Hi! My name is Ms. Woodward. Please travel with me to Nova Scotia to study Climate Change and Mammals!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What a day!


I started the day watching the sunrise over the harbor. I actually had my camera with the memory card and it was a beautiful sunrise! Then we headed out to Cook's Lake to check the traps. We only caught one meadow vole and it was the same one we caught yesterday. The sad part is that it was dead. Christina said that there was plenty of hay and food in the trap. She said yesterday that it was possible that a bird of prey had gotten it and that is why the hairs were gone on the back of the neck. It may have been dropped into an area that it was not familiar with, so that is why it kept going in our traps. It needed shelter. That's why it's important to leave wild animals in the environment that they know. It is also possible that it could have had a parasite that doesn't allow the animal to eat. It was just that animal's time to die. Still we all felt badly. Our shrew traps were empty. Christina said that she knows that is boring for us, but that scientifically it is interesting. Remember, we're not really here so that we can just see animals. We're here to gather data about mammals and climate change. After lunch we went to the grassland area to cut trees. videoYes, CUT trees. The land is being restored to the grassland ecosystem that it had been 20 years before. Why is it important to maintain the grassland/meadow ecosystem? Some of us took down several trees along the edge of the grassland, and others pulled up the little saplings that were just growing in the field. Tomorrow we'll finish the area we started. The trees were getting larger and less cooperative, and we were getting tired. Poor Christina, we're not as skilled at using the saw as she is, so she did a lot more work than she should have. When we left Cook's Lake we headed to Cherry Hill Beach. There are sometimes seal, coyote, or piping plovers found there. The piping plovers are an endangered bird here in Nova Scotia, and there are only 61 found in the area. When they begin nesting part of the beach will be blocked off so they are undisturbed. They only breed in rocky/sandy coastline. The best part of the day was the evening! We headed out to a small lake to watch the beavers. As soon as we got there we saw a muskrat swimming around. We saw another muskrat later on, too. The beaver lodge was pretty large and impressive. We had to sit very still and quiet. When we moved we had to move slowly. Beaver do not have good eyesight but they can detect motion. We watched them for about an hour and they didn't disappoint us. In all there were three beaver and two muskrat. There was an older beaver which was very big and then there was a smaller beaver that kept checking us out. That one did a warning slap twice, but Christina said that because it is young the older beavers didn't pay much attention. I was glad because I didn't want them to hide. We could even actually hear the beaver chewing the wood. It kept coming up on this little piece of land where you see it, and it chewed off a piece of wood from a fallen tree. Then it would head back into the lodge. I have a video, but it isn't clear enough for the blog. We stayed until it got too dark to see anything. OK, I'll be talking to you tomorrow. I hope you have some good questions for me!

5 Comments:

At April 22, 2010 at 12:07 AM , Blogger Richard said...

I hope your students click on those beaver pictures so they can see those big rodents. It must have been fun watching them with binocs! I couldn't quite read all of your message in the sand: Thanks HSBC for N.S. scholarship? HSBC was your sponsor, right? I was surprised to see houses close to the beaver lodge. Nice sunrise photo!

 
At April 22, 2010 at 10:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are piping plovers. The answer to your question is so the that the animal population does not shrink because the animals habitat has changed.

From,
Paige

 
At April 22, 2010 at 10:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is important because animals have to live there.

 
At April 23, 2010 at 4:55 AM , Blogger Jill said...

The beaver watching must have been so exciting! Great photos!

 
At April 23, 2010 at 8:04 AM , Blogger Kerry said...

Ms Woodward -- I have beavers living near my house in the middle of the city of Chicago on the North Branch of the Chicago River. They have chewed down numerous trees and bushes but we never see their lodge. They even have gone up some steps to chew on a bush! Did you see beaver dung? Does it have pieces of wood? I think have seen some but wasn't sure. It wasn't dog poop!

 

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