By Kendall Roche ‘18
Today started off like any other. We woke up, got breakfast, prepared our materials, and headed out to the small mammal traps. This was the second day with the new small mammal site which is located on a scree field.
We caught and tagged some door mice, but one escaped as soon as we opened the trap. Jana also caught some birds to tag and measure.
After finishing with the small mammals, we headed back to the van and drove to a ski area, Vallnord, where the Tour de France ended last year.
We snacked by a stream before heading out in two groups. Ethan, Anna, Jana, Ms. Harwood, and I went to check the next boxes. They were on a very steep hill and in getting to them we saw a viper which was very cool. There was only one nest box occupied because of the high altitude. It had seven chicks and one unhatched egg which is a lot for the species. I got to hold three at once because they were too young to fly away.
Once we were done with the nest boxes, we headed past one lake and met the other group next to the second lake. The lakes were incredibly beautiful, although very cold.
Once we met the other group we went on our way to find the snow banks, but stopped on the way for a lunch break. The hike was tiring but not so bad.
We split up again and Bernat, Manel, Kevin, Jack, and I went up to see if the snow bank site was covered in snow, and it was so we couldn’t do our work there. We did check for certain mushrooms while we were there but didn’t find any.
When we met up with the other group, we searched for the rest of the cameras together and then we all went to relax by a beautiful glacial lake. Most of us just stuck our feet in but Bernat, Jana, Anna, and Jack braved the cold water temperatures and went swimming.
Next we hiked to the vans and drove to another snow bank site. On our way up we had a snowball fight and Bernat was the champion. We couldn’t do the information gathering at this site either because of the snow so we went back down to the vans and went back to the hotel.
Before dinner Jana made a presentation about the research she does on hedgehogs which was so interesting and really fun to listen to. She is comparing hedgehogs that live in urban areas and hedgehogs that are in their native habitats.
Then we had dinner with everyone and finished a long but interesting and fun day!