Arriving on site with my long lens in hand, the bird activity was minimal and warblers were not being observed. However, in the brief 4 days since I was last here the refuge has started to explode with color! Trees that were green on Monday, were not starting to turn. Since birds weren't readily available, I used the long lens to shoot foliage close ups.
Smartweed turning on the Dike
A view towards the trees near the tower
With the slow morning, I was enjoying a relaxed conversation on the Dike with Will and Alan. Soon the Fish & Wildlife folks arrived. We are always curious about their activities so we wandered over to inquire what they were doing today. Amber Carr accompanied by interns Kristen and Ryan were going to be doing vegetation surveys in the lower impoundment.
Amber Carr is one of the Fish & Wildlife Biologists and was nice enough to explain the process before they set off in their canoe. So now rather than complaining about the weight of the long lens with nothing to photograph, I was now happy I had it. Without it I would not have been able to take these photos of them in action from the shore.
Amber prepares to show me the process
About 30 data points in the lower impoundment have been identified for data collection
The flip side contains the GPS locations of each data point. Next to it is the sheet where they report the species observed and the percent of the area it occupies.
They nominally use a canoe, but it is easier to drag it through the water than paddle it through all the vegetation
Kristen monitors the GPS and provides directions to the next data point
Arriving at their data point they throw out this rig which defines the area to be surveyed
Ryan is examining vegetation while they log the results
They also measure the height of the vegetation and the density in a three meter area. Amber is holding the measuring pole at the waterline, while Kristen determines the height of the vegetation.
Then they begin the slow walk to the next data point
Here are a couple bonus shots from the morning.
If you look closely you will notice ladybugs everywhere. Here one is on the smartweed.
Alan was "complaining" that I didn't have enough birds in flight. So these ducks are for him.
It's not clear whether there are more lady bugs of frogs. If you are paying attention you will hear frogs jumping off the edges of the paths to safety as you walk by.
I slowly crawled up to this Leopard Frog, stopping to take photos as I went. I finally got so close that with my macro lens I could not fit the whole frog in my viewfinder. Will saw how close I was and inquired if I had glued the frog to the ground. Being so close I had to take this portrait shot. I try to avoid stressing or scaring the subjects, but often times if you are patient enough and make very small moves over time some animals will allow you close.