Sunday, August 22, 2010

July 6

The team working hard setting up a pitfall at Long Tin.

Day two of digging and it felt like the longest day ever. First we had to check the traps at Four Mile and Dry Bay. At Four Mile we caught a shrew in one of the pitfalls and like all the others we found tick larvae between the toes and on the feet. We also caught our first lizard under the burlap that’s tied around a tree. It was a beautiful Sceloporus undulatus, aka eastern fence lizard. She did not have any ticks but she was only days away from laying eggs. At Dry Bay we caught another lizard under the burlap this time it was a male five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus) with no ticks. We also had two mice in the Sherman traps, both cotton mice (Peromyscus gossypinus) and both were recaps with no mice.
After checking the other two sites we went to Long Tin Site and checked the traps that were out (the one pitfall and the Sherman and Tomahawk traps) but there wasn’t anything. While the others started digging I did my shift of flagging for ticks but after two transects I didn’t get any. This could be because they are not out or because it is too hot and they are hidden under better cover. After this I joined in on the digging of the last two pitfall arrays. These were unlike the other sites in that we had to dig in clay, not sand or soil. So basically these were significantly harder to dig. By the time we were done we had a few hours to relax until we went back out to open the traps.
We didn’t find anything in the pitfalls at Dry Bay or Long Tin Site but we did find another shrew at Four Mile in one of the pitfalls. It also had tick larvae between its toes. This is really odd that we keep finding them between the toes because the shrew should easily be able to remove the ticks while it’s cleaning itself. Who knows maybe the ticks are not a nuisance and the shrew doesn’t even realize they are there.

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