Dirt Under Fingernails

Yes, I know…that is a little gross.  Sorry to be so blunt.  But this week I realized that dirt under my fingernails was an indication that I spent all week in the field, and that was a good thing.  As adults, we don’t get to “play” at much as when we were kids.  Now I know why my kids’ nails always seem to have dirt under them!  So I am back in the office, staring at my computer screen after not even turning it on for a whole week (and hence the delay in this blog).  As Mike and Christine described in previous blogs, we have recently been focusing our efforts on a multi-faceted Western Grebe study that involves OWCN, USGS, and SeaDoc personnel.  We were successful in the use of the floating mist net/modified gillnet capture technique that the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife experts taught us a few weeks ago.  In fact, it was so successful that we captured a total of 12 Western (and a couple of Clark’s) Grebes in 3 days!  All birds were brought back to the Wildlife Health Center in Davis where we have special pools that they are kept in and that allow us to keep a close eye on them.  It is a huge effort to have these birds here, as they need to be fed several times a day, at which time their overall health is assessed.  Three of the grebes were implanted with satellite transmitters on Wednesday, released on Thursday, and as we can now follow them from the comfort of our office, seem to happily be swimming about in San Francisco Bay.  An additional 6 were implanted with transmitters yesterday and will be released tomorrow if we get the go-ahead from our in-house veterinarians.  So, as we close the “capture chapter” and open up the “tracking chapter”, we can feel proud of what has been accomplished so far, and start cleaning out the dirt from under our fingernails….or not.


Becky Elias (OWCN) and Joe Gaydos (SeaDoc) pulling in the net


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