|Via Jon Krupfl|
When time had granted our wishes, our tri-agency program (Fish and Wildlife Service, Student Conservation Association, and the US Department of Agriculture) had been joined by a fourth, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources! All of the acronyms present! That evening we met and had dinner together at the Sister Bay Bowl, which in the Wisconsin tradition was attached to a restaurant. Bonding time over we split up into two groups and were on the water by 10pm to get to the islands by 10:30 or so. We had our orientation on pilot island (the same island I was in the turkey blind the day before) and we were banding cormorants at around 11pm. I was assigned to be one of the three wranglers, there were two people who applied the bands to to the birds, and another who handed bands out.
|via John Krupfl|
The smell of the island wasn't so bad but mostly since I had acclimatized a bit to the scent the day before. To give you an idea of how much poop their was on the ground, with every step I took I sank a few inches in white cake like poop. What an experience! I'm almost certain a decent percentage of my olfactory had been burnt off already! One difficulty we encountered was being swarmed by hundreds of flies whenever we were in an area where something obstructed the wind from blowing. Each of us wearing headlamps would be magnets making it hard to see, let alone breathe, or speak without swallowing some.
|Via John Krupfl|
We had four hours of sleep that night, again basking in the heat and drove back the next day after packing everything up. The pain came the next day when we had unpacked all of our gear that still had the stench of cormorant poo! What a week!
These islands trips, particularly this last one, were amazing because of the diversity and remote nature of the islands. I was able to build on the experience I gained working at Horicon NWR and develop knowledge in areas my time at Horicon NWR never touched on like trail building and bird banding.