So sorry that I haven’t posted in a while! Are you still there? Good.
Time is flying by even faster. Not good. I really did not expect it, but I have completely fallen in love with this place. A lot of it has to be credited to the people though, they are amazing!
Hmm… so what has been going on the past few days? Eh, I guess really not too much. Last week we spent nearly every day doing bridge surveys. Still finding tons of beaver sign, even in places I would never ever have suspected to find beavers – there were NO trees in one area, but sure enough there was a beaver dam on that creek. Their engineering continues to amaze me. We haven’t had any more possible otter signs and were never able to confirm that scat we found in my last post.
Oh oh! Something really exciting. I’ll have to back story some bit though so you can get the whole picture of how this happened. I convinced Megan to join the Y that I workout at and she has really taken a liking to their spinning classes, so one day when we went to one of the classes, some guy calls me out for my Pirates shirt; “hey, is that just a random shirt you have, or are you actually a Pirates fan in North Dakota?” Well I know I have mentioned this before, but I am a HUGE Pittsburgh Pirates fan. This got us into a decent little conversation. Turns out the guy, Nick, is from Pittsburgh and now works out here for Delta Waterfowl. Well, I need to find a way to contact Ducks Unlimited or Delta Waterfowl members for one aspect of my survey. So Nick invited me down to Delta’s international headquarters (which happens to be in Bismarck) to meet with some people there, learn about Delta Waterfowl, and to talk about the survey. Today I met with him. Honestly I really never really heard of Delta Waterfowl before I came out here, maybe once as a brief mention in one of my wildlife classes during my undergrad. Welp, I am completely impressed! They are a 101 year old organization that has some similar aspects to Ducks Unlimited (which I am a very active member of), but instead of focusing on habitat conservation, Delta targets more the hunting community. They want to “secure the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.” (Their vision off their website.) So they are more focused on the research and production of waterfowl. They build nest boxes or “hen houses,” participate in predator management in waterfowl breeding habitat, and conduct a lot of research in one of the largest waterfowl breeding areas in the world, Manitoba’s Delta Marsh. I was able to sit down with Nick, who turns out to be Delta’s chief operating officer, and John, their senior director of U.S. policy, and they gave me the history of Delta Waterfowl and aquatinted me with the organization. After some bribing (not really, they were just that generous) of free t-shirts, duck calls, stickers, and the book To Ride the Wind by H. Albert Hochbaum, I have most definitely decided to become a Delta Waterfowl member. You’re probably now wondering if I was able to work my survey into this meeting. I was. They agreed to help us mail out 300 of our surveys. Score!
Oh and I guess I should mention that the 309 surveys we sent out to the USDA list have been very successful, I do not remember the total count off the top of my head but within a week we have received somewhere around 75 surveys back so far. That’s a pretty impressive number in such a short period of time. I’m excited by that.
Well it looks like we are all packed up and ready to go. We’re heading up to Devil’s Lake to camp and fish for the weekend. Uh, I mean we are heading up there to conduct angler surveys. Yes, lots of angler surveys. 😉
Hmm, and on a side note it’s Friday the Thirteenth. I just realized that one.