15 August 2008

Field Work - the Bane of My Quest

You're right, those aren't birds. They're Northern Leopard Frogs, and if I don't end up making it to 236 species in Cache County, they will have been the reason. I think most of my blog readers already know, but in case one or both of you don't, in my "real" life I'm a herpetologist. For my dissertation work, I'm studying the genetics of this frog species. And to do that, I have to travel around the West collecting genetic tissue from frogs. I love the work, I love the species, and I love the travelling, but it has been painful to see some of the birds that have been seen in Cache County while I've been gone. Earlier this spring, I missed shots at Lewis's Woodpecker, Dunlin, and Clay-colored Sparrow (among others) while I was collecting frogs. Of course, I've also gotten to see some other great birds that haven't been reported in Cache County, like my lifer Orchard Orioles and Dickcissel in Colorado last month, and the Sage Grouse I saw two days ago in southern Wyoming (shown below), but they won't help me reach 236. And now that I'm waiting out a storm in a hotel room in Wyoming, it's hard not to think about all the fall migrants I might be missing while I'm trying to chase frogs.

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