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Leaving again

November 8, 2013

I fly out tomorrow morning for Broome, Western Australia. From there, my lab will ship out to the Ashmore Reef, Cartier Island, Browse Island, Adele Island, and the Lacepedes, counting seabirds and shorebirds, collecting samples, and deploying tracking tags. It’s similar to the trip we had in April this year, but with an additional island landing (Lacepede), and at the end of the dry season rather than the end of the wet. Those who know about it say that this means the islands (Adele excepted) lose their vegetation, and everything feels hotter.

Adele has just had an eradication attempt of Pacific Rats – two of my lab-mates have been there doing research and assisting with the eradication. I’ve never visited an island so soon after an eradication, so that’ll be a particular point of interest.

Now, off to buy last-minute things: new seasickness meds, fresh camera batteries, cheap shoes to be mistreated on the island. A haircut and beard-taming (it is worth keeping it long enough to prevent sunburn, but short enough that the breeze can still get through). The evening will be spent tucking piles of blood-sampling and bird-banding gear into the backpack, along with the two changes of hot-weather field clothes that represent all of the clothing for the trip. People who work on seabird islands come back with a distinct sweet, delicate musk. It’s a thing you can learn to miss.

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From → Scientist

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