As some of you already know, I just left for another [short] field season of research out west! For two weeks, I will be working in Arizona and New Mexico (which sucks since we constantly travel between the two and they are in different time zones) to mist net and track bats in order to better understand their distribution in the region.
I flew out last week and actually had one of the coolest flights of my life. My flight from Dallas to Tucson was almost completely empty: only about 25 people on the entire plane. We all got to choose our own seats and have entire rows to ourselves. The flight attendant had to perform her safety demonstrations for me alone, since I was the only one sitting in the back section of the plane and I could tell she felt silly so I clapped for her when she finished. Then, during the flight, she gave me a free cookie! Finally, as we were taxiing to our gate in Tucson, there was some fireworks show going on so I got to watch that for a couple of minutes (and it was a good one – multicolored firecrackers, weird shaped ones, and HUGE ones).
The night before last was my first night back out in the field. (One of the things about working with bats is that they are nocturnal, so you need to be, too. Typically, we all wake up around 1 PM and head out into the field around 5 or 6. We return anywhere from 1 to 5 in the morning depending on how data collection went during the night.) We hiked up a small mountain to collect infrared video of some bats inhabiting an old mine. We hung out on top of the mountain until 11 when the camera batteries finally died. Then, we had to hike back down the mountain in the dark. Let’s just say that I definitely fell a few times. Luckily, I didn’t fall into a cholla or prickly pear, or ocotillo.
I hope to post a few more times while I am out here. Hopefully there will be some awesome pictures, ridiculous stories about field research, cool animal encounters, etc.