Happy Trails………..

Coming down to the final stretch out here in Newcastle; hard to believe it’s September already but the change in weather confirms it.  I’m continuing work on some projects and finishing others, in the coming weeks I’ll be tidying up my data and summarizing some things.  My point counts didn’t turn up any mountain plovers but I did see a few burrowing owls which was pretty sweet.  Except for a nest or two my raptor nest checks are complete.  Still tracking my sage grouse and in the next few weeks my mentor and I will be trying to get some of the young of the year sage grouse fixed with radio collars.  Didn’t get as far on my habitat assessments for sage grouse as I would have liked, but what can you do.  I had a blast this past summer doing bird work and I am ever grateful for being given this opportunity; I learned a ton about avian research and biological field work as a whole.  Bird work is where I want to stay and make my career.


Raptor Nest

The drizzle fest has ceased and the hot and sunny days of summer have arrived in north east Wyoming.  These days I’m continuing my work on projects I started in May which includes checking on raptor nests, tracking sage grouse, and assessing habitat for sage grouse.  I’ve recently started some new projects which includes surveying prairie dog towns for mountain plovers and burrowing owls.  I haven’t seen any plovers yet but did see my first burrowing owl last week which was pretty sweet.  The past couple weeks I’ve also been assisting with the Upton Summer Discovery Partnership which is a partnership between the BLM and the town of Upton school system.  We work together in teaching sixth through eighth graders from Upton about wildlife biology, astronomy, GPS/Mapping technology, and other related subjects.  I was a little nervous at first, as this kind of work is out of my comfort zone, but after interacting with the kids for a bit I was set at ease as they were all great and excited to be outdoors.    

Bird Nerd

  This is round two for me with the CLM internship program, last year I was with the BLM out of the Rawlins, WY Field Office within the fisheries division.  I learned much from my CLM internship last year and had many great experiences, which in large part is why I pursued a second CLM internship.  Before starting my second CLM internship most of my experience was in fisheries.  While I enjoyed my fisheries work I had become increasingly interested in avian research and conservation over the years and always wanted to pursue work in this field, but because I didn’t have much experience in this field no one would give me a chance, opting for those who had the experience; needless to say my frustration grew exponentially.  But Krissa, Marian, and everyone else who makes the CLM internship program what it is came through for me once again, sending my application materials out to internships that were bird focused.  One such internship was with the wildlife biologist of the Newcastle, WY BLM Field Office.  Well, luck was finally on my side as I interviewed with Nate West, the NFO wildlife biologist, and was offered an internship.  So here I am, in Newcastle doing bird work and loving it.

  And now onto my internship and the kind of things I’ve been up to.  As I’m sure others have been experiencing, the weather has been hampering field activities, turning roads to the bentonite batter that I so disdain.  But, being grounded has allowed me to study up on my protocols, bird identification, and the use of ArcMap.  Some other in office activities includes building a housing for an Anabat bat detection system, modifying flying squirrel nest boxes, and managing data.  It hasn’t been all rainy days and when venturing out in the field I’ve been checking on some of the field offices nesting raptors and relocating some of our collared sage grouse, both of these activities are great fun.  Also, I had the chance to go out with some biologist from the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory when they were conducting point counts in the Newcastle area.  As the field season progresses I’ll be performing habitat assessments for sage grouse, conducting mountain plover surveys, conducting northern goshawk surveys, conducting burrowing owl surveys, deploying Anabat units, trapping sage grouse, and putting up flying squirrel nest boxes.  I should also mention that my mentor is great, answering my endless questions and making sure I’m in the thick of it with bird work.  To be continued………………….

Dan Rapp, BLM, Newcastle, WY