It’s been a crazy past couple of days

July 26th, 2006, 9:13 am PDT by Kat

Keith got back from the field today. I was expecting a gaggle of field assistants to be back with him, but I guess they all went to their respective homes for a break after a summer of tenting it in Colorado. Keith brought back about 60 Lincoln Sparrows: ~20 adults, ~20 first years that can feed themselves and ~20 young first years that Adam is currently feeding every 2 hours. So glad I’m not a tech or a grad student. Keith seems to think that kind of work doesn’t fall into the realm of what a post-doc should have to do (at least one that’s not going to be working on the LISPs anyways, so I don’t have to do it! Yippee! They’re pretty cute (kinda small and round and fat). I’ll get pictures up of them being fed soon.

So to prep for the arrival of these new birds, I had to move my birds inside and clean/disinfect the aviary cages. I thought that would be a 1-day job: move birds in the morning, clean flight cages in the afternoon. Nope, it took 1 whole day to move the birds. Mostly because I didn’t want to net them as they were probably already stressed from being in captivity, and I didn’t want any more to develop the eye-swelling thing that HOFIs are prone to. So, instead we set the traps that we usually catch with inside the cages, and when the birds decided they wanted to eat, they got caught and the moved. Well, apparently some of them weren’t really hungry, and didn’t go into the traps until after 4:00. So it was a whole day of checking the aviary every 15 minutes.

The next day (yesterday) was spent cleaning out the aviary cages. It had rained heavily the night before and earlier that morning, so everything was damp. I know the last couple of days it’s been scorching in Vancouver. Picture that, plus torrential rain on top of it and humidity like you’ve never felt before, and that was what Adam and I got to work in. But, we were able to get everything washed out, scrubbed, and disinfected by noon. Luckily there was a break in the rain during the time we were actually out there or else we’ve have been soaked though. As it was, everything from the kneed down was soaked, and the water wasn’t too clean. This is the life I chose.

A couple highlights from the day:

1. Greg picked me up from work because it was POURING down rain around the time I wanted to go home, and I had already gotten soaked on my walk in to school that morning by passing cars. This may not seem like much, but Greg doesn’t really like to pick me up from work when I can just as easily walk.

2. On our way out to the old place to pick up the last of our stuff and pack up some of the old tenants stuff for her movers, we drove by what apparently was a low-lying area. There were firemen off to one side clearing out what looked to be a clogged drainage pond. But then I saw a news van and thought, hmmm… this place isn’t that starved for news that this would be a big deal. Then I looked across the street from where the firemen were, and in a parking lot, there were 5-6 cars submerged in flood water with only about the top 6″ poking up out of the muddy water. I guess it really did rain hard!

3. Greg and I went to this Mexican restaurant that he had wanted to try. This place is right behind where day laborers congregate in the mornings to get picked up for work. People drive up in their trucks or vans, call out how many workers they want and what the job is, and guys pile in, do the job, and then get dropped back off at the end of the job/day. At least this is how it works in Los Angeles. I’m pretty sure it’s about the same here. Anyways, Greg figured that it was probably a good place to eat because I guess he saw some of the day laborers go in or come out of this restaurant. If it’s good enough for them, it’s probably authentic! So, we decided to get take-out. We walked in, and it was more of a diner/small convenience store/meat counter (I think – that part was empty). The menu was all in Spanish, and the people didn’t seem to speak English. So, with a bit of broken Spanish (I know stuff like “apple” and “Pedro has a dog. The dog’s name is Spot” from elementary school Spanish!), some pointing, and giggles from both us and the woman helping us, we ended up with 3 chicken tacos, a special platter (fixin’s for 5 tacos: chicken, beef, shrimp, rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers), a bag of sweet bread, and a bag of chicharone (fried pork skins – Mexican as well as Filipino delicacy!). Forgot to take a picture, but it was REALLY good. I think we may try to go back and mime ourselves more good food. In any case, we got a good meal, and the woman helping us has a good story!

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