Thursday, February 2, 2012

One Delightful Day!

What better way to start off the month than with an extra day.  Yes, it is true one full extra day! This year is a leap year, meaning we will have 366 days rather than the typical 365.  For me, this is a well needed extra day.  I have projects, upon to do lists, upon assignments, upon more projects building up.  What better way to catch up on my life than adding a full 'empty' day to my agenda.  Some people may not think much of the added day in the year, or may not even notice, but I am going out of my way to make sure my extra day counts!

One of the first pellets I found last season (2011).
I am making February the month to 'leap' ahead on my busy schedule.  I will be diligently working on starting new projects and finishing up old ones.  Yes...I am setting the goal high, because if I don't it will never happen!  I am going to make this leap year count and by February 29th I hope to have accomplished the following:

1) Begin work on structuring, digitizing, and rendering various GIS layers for ArcMap.  My project is having a specially designed tool created in order to use within canyon landscapes.  This tool will allow me to easily take measurements from canyon terrain using various GIS data layers.  The tool is in the works and I should be too.  I need to prepare a number of layers that can be applied to the tool as soon as it is done.

Error Analysis on a derived slope layer.

2) Finish knitting my owl sweater.  Why is this important? Because I want to wear this thing before it is too warm!  Since I love owls and knitting I figured this sweater would be the perfect combination for my next knitting project.  Plus I would really love to wear this thing when I leave for Moab in March to present my research (hopefully it isn't too hot by then).

3) Commence dissection.  I have nearly 80 spotted owl pellets that I need to dissect.  Considering I have never really done owl pellet dissection under dire circumstances such as mine, I need to do a lot of prep work.  I need to find resources, if any, on how to identify leg bones of small mammals, hair (I am thinking not), and body to mass ratios.  Not to mention learn how to identify (correctly) small mammal skulls.  My goal is to design data sheets for this task and at least started filling them out with some number (even if it is only 1) of dissected owl pellets.

4) Write my methods! Yes, you heard right and despite the exclamation point, I am not excited about this.  I have to completely re-write my methods for my project.  Why? I am too frustrated to even talk about it, so I am just going to get it done.  And I will have it done by the 29th!

      A cartoon I drew of me doing a geologic survey.  Surprisingly, my advisor did not particularly like the figure (maybe it was the pink dress?)
 5) Select my owl sites.  I have to organize and compile all historic data, create occupancy records, and classify these locations as low, medium, or high occupancy.  Part of this process I have automated by designing and creating my very own Access database.  I should be done with this task by now, but the main problem is I have to rely on other people (who seem to be very flaky) to provide me with their data.  Therefore, I am stuck in a black hole until I receive their data.  So I am hoping that they will at least get me their data by the 29th.  After all they have a whole extra day to do it...right?

6) Submit my IAR reports.  These are reports that were due to the National Park Service at least a month ago.  Why didn't I submit them? Well, I did not have the proper login information because my advisors lost it.  So the lesson here is never let your advisors apply for a permit in their name (if at all possible).  This year I am taking care of my own business and have applied for all my own permits.  Surprisingly, they were done way faster, things went way smoother, and I already have my permits in hand! Plus, my IAR reports will be turned in well before the deadline next year.

7)  Select sites to deploy my iButtons.  iButtons are a small device, about the size of a sweet tart, that records temperature and humidity.  I am placing these at select owls sites this summer to determine if owls prefer cool, moist canyons.  The problem is, I am not quite sure where to put them yet, or how to even decide.  I have a couple of ideas, but I need a definitive decision by the end of this month.  And this is a very important decision that can't be made hastily.

iButton next to a penny.

8) Bird more.  I have been slacking on my birding for quite sometime.  It is mainly due to the amount of time my project demands of me.  It literally sucks the life right out of me.  So, my goal is to work less and bird more.  However, I will have to manage my time wisely in order to keep up on all of the above project goals.

Birding with the magnificent Wellsvilles as a backdrop.

There you have 'leap' ahead goals all laid out.  I will be documenting my progress on each of these goals throughout the month.  So, what are you waiting for?  Stop wasting your leap year and start planning that extra day!

Celebrating my very last hike of the field season (2011).  I hope to be feeling this great by the end of February!


  1. Yay, bird more! Also, this post made me really want to eat a SweetTart. . . .

    1. Well it is almost Valentines SweetTarts are certainly in order.

  2. Please give me some of whatever you're eating!

    1. I will bake you a special batch! Although it may push you over the edge since you already accomplish so much!