For most of the past decade, the 2nd week in March would find me fully entrenched (literally) in getting our sage-grouse research projects up and running. Not this year. I took on a winter quarter class at UC Davis, and won’t be joining the rest of the crew at Chicken Camp for another couple of weeks. I’m doing what I can to help Gail and Ryane from here, but so far I’ve missed some excitement in the form of minor vehicle and trailer calamities.
From what I’ve heard- it’s been a weirdly warm winter so far, with the area getting rain (rain!) as often as snow, and no permanent snow cover when they arrived at the field site. The males were already displaying on the leks, and attendance seems pretty good, although it’s hard to know how to interpret numbers. Does more males relative to same date last year reflect an increase in the population, or that the season has advanced, or both? We should have a better answer for this once we see how the season plays out.
I’ve been teaching Behavioral Ecology in the WFCB department at UC Davis this quarter. I’ve never taught BE before, but the subject is definitely in my wheelhouse, and my past experience with Animal Behavior and Intro to Evolution classes have definitely given me something to work from. Hopefully the 60 students in WFC 141 have learned something this quarter! Now to write that exam!