Gexx in Knoxville

This blog is about Gexx, in Knoxville

Field Work: deer, bugs, and more!!

Posted by Gexx on August 7, 2009

I’m really enjoying the field work.  Although I hope/plan to do more with curation and lab work in my career, there’s something empowering about going out and doing the initial discoveries.  This summer has been gorgeous! Not *too* hot for a mountain summer and not too humid.  Getting the site mapped was horribly monotonous, and it required hauling about 70 lbs (and $12,000) of equipment to and from the 1/2 mile-ish-away-off-trail site.  But now that I’m digging, I can leave my gear at the site and just carry my backpack with me.

The other day I was out digging by myself.  In the area are lots of “hogwallers” (places where the wild boars wallow in the mud, indicitive because of the high amount of torn up ground).  I heard a snap in the woods and looked up, ready to run.  About 10m away from me was a gorgeous doe.  She looked at me, I started talking to her.  She just ignored me!  How rude!  She did, however, hang around for about an hour.  This made me feel safe, as a doe would be the first thing to run off if a bear or boar entered.  When she did go away, she didn’t run, she just wandered up the ridge near where I worked.

That same day, I heard a Katydid chirping really loudly.  I found it at the tree next to me, just Katy-did-ing away.  A big gran’daddy-long-legger was sizing it up, but he decided to leave the singer alone.

Also in the area of my site are lots of trees that bears grub around.  It’s really startling, sometimes, to see the neat motes that they dig to get the ugly larvae.  Today I dragged M to the site to help me.  To get there we need to cross a stream near the trailhead, so we wear sandals in the car and across the stream.  On the opposite side, we change into our serious (dry!) hiking boots.  Today was no different.  As we’re changing into our boots, people start to gather on the opposite side and point up the tree we’re under.  I finally ask “What’s going on.”  Some kid responds “There’s two BEARS UP THERE!!”  I finish tying my shoe and we HAUL ARSE!  The trees there aren’t the strongest, so the only size bear that they could support two of are cubs.  And cubs aren’t much unless there’s a MommaBear, and the local MommaBear had 2 cubs this year.  And I do NOT want to meet up with a momma bear!

So what sort of signs will the coyotes leave behind and when will they hang out with me?


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