Okay, so I have a quite a bit to say, hang in there if you can…
Our first tour of the the island was a kind of a let down. We spent several nights huddled in a cave on the side of a cliff with mildewed wool blankets we scavenged from the shop to keep us warm. We’d wait until about 6am hoping to hear our transceiver signal that we’d caught an owl. It signaled once — getting our hopes up after hours in the cold and dark — only to find the wind had set off the transmitter. No owl. Much frustration. Especially when very sleepy. I think one of the few things that kept me awake those nights (other than being horribly uncomfortable) was the need to scare away mice from getting cozy with me. There are some pleasant things about sitting in a cave for 9 hours…. like watching meteors, listening to whales breath, and having close encounters with storm-petrels buzzing the cave entrance. The sunrises aren’t bad either.
We got delayed on our second tour due to rough seas and had to take the helicopter again instead of the boat. Here’s some photos of our super rad flight suits and storm-trooper helmets we are required to wear.
We had some windy nights our first few days back and couldn’t trap. We preoccupied ourselves with other tasks such as helping to build the deck on the new nursery shade house and building some bal-chatri traps. We also decked out our decoy owl with some feathers to give him some flare and a bit of life. We named him Korben Dallas. Here he is eating the fake lure mouse I made:
And here is a male kestrel that likes to hang by the house eviscerating his lunch on the visitor welcome sign. He needs a name. Something intimidating. Any ideas?
And a pterodactyl:
So, here’s where it gets FUN! We finally caught an owl! Here’s the pretty lady (with brood patch!) that we caught near the house:
Moments after releasing her our transceiver alarmed that the furthest trap — up the steepest trail — had been set off. Sarah and I grabbed our supplies and set off at a valiant full speed race up the hill only to realize within less than a minute that we are not runners. Particularly not up-hill runners. And especially not with gear on our backs. We slowed to a very fast walk (we are at least good at hiking!) and when we finally reached the trap (gasping for air) we saw that there was only a single feather caught. Touché owl, touché.
Oh, and I have no idea what a barn owl smells like. I’ll remember to smell one next time.