By Jack Murray ’18
Today, our day off ended and we got back on our routine of conducting research. My morning started with checking the small mammal traps with Anna, Dr. Sjolund, and Jana. The day before, Jana and Manel had setup the small mammal traps in a new site. Unlike the last site, this one was a steep scree filled with slippery rocks. When checking the mammal traps, we were surprised to find a species that was not present on the previous site: the garden door mouse. Our first experience with this new species definitely woke us up, as when Jana opened the small metallic mammal trap the garden door mouse—which is larger than a typical mouse and has vibrant markings—jumped out of the trap, through the plastic bag, and out onto the scree. Luckily, another trap had a garden door mouse as well, so we were able to examine this species up close.
After the small mammal traps, the group went on (supposedly) the most difficult hike (3200 vertical feet) so far. Bernat had labelled it as a red, meaning that it was both very steep and long. However, I personally found this hike much easier than the one two days before. On the hike there was an amazing stream coming from a waterfall, which supplied us with a fresh bottle full of cold water. With regards to the research, some of the nest boxes were completely empty, and we caught very few birds in the bird net. However, there was one nest box that had four chicks with fully grown wings that Bernat and Jana said may fly for the first time today or tomorrow. As we banded them and recorded their characteristics, a very angry mom bird chirped at us from a nearby tree.
Yesterday, Bernat showed us the basics of how he converts the pictures from the cameras traps into data that can be graphed and analyzed for trends. I look forward to tonight, when Bernat will show us some of the more technical aspects of this process and the digital automation he uses to do it.