As the field season comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on the many great aspects of getting to be part of the Phenoweb project. Here are the moments that particularly stood out for me.
The routine. It can be daunting to start a new job, go to places you’ve never been before in search of specific trees, nestboxes and branches. Of course, we had maps and a very supportive team, but I still enjoyed the moment when we really had our routine down – we would arrive at a site and know exactly where we have to head, we would find the branch where we are mean to count invertebrates straight away.
The surprises. Of course, it was great to have some surprises, too! My personal favourite was when I dropped the plastic bag for branch beating and lifted it up only to find a beautiful fawn curled up among the bluebells. A truly fairytale moment. Another surprise was a really snowy day we had in late April. Remember that smooth routine we had? Well, we quickly got reminded of what finding the trees and branches was like in the very beginning of the field season, as that day in April, everything was covered in snow, hiding the string we use to flag trees and the current status of tree buds (as you couldn’t see them).
The new skills. I love the feeling of having learned something new, and there is plenty to learn along the transect – tree identification, bird handling and ringing, branch beating. I had never thought of the date as “day 113 of the year” before, but quickly we stopped thinking about Mondays and Tuesdays, with questions like “What day is it today?” immediately followed by a number.
The new places. Thanks to working on the transect, I got to see much more of Scotland than I had before. The north sites were my favourite – such beautiful scenery! An inspirational place to work.
The little stops along the way. During the field season, I learned a lot, I felt inspired and motivated to continue pursuing science, and I had fun. I also had the best fudge donuts of my life, ate delicious cake and scones, took in the sounds of spring as we quietly had lunch or chatted away on one topic or another. Fieldwork along the transect truly is about the journey and the stops along the way, and what a journey it’s been!
Little peaceful moments