Week 12 – Intro to Hermitage

Ravens in the Superbowl today! Woo! Blogging before so I don’t get distracted by their future victory.

So… I’ve been the only “refugee” up at Hakalau this week. Working all alone (despite the presence of others on the refuge). Thus, the title. Certainly not saying it as a negative, just pointing it out. The worst part is driving to other parts of the refuge, I gotta get out, open the gates, drive through, get out and close the gate… just a hassle. Also managed to not talk to another person, face to face, for 48 hours. Wee!

Work this week was not terribly interesting. I did a lot of data entry, which is the least exciting part of any research-oriented job, but it is important and necessary. The best part of it was going through the old Nene re-sighting sheets, seeing when geese got fat with eggs and where we saw them, and then comparing that to where I know I’ve seen those geese more recently or reminiscing about nests past. Additionally, I got a lot of practice with ArcGIS and Microsoft Access, two valuable resume skills.

On Thursday, when I went to Mau Lua to collect some more Olapa berries, I found a turkey chick (to be referred to as “Turklet”)! Pictures to come later on Shutterfly, but it was a very cute baby bird which is, of course, invasive. Sigh. Big orange-yellow legs, yellow/brown speckled body, and a big, sharp bill, plus wings starting to lose their down. It chirped and cheeped a lot as I picked it up (its mom GTFO’d when I pulled over a hill in the truck and then I saw the chick) and transported it around. I put it inside a little fence I made out of a gosling guard, then covered it with my jacket, so that it would think it was night time and shut up. I really got to put my new small bird handling skills to practice. In my cabin I gave it a box with a grass floor, some water, and a little dish of wetted crackle (much like when I found a very wet sparrow back in the summer). However, it did not want to eat or drink. Just stand and shit in its water dish. Sigh. I asked some of the pest guys if they wanted a Turkey chick because some of them have farms and stuff and might be able to raise it so that it could be eaten in the future, but they weren’t interested because they’re not very hardy chicks, as I soon found out. And soon followed the end of my adventure with Turklet.

On  Friday, though, we finally caught a cat again! We hadn’t caught a cat on the refuge since before us refugees had arrived, so that was big, especially because we’ve had a bit more predation in the past couple days than before, but that follows the pattern I’ve been seeing. The mongooses and cats don’t seem to go after eggs in nests until they’re really close to hatching, which is super frustrating to us. As it was my first cat to kill, I thought there might have been a little bit of discomfort or unwillingness to do so, you know, because I have had cats as pets for my whole life, and it was a good, healthy looking cat, clearly panicked by being trapped in a cage. But, it was just doing my job, so it was not particularly more difficult than killing the mongooses we’ve caught.

Then today, more good news for the Nene! Another pair has hatched out a gosling, plus the mom has gotten back on the nest and will hopefully hatch out more than one! Sometimes when one hatches out, they get distracted and forget to get back on their other eggs while keeping track of their babies. Yay goslings!

Go Ravens!

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