Cute chicks and testing water quality

A lot has happened in the past 2 weeks. The Piping Plover chick watches ended July 11th so now we just do routine checks on them every day. They seem to have done well this year with around 25 chicks on our three beaches. They are still as cute as ever but are getting to be pretty big. Seven on Crescent Beach have already fledged.

I’ve been working on my water management project for the refuge, which involves compiling information on the quality of water that runs into the refuge from rivers, streams, roads, etc. It is very interesting working with GIS and furthering – or testing - my knowledge about the software. I’m really enjoying this project, although it is a tad bit stressful. My CDIP capstone project is coming along. Hopefully, it portrays what an amazing time I’m having at Rachel Carson and how great of an opportunity it is. All other college students should give it a try!

Recently, I’ve been going into the salt marsh frequently to do pool surveys and bird banding. We banded ten birds and took blood samples and measurements. The goal of the surveys is to determine the mercury content in the sparrows’ blood to see if it is spreading and affecting the wildlife. It was very exciting to watch all of this. I was then able to release two sparrows. They were so delicate and soft. I really think this is a career I could see myself pursuing.

This week I also went to Drake’s Control salt marsh to test the pools. We tested 21 pools for water quality and for the inhabitants of the pool. We measured Mummy Chugs, Green Marsh Shrimp, Green Crabs, and American Eels. It’s so exciting working in a variety of ecosystems.

Unlike a lot of the interpretive programs that other interns have through the SCA, my placement allows me to get out of the office a lot and experience a variety of settings and form new connections with a variety of people (and animals). There are only four weeks left until the end of my internship so I’m going to continue to take in every moment and enjoy the time I have left here.