It feels like I closed my eyes for two seconds and my last month at Malheur has already concluded. During these last few weeks, my main duties have included conducting submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) surveys and duck banding.
Two technicians came from Camas National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho to conduct SAV surveys at East and West Knox. I accompanied them, and, while we had fun, it was a little cramped with three people in one canoe (pictured right)! Last week, two other US Forest Service technicians from Washington visited to aid in SAV surveys on Malheur Lake. Going out on the airboat paired with cooler weather made those surveys much easier. One species we found throughout the lake was star duckweed (Lemna trisulca). Not only is this species important for native waterfowl and aquatic wildlife, it is also an indicator of water quality. Star duckweed absorbs ammonia, phosphorus, nitrogen, and other metals in the water, therefore supporting preferrable water quality levels. This was by far our favorite find!
I am very thankful to have been able to participate in the last round of duck banding at Boca Lake and Summer Lake Wildlife Area. I am happy to report that I did, in fact, catch and band multiple northern shovelers! Additionally, my netting skills have greatly improved as I was able to capture three ruddy ducks with the help of Alexa’s maneuvering skills and patience. We also caught and banded an American wigeon, which I had never seen before that night. The northern pintails and mallards were much more aggressive this time around, but my excitement over the shovelers and ruddy ducks overshadowed their anger.
Pictured Above: Northern shoveler. Ruddy Duck. American Wigeon. Green-winged Teal.
I am officially on the road back to Texas to greet my family and friends. Hopefully I’ll have a job waiting for me when I arrive. Until next time, Malheur! Thank you to the Friends of Malheur for funding this position and to Malheur NWR Biology staff for their mentorship. I will treasure the memories and I’ll be back for sure!
P.S. – For my last mini vacation, Alexa took me to Squirrel Fest in Longview, Washington, and to where The Goonies was filmed at Cannon Beach and Astoria! The picture to the right is myself with Alexa’s dogs, Zia (left) and Moose (right).