July 12, 2012 Chicks, Golf, and Saying Goodbye to Atigun
The weather finally cleared up and gave us two beautiful days! We had a lot of lost field time to make up for, so we headed out an hour early to all three of our field sites. It felt like we got a lot accomplished! We set up a series of four 25 cup grids for sampling spider density at Atigun yesterday, and were picking them up today. This would be our last trip to Atigun while I'm here, and I admit that I felt a little sad to leave such a beautiful place.
Out in the Field
You can never be sure what you will see walking around Toolik. Today we saw a family of ptarmagins. Mother, father, and several chicks were clustered around the boardwalk as we made our way up to our plots. The ptarmagins have molted and lost the white feathers of their winter plumage, becoming darker in color and blending in better with the summer tundra. Many research teams were out on the hill taking advantage of the beautiful weather!
Check out this video of a ptarmagin call, made by PolarTREC teacher Melissa Barker when she was here earlier in the season. It is hands-down the strangest bird call I've ever heard!
A few of us met up at the loading dock to play some disc golf after dinner. Toolik does not have official disc golf nets, but they do have a defined course. The course covers a large area heading out the road that comes into camp, using sign posts, storage bins, and barrels as targets. The lack of trees does not keep this from being a challenging course as we have to go around buildings and avoid several water hazards. Apparently several people thought it was too nice out to stay indoors as a soccer game formed while we were out tossing discs.