Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Greetings from Maine

Hi everyone! I am alive and well and writing this as I sit in George Dorr’s old homestead. I am terribly sorry for being absent for so long in my cyber home but I have been super busy with trying to get back on my feet since getting here.

So this is my second season here at Acadia National Park and I am having the time of my life. This year I am doing a lot of the same things that I did last year such as, Raptor Callback surveys, observing Peregrine Falcons, Common Loons and beavers. My Boss Bruce has me primarily working on the Raptor surveys. I have been working very unusual hours and as such haven’t been able to do the things I would like to be doing, like blogging about my life.

The Diurnal (daytime) raptor surveys are a continuation of a three year project to gain some understanding as to what types of raptors live and breed in Acadia. however like the two previous years the raptors are not helping us out much. They are VERY secretive and are difficult to coax out of their hidey holes. We have tried everything from playing conspecific (same species) calls to playing predatory calls. I have been out at 0500 trying and out at 2000 trying but with very depressing results. To date I have only had Nocturnal raptors respond (Barred Owls specifically). This wouldn’t be so bad but in my hiking around and just my general travels around the Island I have seen more raptors then i could count. So after a month solid of doing these surveys I basically have nothing to show for the 50+ hours that I have put in to this project. I only have one more week of surveys starting next week and then I am done with the field portion of this project. I then head inside to start the writing of the report.

In conjunction with my night time surveys I have also been out observing and counting beavers to determine family sizes. This is in anticipation of removal of these critters from problems areas. This has been a delightful change from the dismal raptor surveys, at least I have found beavers :).

I have also been involved with Peregrine falcons this year but only in an observation capacity. The falcons at the precipice are our only troubling story. This pair has been watched since early March and we still don’t know what the heck it is that they are doing. We are pretty sure that their first attempt at a nest failed and the in May they tried again. Everything was tracking that they had a nest and all the behavior pointed to this. then about three weeks ago all the nesting behavior stopped cold. No falcons were on the nest! not a great sign. then about 10 days ago one of the interpretive staff thought they heard a chick on the cliff. but only once. The Wildlife crew went up the cliff to see if the birds would respond to our presence. WOW! the female was right on us when we hit the area that we thought the scrape site was located. At one point I was attempting to get photos of the bird for identification purposes and she stooped on me and i felt the wind as she passed by, quite exhilarating. the only down point was we heard no chicks. That brings me to this morning, I was at the precipice parking area observing and there were no birds to be seen. About 20 minutes later the female came over the ridgeline and flew over the scrape site and i heard a chick calling! it was so surprising I truly didn’t think that there was anything on that cliff face. So now we are hopefully going to go back up that cliff and see if we can find the chick. the only thing that I have failed to mention was that we have a suspicion that the chick is no longer in the scrape but rather below it, as though it fell from the original site. So now we get to play Hide-and-Seek with a juvenile Peregrine on a 1000 foot cliff face….Yeah!

Looking to the future:

With the Oil spill in the Gulf the secretary of the Interior has ask for volunteers to go down and provide support. I am currently on a waiting list for this to happen. there are no guaranties that I will go but that possibility exists. I have no idea of what I could be doing or where I would be serving but I could go at the drop of a hat, in government terms that means I would probably have a weeks warning before I would head down. I will definitely blog about that.

The other thing that I will be doing this fall, Mid August till I leave at the end of September, is being a Lead Bander for a project that is occurring on MDI (Mount Desert Island). I am really looking forward to this part of my job for many reasons. One, I would finally get to put a bullet item on my resume that states I did this for a job! that could be huge. and secondly I miss banding, it is one of those times in my life that I am completely relaxed and at peace with life.

After Acadia:

I have no freaking Idea. Currently I have been referred to a hiring official for a job that I applied to in Rio Hondo Texas. I would be live trapping Bobcats and Ocelots tagging them with transmitters and telemetry tracking them, how cool would that be!

One other position that I have applied for that would have me leaving Acadia about a month early is a full time (short term) banding position on the southern tip of the DelMarVa peninsula. I would be working for the College of William and Mary, now how cool would that BE!!!!


So that has been my life since May when I arrived here in Maine. Not terribly exciting but it is what it is.

Until next time, be well, stay safe and let me here from you!


And so we go…

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. thanks for blogging, John. I've been wondering how your summer is going. We will keep our fingers crossed that you find that baby peregrine and that a full time job opens up for you. Banding is definitely your niche!