May 23, 2012 – marsh bird survey, Cell 4 & 5 mud cracks

Wednesday, May 23

Figure 12. Erik listening for birds with the sun just coming up.

Figure 12. Erik listening for birds with the sun just coming up.

 The morning marshbird survey starts early, 30 minutes before sunrise, which meant Erik Johnson and I were in the boat and at the first survey point by 5:30. The sun didn’t come up until our second point.
We finished up mid-morning and returned to the house. 
 
After lunch, I left Timmy and Erik at the house to take pictures of the study site since I knew I wouldn’t have time when LSU was here tomorrow. Water level was 5 inches below marsh level, and Cells 4 and 5 were well exposed and full of mud cracks. I paddled out to the marsh island landing between Cell 4 and 2, and walked around the east side of Cell 4 and around the north perimeter of Cell 5. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

Figure 13. View to the west along containment 4b between Cell 4, mudcracks to the left, and Cell 2 with the delta and water to the right. Containment 2a, 1, and the open pond are visible at the top of the frame.

 

Figure 14. View to the west across Cell 4 showing the expanse of new mud up to marsh level.

 

Figure 15. View to the south along containment 5b, with Cell 5 to the left and Cell 4 to the right. The reed containment is stabile enough to serve as a walkway now. This was 10-12 inches of water before we filled it.

 

Figure 16. View is to the north-northwest from Cell 5 across containment 5a to Cell 3 and the dock beyond. We used this cut to bring the canoe into Cell 5 when we started. It has almost closed up with marsh.

Figure 16. View is to the north-northwest from Cell 5 across containment 5a to Cell 3 and the dock beyond. We used this cut to bring the canoe into Cell 5 when we started. It has almost closed up with marsh.

 

Figure 17. View to the south along containment 4c which separates the study cells from the open pond.

Figure 17. View to the south along containment 4c which separates the study cells from the open pond.Figure 18. Boat-tailed grackle nest had to be removed from the overheand tractor drive.

I had brought some supplies for the dredge, so went aboard to do check over the fittings. Once again, the boat-tailed grackles had started a colony within the traveling part of our overhead beam. If they built anywhere else, I would welcome their presence, but the dredge needs this area clear to operate. I had to remove the two nests, one of which already had eggs. I’m glad they aren’t a species of concern! One of the nests even had some of our discarded bailing twine woven into it. 
 
Erik and I had another evening survey to conduct, so I made early preparations for supper, then headed out in the Avocet around 5:00 to mark trails and get underway. We finished up just after sunset and made it back to the headquarters before it got completely dark. I made a modified crawfish etouffee for our supper.  

 

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