Sunday, June 21, 2009

Post 23

Where have I been? It all started when a couple weeks back I had to engage in the mind dumbing boredom of BLM "orientation". A week of sitting in a conference room, falling asleep to people rambling about proper radio etiquette. It actually got worse than that, but now is not the time to lament the past! That week of torturous tedium did indeed limit my inspiration to blawg, but here I am again.

In my news:

1) We got mired in the truck and had to spend the night out in the field. It wasn't all that bad, and I survived, so I will probably do it again. Mud here is unlike anything back home. The bad stuff acts like an oil-slick quicksand bog when it rains and floods the roads.

2) During the week preceding, we had our hands full with Tiger salamanders. Check it, blawgdawgs:
Salamander hunting shotA couple-year-old juvenile. Also called a metamorph. They are fully aquatic and gilled at this stage. When they decide to become adult, their size generally halves.

The things that look like star wars dreadlocks on its neck are gill structures.
THE SALAMONSTER. An adult female. Docile but gigantic when in hand, she tried to bite me (I think) when I was taking her out of the net.
Salamonster waves for the camera.

Then last week we searched for the endangered Wyoming toad. We did intensive transect surveys around two ponds that were release sites in the past for the nationwide captive breeding program. We were working for the Fish and Wildlife Service with some other seasonals. Plot transect surveys are time consuming and for the most part pretty boring. They are much more regimented than the work Brandon and I are used to conducting. He and I had little luck finding anything besides a handful of toadlets who had been born the previous year and overwintered. The other team found three adult females, which is like finding a big gold nugget. Really, though, each toad is probably worth more than my car.

The past few weekends I've been trying to get out and experience the state. Last weekend I went to the Lander Beer Fest with some of my compatriots. It was enjoyable. We hiked the Sinks Canyon and I had my picture taken with a Bighorn sheep. This weekend I went camping in the Medicine bow national forest. Forests, with trees and no dust. So nice!

I miss you guys!