Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Week of HELL!

Hellishly busy that is!!!


It has been a long time since I needed to put forth as much physical effort as I had to do this past week. I knew I was out of shape but this week really proved it to me.  Lets start with with a day by day run down:


The week started off as many do with Monday, the only difference was that today i needed to be at work by 0530. Why, you might ask your self. a very good question. The answer – Raptor surveys! My boss is following a protocol from last year that was established by a group that was trying to get a quick baseline of what can be found on park land. After discussing it with Bruce it came to light that the surveyors from last year used a big truck to conduct the surveys. hmmm…big truck very few raptors found….wonder if there is a connection. I suggested a bike as the method of transport and  a way of limiting disturbance. I know I have written most of this before but just thought i should refresh everyone (including myself).

So there I was at HQ loading a bike into the back of our pick-em-up truck at 0530. I arrived at the Eagle Lake Carriage road entrance about 5 minutes later and with helmet on and backpack loaded I set off.  I must mention that i am riding a really sweet mountain bike with great suspension and 21 gears of go-go power. However, I think I have failed to mention that the last time I road a bike any distance was probably 15+ years ago. Oh yeah and the 22 years of smoking under my belt and I am carrying a lot of extra weight. Let me tell you three hours and six miles later i was starting to realize that I may want to rethink the whole ‘bike is less disturbance’ thing.

The procedure is to ride half mile play a series of raptor calls to elicit a response. you play the call for 20 seconds and pause for 30 seconds. there are six calls in all that are required to be played. the calls are also played from smallest to largest species. The thought behind this is so that we don’t scare off the smaller species by immediately playing a large hawk call.

The carriage road that I- end up taking is called Witch Hole because it ends up going around Witch Hole Pond. This is the route.



The Route is approximately 6 –6.5 miles, depends on what source you are using.

After I was done with that I work around the office, I had to complete my computer security training. Bruce had me start working on GIS for the rest of the day, which was about an hour. Not much time considering I had not actually been able to delve into the file structure that had been set up. It also didn’t help that the data the I was supposed to be working with was not completely correct. I tried to start piecing together some things but It was slow going and my hour was up.

I got home and was a bit bored so I decided to hit another trail on the east side. the East side becomes VERY busy when the season starts so i want to attempt to finish most of the trails on this side.

the trail for the day was Great Head…Don’t  Laugh, I already have.

It was an easy walk with some great views. this area is located right at sand beach.

Great Head Path


Me with Sand beach below



Old soaker



the ‘summit’ of Great Head



and Finally Bunchberry, it is all over the place:


Well that was pretty much my Monday…here comes Tuesday


If you read Monday then this is a carbon copy day, with just a couple of exceptions. Today I had company, his name is Bik and he is my partner in crime at work. He was here last year but it took for ever for his clearance to come through. At least today I had company during the survey. Bik just graduated from College of the Atlantic and has a science background. as we conducted our survey today we started asking questions about the methodology and and determined that there were some assumptions made during the first year that didn’t appear to be true. the biggest one was the distance that the game caller sound would carry. It was originally stated that the sound would cover 750m we found that it might make it 60. When we finished our surveys for the day ( my hiney was aching) we went to Bruce and presented our findings and offered some resolutions to the apparent obstacles. after a lot of discussion we decided to make our survey stations a quarter mile apart the the originally stated half mile. this would in crease our coverage and allow for a better collection method.

that was pretty much Tuesday. I was too tired to do anything else and it was the day that I got my internet so I stayed in.


this was a a weird day…I really didn’t do anything. I waited on Bruce a lot…and then some more. He is an incredibly busy guy. especially this week. He coordinating the Eagle banding that is to be going on in and around ANP. There is a State specialist, Charlie, who overflies Eagle nests on a weekly basis to determine whether or not they are active. then we get GIS data layers showing us where the active nests are located. We then have a research group that is studying contaminants and how they relate to Bald Eagles. they provide the climbers and we provide all the support that they might require.

so the majority of to day was spent sitting around the office and doing the ‘lets do this … oh wait no lets do that… nope lets go back and do this’ dance. I left at a decent hour today went home and just bummed around. For tomorrow we are meeting Chris and Rick, the climbers (they just don’t climb, Chris is one of the lead researchers) and go out eagle banding.



Eagle banding day! Bruce said that they would be there around 1100 and we should be ready to leave quickly. this meant that Bik and I were out moving our equipment around until it was time to go. This amorphous start time was supposed to be around 1100 but was slowly moving back to 1200, then to 1300 and finally around 1410 they arrived and we were able to start. We met them at a local land owner’s home, from which we were given permission to launch our boat from there property.  This is where we launched from and the island we went to:

Bar Island path

I realize that you see that bar between Bar Island and the mainland, however this photo is shot at low tide.

We were done with island around 1800; that is we had the boat on the trailer and everything packed and ready to go at 1800. Chris, an ever ambitious fellow, said we should go to the next island Twinnie. Bik and I looked at each other and thought ‘no way we are going out there’…Wrong! Bruce was like if we can make it why not. so we headed up to the north end of MDI (Mount Desert Island) and launched from Hadley’s point. not too far away but I don’t think we actually launched until 1830-1845. By the time we finished with Twinnie Island with a return trip because we forgot some gear, it was 2230. We had rangers waiting on us on the beach because Bruce’s wife was worried. She also works for the parks. She called the rangers who couldn’t find the float plan (a plan that is given to the dispatchers to let them know where and approximately when we would be where on the water) and then called in rangers who were off duty to find us. apparently they were close to calling the Coast Guard. What a day, 16 hours after i started my day I was finally headed home, it was 2300.

Hear are some shots of the Bar Island banding:

this is Rick Climbing the nest tree

The banding site, not far from the tree

Bruce & Chris taking the Eagle off the rope


Chris weighing the eaglet, heavy buggers.


The star of the show, he is about 5.5 weeks


Gettin' some blang!


Blood letting time. This is for the contaminant testing

Yes I am in waders. never thought that would happen in my life.


We, Bik and I, started work at 0830, we thought we were leaving then but we didn’t start until 1000. Today Rick went me, Bruce and Bik as one banding team. and Chris took some others to different islands. We hit Sheep Porcupine and Long Porcupine both islands in Frenchman’s Bay. It was raining when we first went out. it was predicted to be a soaker, and I am here to tell that it was a big one. When we reached the firs site on Sheep Porcupine it was only sprinkling and slowly tapered off while at this site. After Sheep it was off to Long. at both locations the hike in was…ummm…not easy. for some reason the silly eagles don’t make it easy for us researchers. We finally got back to HQ around 1900. talk about two very long days. I had the option to work today (Saturday) but I needed a day of rest. So I will be working on Sunday and hitting two more islands Duck and Schoodic. I am told they both have large sea bird colonies. Should be interesting. No pictures for Friday since it was wet as all get out for most of the day. I do have a map of the islands that we went to today.


If you were wondering why I am not telling you exactly where these nest are, well they are protected and as such it is sensitive information.


That is the week. I will hopefully be a little more consistent in updating the blog this week, it all depends on how much work we have going on. I am apparently getting older and am starting to feel those effects, sad…very sad. Until next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment