Saturday, June 13, 2009

'In the field' sometimes means no internet....

Have just settled into a routine here in Alaska. We arrived two days ago -- 6/10/09. Jeff, a Clark University master's student and I flew straight to Anchorage from the first leg of our field excursion along the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. We were staying in Egmont, BC but drove up from Seattle since it is easier and less costly to rent a vehicle there and drive up than fly into Vancouver and rent a vehicle there. Egmont (upper left corner of map) is about a six hr drive north of Seattle and included a ferry ride....

Lovely views from the ferry:

The Sunshine Coast definitely lived up to its name -- sunshine all the time (except for one rainy morning that turned into a beautiful afternoon) with temperatures ranging from 65F - 80F. It was a welcomed change from last year when it was rainy and dreary my entire stay. We stayed at a wonderful lakehouse while in BC. This was the view from my bedroom window....

...pretty spectacular, huh? No complaints here. Egmont is a small village on the Sechelt Peninsula. Very friendly people too. Outside of all the usual amenities, we didn't have any cell phone service or internet access, except when we ventured to the internet cafe in nearby Madeira Park so I didn't have many opportunities to write about how wonderful it was while we were actually there. Jeff and I, along with Greg, an undergraduate from the Clark University Foster-Baker Stickleback Lab, arrived on 5/21 and then Jeff and I headed out of BC on 6/09. We were there for several weeks and during those several weeks we watched fish for an average of 5 hrs a day and typed up handwritten notes regarding fish observations for several more hours of the day. Why, as we both embarrassingly admit, we have even been dreaming about watching fish during the nights of some of those days. To top it off, those fish-watching dreams are usually pretty uneventful -- probably less eventful than the real-life behavioral observations. My point is, even if we had access to internet, when would we have found the time to write about our fish-watching with all the fish-watching going on?

More on the actual fish-watching (i.e. behavioral observations) and the lakes involved at a later date. Now that I have a few moments of down time while we take the first couple days to set up our lakes for observation here in Alaska I can give a few accounts of our BC travels. To begin with, this is Andre:

Andre is a Steller's jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) that frequents the lakehouse where we stayed -- along with several other Steller's jays -- all chattering, rambunctious characters. I thought a pair might have been nesting in a tree across from my window considering their morning routines consisted of dropping sticks on the porch, watching them fall and then flying the select sticks up to some high branches of a conifer facing my window. Those were some large sticks and some early nesting building hours if that's what they were up to....still pretty entertaining although sometimes I would rather have been sleeping.

Right now i'm wondering why the rainy, cold weather had to rear it's ugly head now that we've arrived in Alaska (according to Lauren -- the AK stickleback collections expert -- this ominous weather didn't exist until we arrived). I was hoping for a lucky streak but today the clouds gave up around late afternoon and there have been showers on and off since. Hopefully, the rain will pass tonight so that tomorrow is fairly decent as Jeff and I scout out our second lake for grid locations.

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