Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pygmy Rabbit Recovery in Washington

A group of us from the Pateros-Methow Valley area headed to Sagebrush Flats
near Ephrata, WA to help WDFW biologists with pygmy rabbit recovery efforts this week.  Arriving at 6:30am on the site, we spent the day rounding-up pygmy rabbit kits born just weeks to a month ago in their naturalized captive facility.  Those that had Columbia Basin genes were put back into the captive facility to become breeders for the upcoming seasons.  All others (given they were old enough and weighed enough) were released into the captive nursery for relocation into the wild in a week or so. 

Emmet, our 5 year old, was more than excited to help transport and release the kits into the nursery.  He also had the best views under the sagebrush, and therefore was a great spotter for finding the kits as they scrambled into their burrows (both artificial and natural).  We had a great day, even with the
wind, cooler temperatures, and dust blowing in every direction.  The rabbits in their burrows sure didn't seem to notice!

Birding extravaganza at the Basecamp - May 16th!

A birding morning by the birch forest today was amazing- especially the red-breasted sapsucker!  And here is proof- we believe it is a male, who is coming and going from a newly excavated cavity in a birch snag.  Even more exciting is the female red-napped sapsucker in the area, who is visiting the cavity and poking her head inside while the red-breasted is inside... but not entering. 

Here are the birds Steve and I encountered this morning:  7:30-9:00am, partially sunny, cooler temps than last week, and the height of breeding song here in Mazama. 

Townsend's warblers
Wilson's warblers
Yellow-rumped warblers
Nashville warblers
Pacific wren (AKA winter wren)
House wren
Cassin's vireo
Warbling vireo
Varied thrush
Hammond's flycatcher
Black-chinned hummingbird
Caliope's hummingbird
Red-napped sapsucker
Red-breasted sapsucker
Golden-crowned kinglets
American robin
American crow

Methow Valley Elementary School Field Trips

Methow Valley Elementary School kids spent the last month studying science here at the North Cascades Basecamp.  2nd graders spent 2 field days studying ecosystems and the 'Life of a Log', while the 3rd graders spent another 2 field days studying plant growth and development in nature.  We all had a blast, school teachers, chaparones, science leaders, and 50 kids per day walking in the woods, studying nature in depth, and performing and teaching to their fellow peers all about what they learned.

Here are a few photo highlights from 2nd grade studying Ecosystems:  
team building a log ecosystem

learning the life of the down log

learning out of doors

magnifying an insect

studying the root ball
presenting with staff in hand
team building exercises
what does it taste like?

riparian ecosystem studies
Photo highlights from 3rd grade field trip studying Plant Growth and Development:
studying the parts of a flower

magnifying the stamen

graphing tree age and diameter
counting tree rings

growth of a tree
making cordage from cedar

graphing creations
a walk across the bridge in the forest

drinking fir needle tea