like Christmas ornaments hanging from the trees. you can get within a couple of feet of them and get the greatest looks.

We started our trip on the 25th of April and started at Hueston Woods State Park. when we were done there we had 40+ species of birds either seen or heard. the biggest most impressive thing that we saw was the Cerulean Warbler. Only the second time I had seen one in my life. It was pretty impressive.

From Hueston Woods we continued on to north to Celina to find the Eurasian Collared Dove. We found it. Only the second time I have ever seen this bird too, the first time was in Brownsville Texas in 2008. We stopped for lunch at Wendy’s I had a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Iced Tea. From here we took off to find the Smith’s Longspurs.

This was going to be a life bird for me if we could find it. as we drove around the back roads of Celina it was starting to look like we were going to miss out on this particular bird. That is until Dave stops looks out the window and jumps out of the van and says “there it is.”

-- Side Story--

I have known Dave now for nearly three and half years. He has taught me a lot about how to bird how to band birds and basic rules of  life (never to old to learn). the one thing that I have learned over these years I have come to learn that Dave has hearing abilities that no normal human could possess. I really believe that the man could be in the middle of a roaring river and hear a chip note from a Northern Parula. He can hear a bird a 100 yards ID it and go find in under five minutes. It is absolutely incredible when he does this. I have learned to trust in Dave’s hearing ability and it is truly amazing.

--Back to the trip--

So Dave lets us know that we should be looking for a plant, weed actually, called foxtail. so we looked around the clumps of foxtail in an agriculture field. It wasn’t long after that we found them. there were several that were in and amongst the foxtails. It was a spectacular bird. it was almost completely in its breeding plumage. they were awesome! I couldn’t believe that I had another life bird.

-- Explanation--

A Life bird is a bird that you have never seen before. it is really important for a lister like my self. A lister is someone who keeps a record of the birds they have seen in their life. I should add up how many i have for the U.S. soon, I will let you all know soon. I am hoping to be somewhere in the 200’s. I will keep you all up to date because i am hoping to in crease my list while at Acadia.

--The story continues--

we stayed for about a half hour following the birds in this ag-field.

It was time to continue on, we got back to 75n and headed to Sandusky and Magee Marsh. it was a long trip but worth it. we got there around five or six. We started by traveling around the area to various hot spots. The two Highlights of this part of the day was a field full of shore birds and and walking the first quarter of the boardwalk at Magee Marsh. We then went for Pizza Hut and turned in for the night around 2230. The next morning that started at 0600 with breakfast in the lobby and a run over the Mawmee looking for Avocets that had dropped in the night before. We struck out on those. We kept at birding for the rest of the day and finally left the area around 1700 and got back to Oxford at 2100

So there is a reason there are no pictures here, My camera lens is broken :( I was pulling it out when i was at Magee Marsh on saturday and realized that my long lens was broken. It wouldn’t focus, it was locked when in autofocus and would actuate when focused manually. I was very sad that it happened.

So here is the final birdlist for the trip: pictures are from my personal collection just to show the birds that I saw while on the trip.

--The list--


Snow Goose

  American Crow  
Canada Goose   Horned Lark  
Mute Swan   Purple Martin  
Trumpeter Swan   Tree Swallow TRES, Crane Creek, 14May06
Wood Duck   Northern Rough-winged Swallow NRWS, HWBS, May06, Front
Gadwall   Bank Swallow  
American Wigeon   Barn Swallow  
American Black Duck   Carolina Chickadee  
Mallard   Tufted Titmouse IMG_0254
Blue-winged Teal   White-breasted Nuthatch  
Northern Shoveler   Carolina Wren (e) CARW, HWBS, May06, Profile head
Northern Pintail   House Wren  
Greater Scaup   Winter Wren  
Lesser Scaup   Ruby-crowned Kinglet Mexico 2007 153
Bufflehead Female Buffleheads, Lake St. Mary area, 22 Apr 06 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  
Hooded Merganser   Eastern Bluebird  
Red-breasted Merganser   Veery Veery HWBS, 8May06
Ruddy Duck   Gray-cheeked Thrush GCBT, HWBS, May06, Head & Chest
Ring-Necked Pheasant   Swainson’s Thrush Swainson's Thrush, MUBO, 3 May 07 (2), Resized
Pied-billed Grebe   Hermit Thrush HETH 11APR2009 MUBO-6
Double-crested Cormorant Disney_09 (1275) Wood Thrush  
American Bittern American Bittern, Hueston Woods Apr 2006 American Robin AMRO, Crane Creek, 15May06, Chicks
Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron, Acton Lake, Sugar Shack, Aug 2006 Gray Catbird  
Great Egret Great Egret, pre-alternate molt, 23 Apr 06 Northern Mockingbird  
Snowy Egret Snowy Egret, Crane Creek, 23 Apr 06-2 Brown Thrasher Brown Thrasher, 14 June 07, HWBS_filtered
Green Heron (e)   European Starling  
Black Vulture   Cedar Waxwing Cedar Waxwing, SY, HWBS, Profile Heasd, 29 May 06
Turkey Vulture Turkey Vulture, Hueston Woods, 22 Apr 06 Blue-winged Warbler BWWA, MUBO, 23 Apr 07 (2)
Osprey   Tennessee Warbler Tennessee Warbler, 14 May 07, MUBO_filtered
American Bald Eagle   Nashville Warbler  
Northern Harrier   Northern Parula  
Sharp-shinned Hawk   Yellow Warbler Yellow Warbler, Male, HWBS, 9 May 07
Coopers Hawk   Chestnut-sided Warbler Chestnut-Sided Warbler, HWBS, 9 May 07
Broad-winged Hawk   Magnolia Warbler MAWA, Male, HWBS, 9May06, Head & Breast
Red-Tailed Hawk   Yellow-rumped Warbler Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Butt shot, 9May06
American Kestrel   Black-throated Green Warbler Black-throated Green Warbler, HWBS, 02 May 2006
Sora   Yellow-throated Warbler  
American Coot   Pine Warbler  
Black-bellied Plover   Palm Warbler  
American Golden Plover   Cerulean Warbler  
Semipalmated Plover   Black-and-White Warbler Black & White Warbler, Female, 14 June 07, HWBS, starting Prebasic Molt_filtered
Killdeer Killdeer, Nesting, Crane Creek, 22 Apr 06-2 Prothonotary Warbler  
Spotted Sandpiper   Worm-eating Warbler  
Solitary Sandpiper   Ovenbird Ovenbird, MUBO, 28 Apr 07
Greater Yellowlegs   Northern Waterthrush HWBS, 02 May 2006-4
Lesser Yellowlegs   Louisiana Waterthrush Louisiana Waterthrush, HWBS, 26 May 06
Pectoral Sandpiper   Common Yellowthroat Common Yellow Throat Warbler,Side  24 Apr 06
Dunlin   Hooded Warbler HOWA, MUBO, 23 Apr 07
Wilson’s Snipe   Wilson’s Warbler Mexico 2007 099
Bonaparte’s Gull   Summer Tanager  
Ring-billed Gull   Scarlet Tanager  
Herring Gull   Eastern Towhee Eastern Towhee, portrait, 16Apr07, MUBO, Resized
Caspian Tern   Chipping Sparrow Chipping Sparrow, Home Feeder, Cincinnati Apr 2006
Common Tern   Field Sparrow  
Rock Pigeon   Savannah Sparrow _MG_6697
Eurasian Collared-dove   Song Sparrow  
Mourning Dove   White-throated Sparrow WTSP, MUBO, 27 Apr 07 (3)
Great Horned Owl IMG_6770 White-crowned Sparrow White-Crowned Sparrow, HWBS, 9 May 07
Chimney Swift   Smith’s Longspur  
Belted Kingfisher   Northern Cardinal NOCA 11APR2009 MUBO-5
Red-bellied Woodpecker RBWO, HWBS, May06, Head profile Rose-breasted Grosbeak -30
Downy Woodpecker   Indigo Bunting Indigo Bunting, ASY Male, 5 Jun 07, MUBO 2_filtered
Northern Flicker PICT0005-12 Red-winged Blackbird Red-Winged Blackbird, HWBS, 9 May 07
Pileated Woodpecker Pileated Woodpecker, Male, HWBS, 29 May 06 Rusty Blackbird  
Eastern Phoebe Eastern Phoebe, HY, 14 June 07, HWBS_filtered Common Grackle Common Grackle, Male, 22 May 07, MUBO_filtered
Great-crested Flycatcher   Brown-headed Cowbird BHCO, 16April2009, SY, M, HWBS-2
Eastern Kingbird Eastern Kingbird, Female, 30 May 07, HWBS_filtered Baltimore Oriole Baltimore Oriole, HWBS, 9 May 07
White-eyed Vireo (e) WEVI, HWBS, 2006 Purple Finch  
Yellow-throated Vireo   House Finch House Finch 2006 Thimbleglen Dr
Blue-headed Vireo Blue-headed Viero American Goldfinch AMGO Cinci House, 8May06
Warbling Vireo   House Sparrow  
Blue Jay BLJA, MUBO, 23May06, Head