This is for the Birds!

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Leaving the dock early this morning, there was nobody to be seen for miles and miles.  The water was calm appearing like a sheet of glass.  On the way to the Salt Marsh several schools of Thread Fin Shad were found, so we cast a three foot net into the water.  When the casting net was drawn back into the boat a Needle fish and several Thread Fin Shad were collected and observed.  Also on the way to the Salt Marsh a Loggerhead turtle was seen.  The Loggerhead turtle has been seen on our outings daily, but several students did not see the turtle so today they were able to.

As we were passing a channel marker an Osprey was sitting on his nest on top of it.  The Osprey gave us a very angry look and we knew that this would be a day where we would encounter the birds.

As we arrived at the Salt Marsh and Dr. Carpenter stepped off and tried to anchor the boat on the Salt Marsh. The Common Terns that were nested in the Salt Marsh obviously did not want us there.  The Common Terns defended their nest so they began buzzing and  screaming at Dr. Carpenter.  The birds started to defend themselves by buzzing the entire boat.  More and more birds began to come over to the area and we got the message that we were not wanted and headed to another Salt Marsh.  The next Salt Marsh was just as bad and the birds became even more angry.  During the third attempt at trying to anchor on a Salt Marsh, we had more success and we were able to observe the area for about thirty feet observing the plant and animal life.

We then traveled to the Coast Guard Dock which is now abandoned, but we were able wade through the Salt Marsh to walk up to the Coast Guard shack and a lot was not found.  We decided to walk on the bridge to return to the boat because Dr. Basinger lost and broke his sandal in the Salt Marsh.  While we were all able to fit under one part of the bridge successfully Dr. Basinger struggled to get under the fence twice.  After getting to part of the bridge we were forced to jumped down because there were many signs warning that the bridge may collapse.  All students jumped and climbed off the bridge, but one fellow students tragically fell to depths of her pride.  She slipped and fell into the Salt Marsh after missing a step creating a cut on her leg from the oysters on the column of the dock.

We traveled to the Bay eating a lunch composed of sandwiches, chips, and golden Oreo’s.  After the delicious meal, we traveled through the dunes to the Ocean beach to view the rock jetty.  The tide was too high for everyone to walk over so the professors and some students went to the rock jetty to collect dye drills.  As the waves came in and out we used a sand sifter to collect sand catching mole crabs.  Walking back through the dunes the sand was very hot causing blisters on some students from walking on the hot sand. Dr. Basinger walked on the hot sand like a warrior with no complaints.

Today was a day to remember being able to observe many organisms and plants while also learning that birds will protect their territory.  They let us know this day was for the birds.

Brittany Bradley

Drew Maddox

Biology major



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