Day 10: Last night came with very little sleep after doing some reading on our new site at Bird Creek. It’s a very popular fishing area, as well as a favourite spot for brown bears this time of year as there are many salmon in the area. There was a bear attack just last month in the area, so our first stop this morning was to a shop to invest in some bear pepper spray which is the recommended form of defence.
Our anxiety quickly faded as we drove along the beautiful scenic coastal route to or site. Here are a few pictures of the stunning site and the scenery on the way there;
Alaskan railroad Potter’s Marsh
A Shadowy Cook Inlet Bird Creek
Bird Ridge Trail
We spent the day walking the trails, finding and tagging the species we are going to measure this week. This evening Michelle decided to clean the sensor plate in the porometer to ensure readings remained as accurate as possible.
Day 11: Today was a dull, wet day and the equipment took longer than usual to calibrate, and longer to take measurements too.
The site has many mushrooms. We met a German man who had been collecting some for his dinner. Here’s a picture of the most interesting one we saw;
Amanita muscaria (fly agaric mushroom)
Day 12: Wuu-kuang took notes on all of the plants today while we took measurements. A very noticeable thing about this site is the infestation of leaf miners on all of the birch trees. Below are a couple of pictures of one of the leaves.
Another thing we found today was fresh tracks through one part of our trail which had been left by bears. Parts of the vegetation had been trampled, including one of our unfortunate plants. It looked as though they had been lying down in some parts.
As well as carrying out our work we also have to be vigilant at all times and look out for bears. Especially in quiet areas where not many people walk. There’s a constant feeling of anxiety in these areas which makes it hard to appreciate all the small beautiful things around you. But here’s a pretty dragonfly I snapped along the way. 🙂
Day 13: We had a very wet day today, and measuring took a lot longer. Many of the leaves had to be blotted dry before taking measurements to ensure that moisture wasn’t affecting readings by increasing conductance. To ensure our equipment didn’t get wet the porometer was placed in a ziplock bag. The ceptometer was dried after each measurement with kitchen towel.
Today also showed the first signs of the changing season. We spotted a couple of Ribes leaves changing to yellow. 🙂
Day 14. The ceptometer was aired overnight to ensure no moisture got inside yesterday. Today was our last day of measurements at Bird Creek, and also our last day in Anchorage! We collect leaves from our plants and pressed them back at the hotel (I will go into more detail about the pressing process in a later post!). I’m ready to move down to Kenai in the morning and see even more of the last frontier. 🙂