Aloha from Carlsbad, New Mexico. A few weeks ago I finished my work on the Dune Sagebrush Lizard. I am proud to say that my team was able to catch 15 of these little guys and we were also able to catch some in areas where no one had ever got close to trapping before. It’s safe to say that after digging over 300 holes to set pitfall traps I have become quite good at digging holes.
I have now shifted my focus on several riparian areas near Carlsbad. Specifically, I have been conducting macro-invertebrate, substrate, and water quality samples to determine steam health and community composition in the Pecos, Delaware, and Black river systems. I also conducted multiple yellow billed cuckoo surveys across the aforementioned rivers to detect a presence or absence of the birds.
One of my favorite days was conducting burrowing owl surveys where a potential oil line may be placed through. Several burrowing owl colonies were discovered in the oil pipeline right of way, so the construction company will have to re-route the pipe so they do not disturb the birds. The owls are quite personal and I was able to observe some of their natural behaviors in a beautiful part of the state. Being a herp nerd, I was pretty excited about seeing my first round tailed horned lizard Phrynosoma modestum while conducting some of these burrowing owl surveys. In the next few weeks I should start work conducting prairie chicken surveys and capturing and tagging birds found in riparian areas around Carlsbad.
The weather is starting to cool down and I am still exploring as much of the state as possible, and thoroughly enjoying myself. I can’t believe this internship ends in about a month. Until next time.