June 23

Yesterday was a good day at the field site. I conquered my fear of the tree blind – I sat in it for about an hour and a half, watching turtles. I can now get in and out without any hesitation, and being up in the tree doesn’t make me feel sick to my stomach. I actually really like it now. Working on my fear of heights, one tree at a time. ūüėÄ

There were a few frustrating moments last night, though. While I was watching a new, unmarked turtle move across the meadow, a group of people came noisily down the path. I came down from the tree blind to talk to them, hoping to sweet-talk them into not making a bunch of noise in the area where turtles were nesting. They were reasonably okay with the idea, and did go a different way rather than going through the meadow, but they were super noisy. I wish we could keep the public out of the area during our field season. Because of this interruption, I lost sight of that turtle – although it may have reappeared later, near the path to the parking lot. Even then, it didn’t start nesting until late, and even when Nicole and I returned well after dark, she still hadn’t finished. So, we have her nest, but not any maternal data on the turtle herself. Ah well. Also, I supposed I should mention that I jabbed my knife into my hand yesterday, taking telemetry off of a turtle. It bled like crazy, so hopefully anything that might have given me an infection got washed away.

Today was a hoot – we released last year’s head-started turtles from the Oakland Zoo. It was fantastic – wading out into the lake, which was a bit scary for me at first (I have a fear of water I can’t see into), and the water was COLD until I got used to it, but it was also totally AWESOME! The baby turtles are so cute, and it’s great to see them swimming away. Plus, it was fun to see some old friends – like Nicole Jaggi, and Tracy Bain¬†from Derek’s lab. And Zannie, of course.

Release team, looking “sexy” haha:

Anyhow, I loved releasing the little guys, so much that I’m going to make sure that we’re out there next week for the SF Zoo release, as well. Actually, we’ll probably just go up on Sunday, and stay all week long, until the end of the season. I actually felt really sad this afternoon, driving home. I miss the turtles, and the work of tracking them. It almost seems a bit weird to me, just how sad I was feeling. I wonder how I’ll be after the end of the season. Or after the end of my Master’s degree! Over the past few days, though, I really have decided that I LOVE field work, and would love to be able to do this as a career. I love being outdoors, I love working with animals, and I love doing science. Yeah, being a field biologist will be a good fit for me.

Feeling really tired tonight, so will probably go to bed in a few minutes. I have a few more organizational things I’d like to do tonight, and then bed. Tomorrow, I want to remember to work on some school-related things – I need to figure out how to start applying for my field permit, I need to finish a current CV, and I need to start getting the stuff together to apply for grad school. Most of it can probably wait until after the field season, but I don’t want to let stuff wait for too long.

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