Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

15 November 2011

Lets try this again

So I've toyed with the idea of starting this thing again for a while now. The timing seemed right (and I really didn't want to work any more tonight) so here it goes. In the last 2 years I've almost filled my passport up wandering the world (including a revolution for spring break), defended my first masters (Entomology), passed my prelims for my Ph.D, bought an old ford f-250, trapped a beach bird, and navigated a boat through the Inside Passage from Seattle to Wrangell, AK just to hit a few of the high points. With the highs come some lows too. I've lost a few birds, gotten malaria, wrecked a truck in Africa (but was lucky my tech and I walked away without injury) running into a cow, and learned snow and I are not friends. I'm a little bit older, hopefully a little bit wiser, but definitely not any saner than I was when I wrote that last post back in 2009. I'll try and fill in the blanks as I go as I like to think I've done some pretty cool stuff over the last few years. Here are a few pictures...
Marabou storks (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) at the Simnuye dump (Swaziland). We use to prebait them every morning back in June and July 2009 for a research project.  In the process I learned to call down the storks in siSwati, leading local residents to belives 1) I was crazy and 2) i spoke siSwati.
Picture by Laura Sands (December 2009)
Light collecting at Malolotja, one of the National Parks in Swazliand. This national park is one of the coolest places in Swaziland.  It features high elevation grasslands, with really neat rock formations.  More pictures to come.
Picture by Laura Sands (December 2009)

 Trapping peregrines is one of those things falconers have been dreaming of since they were first listed as endangered species.  Starting in 2009 a few lucky falconers got the chance to trap a bird.  I tried (and failed, more on that later) in Oklahoma duirng the 2009 season.  In 2010 I was drawn for a Texas permit.  Here is my passage tiercel peregrine, Diablo, trapped on South Padre Island. (October 2010)

The outcome of 2 hours of war driving in Muscat, Oman. This was the only place we found wifi, and I really needed to send an e-mail. 
Photo by Thomas Catanach (March 2011).

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