Thursday, September 13, 2012

Getting muddy

I spent this week doing more fieldwork.  It was cooler weather than the previous week that we were in the field, but the work was still pretty tough. 

I spent the majority of my time walking a contour that was in and out of the water depending on the tide. This made for some muddiness.

I had to use a tennis ball at the end of my RTK to keep it from sticking in the mud.  Last time we were out, Damien had suggested the idea and I had asked, "where are we going to find tennis balls?"  Surprisingly (to me), there were tennis balls washed up everywhere!  Since we were in a lagoon that was a bit upstream of a nice beach area, I guessed that this was where lost dog balls go to live out their final days.  Damien would grab a few balls, cut Xs into them, then stick them on the end of the RTKs.  This did the trick and provided a little extra surface area to avoid sinking.  Brilliant!

Right at the beginning of the week, we discovered that Damien had brought me one boot my size and one of the larger boots by accident.  I was just happy it wasn't two left boots!

I tried wrapping my foot in a dish towel one day and wearing an extra sock the next day, and both techniques seemed to help.  I did feel a little goofy with my one clown boot. :) 

I started the first day wearing the boots folded down because it gets hot and I thought I was high enough out of the mud.  Damien informed me otherwise, and I realized I had mud all down the inside of my legs and boots.  He said it looked like I had ridden a mud horse.

I got to see some cool things since I was down near or in the water for most of the day.  Last time we were out, Damien had seen hundreds of round rays, and I finally got to see one!  Since I was pretty shallow, it was just a little baby- about the size of a saucer! 

I also got to see a lot of egrets and other birds who were surprisingly brave- I didn't think they'd let me get so close.


In one area near a bunch of tules and cattails, I was threatened quite loudly by a couple of birds who I couldn't see but who were probably nesting.  I definitely jumped back when they started squawking at me, and decided to take a measurement elsewhere.  A few minutes later, a little bird came out of the vegetation and seemed to be sizing me up.  He got freakishly close and I had to talk myself down a bit and remind myself he was just a bird! 

We also got to see crabs, snails, and the most beautiful slug I've ever seen, but more on that tomorrow!

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