Friday, May 4, 2012

Post, the First

The last day of classes has arrived and summer is two weeks, two finals, two papers and a boat ride away from me. A boat ride to the beautiful Isles of Shoals, a small group of islands off the coast of Maine, the biggest of which, Appledore Island, is home to Shoals Marine Lab (henceforth referred to as SML or Shoals). 

SML is research station jointly owned by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire and every summer, once the freezing New England weather turns cold (as opposed to freezing cold), the Lab opens for business with a whole slew of people from various walks of life -- professors, students, bird banders, cooks, sailors, engineers and, of course, visitors -- that alight on the dock, united in their mutual love of and curiosity for all things marine and science-y. This summer I hope to be one of them, spending two months on the Isles as a "Bird Intern". And since 'bird' at Shoals basically equates to 'gull',  my duties will include trying to keep adult gulls from pecking my eyes out as I manhandle their eggs to collect information, playing alarm calls to the adults to gauge the aggressiveness of their response and, once the chicks hatch, chasing and pouncing on them for banding and measurement purposes while their parents continue to try and peck my eyes out. And, in all honesty, I couldn't be more thrilled at the prospect!

Hence, this blog. To share my experiences in writing and through photographs.  I leave for the island in two weeks' time, the last remaining hurdle being finals, so, until then, here are some photos of Shoals from last year when I took a two week class on Ecology and the Marine Environment.

Sunset, as seen from the Tidepool

The establishment on Appledore

The one, the only, the great Larus marinus (Great Black-backed Gull)
 I will probably upload more photos over the coming two weeks, while procrastinating studying for finals so stay tuned!

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