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3 August 2011

Last night was windy and rainy and this morning it was overcast with light rain. The weather didn't discourage the early morning visit of our resident Black-crowned Night Heron.

Frederiksted as seen from Cottages By The Sea

Black-crowned Night Heron at Cottages By The Sea

It is time to start planning the next few mongoose expeditions. I have reserved Commodore's Villa for next March and will reserve it again for next summer. The Refuge appears to no longer be an option for housing students, so I need an alternative. The Villa can easily sleep four additional people in the front room at no extra expense. I could also reserve Crew for two more people, but that would involve an extra fee. I have also been considering extending my stay here for several more days. This trip I set the same 25 traps for eight consecutive days and captured 26 unique animals 31 times for a trapping success rate of 0.16. This is about half the success rate from last March. However, this is the first time that I did not move the traps to a new location. There are two alternative explanations that I need to design an experiment to test: (1) some animals become trap shy and avoid future capture or (2) some animals are constantly moving and move out of the area where the traps are set. I am not certain how to test these two hypotheses, but it might be helpful to have more trapping days and have a mix of 25 traps in the same location for 15 days and also have another 25 traps that are moved to several different locations.

The bands of rain and wind prevented us from trapping on the Refuge (as per a request from Refuge Manager Mike Evans) so we played tourist and drove to Christiansted for lunch and then to the East End. When we went to Buck Island I was surprised to see how green the East End appeared from the boat. But when we drove to Point Udall I was shocked to see several mushrooms growing in the lush green grass!

Mushroom at Point Udall

Mushroom at Point Udall