Thursday, August 7, 2008

The home stretch

The season is finally winding down. Usually things slow way down with fledglings out of the nests, but since some crazy person decided that I should find out what fledgling birds do before they go south, we’re all still running around like chickens with our heads cut off. 24 family groups per day is insane, what was I thinking? 11 days left, but who's counting?

My transmitters bombed and I think I ended up hurting the flycatchers more than anything else. I didn’t directly kill them, but force fledging them was not beneficial to their health. I wasn’t really expecting the transmitters to be extremely helpful to begin with, so I guess its ok. I just didn’t expect them to be such a pain in the butt. So for next year, I’m going to stick with the old fashioned way of finding fledglings—unless I come up with a new brilliant idea for them. And apparently I’ll be using cameras on the nests to see what kind of predators we are up against. Ahh technology, I can’t get away from it. Whatever happened to just observing the wildlife?

My finger is still, retarded, as I like to call it. Won’t bend, won’t straighten, just kind of stuck. And I paid a doctor good money to tell me that, and that I’d never get a ring on my finger. He actually said, “it’s a bummer” (that it can’t be fixed). Now I need to find a hand specialist/surgeon in Texas because it looks as if surgery is my only option to regain partial joint movement. I googled my injury a few weeks ago and came to this same conclusion, so I’m not sure why I’m surprised. I just wish I hadn’t paid someone to tell me that. I also wish I had a more exciting injury that required surgery, because breaking a finger on a hike is BORING. Maybe I’ll say a mountain lion attacked my finger.

I have some things to adjust for next year, but I guess overall things went well—especially after giving up on the transmitters and just following the birds how we always have. Thanks to my great hardworking crew leaders and crew the work has been doable.
It’s been an emotionally draining season when it came to non-work related issues as well, and I appreciate the friends who have been there for me this summer when I needed chocolate or alcohol because of the many “bumps in the road”. I lost a friend, but gained a couple new ones. I still don’t understand what happened, and I’m still hurt that someone would just stop caring like that, but I guess I’ll get over it eventually. When you spend 3 years of your life getting to know someone, and talking to them almost daily, it’s hard to just let it go. At least it has been for me.

So, whats my next move? I’ve got a couple weeks left of chasing fledglings., and then its back to Texas via…Utah, I think. I don’t have much time, but I hate driving for the sake of driving, and love seeing new places. So I’ve taken the advice of some friends and decided to check out Bryce Canyon NP on my way back. And then its back to classes and TAing ornithology--and hopefully getting my finger fixed. I’ve also decided to foster some cats or dogs, so they can keep me company but I won’t have to decide what to do with them over Christmas break or my next field season. And I won’t have to smuggle ferrets into California (its illegal!). And, maybe I’ll learn how to give things up that I care about…because sometimes we lose things that we love, and must learn to appreciate what we still have.

We still should have some time left before Amber leaves to go to the T-Club, play some extreme forest soccer, have chicken on the dock, and go for a hot air balloon ride...right Amber?!?

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