Feb 3, 2013

A Day at the Office

     Some people choose their profession based on how much money they will make at it.  Others choose their profession based on what their passions and interests are, and then are thankful if they make money along the way. I fall into the latter category, although having a family has served to readjust my priorities a little.  But by and large, I get to be one of the fortunate ones who really love what they do, and to top it off, I get to help make a difference in the future of a resource that matters to me. 
     This post will be mostly pictures since it would take WAY too long to tell you the stories behind all of them. These are pictures from my first field season at my new job which consisted of three months of seven-day-a-week trips out into the woods to catch and tag steelhead kelts (a kelt is a steelhead that has already spawned and is migrating back down to the ocean) in the spring of 2012.  If this sounds similar to my grad school work, that's because it is.  I'm not going to go into details about this project, but I do want to share the pictures. Some of these were taken while "on the clock" but most were from the downtime after work. 
Steelhead Kelt
I'll start with a kelt picture, after all that is what my project is about. This particular one, though not the biggest one we caught, was definitely one of the prettiest.
Steelhead Kelt
Here's another kelt. This one was the smallest steelhead I've ever seen. He was just over 19 inches long. I thought he was cute!
Middle Fork Clearwater Chinook Salmon
My trips to the woods couldn't be all business. I filled my downtime by fishing (believe it or not). This was my first ever Chinook salmon landed in Idaho. She wasn't overly huge, and she didn't even put up a particularly memorable fight, but I've been trying to catch one of these for quite some time so to me she was perfect!
I made new friends...
I like this closeup of butterfly wings, showing the individual scales.
I saw these two whitetail bucks on a regular basis. They live on the Lochsa River, and so did I for the entire month of June 2012.
When I think of surfing, I think of Hawaii or southern California with warm water, sunshine, and a beach.  Apparently this dude thinks of the Lochsa River, freezing cold water, and dangerous currents with sharp rocks!  He was fun to watch though.
Few of you will probably appreciate this picture, but for me it was a doosie.  My favorite fishing show (I know, most of you just read that as "My favorite paint-drying show"...) is "Wild on the Fly".  This guy, Dan Shephard (who has impeccable taste in shirt color...), is one of the stars of the show and managing partner of Missoula Montana's Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop.  Missoula is only a couple hours across the Idaho/Montana border from one of my sampling sites.  On a particularly slow kelt-day, I jumped in my buddie's car and we drove over to see the fly shop.  I was excited to meet the guy and hoped he would be nice enough to pose for a picture with me (the fish nerd), but what I wasn't expecting was him to sit there and chew the fat with us for the next half hour! We exchanged fishing stories (his were much more exotic than mine...) and he even gave me some DVDs of the show!  To top it all off, the fly shop was definitely one of the best I've been in. If you're ever in Missoula, stop by and give those guys some business!!
This is "bear grass".  It's called that because it's not grass and has nothing to do with bears....
The Lochsa has a pretty good hatch of these golden beauties in the spring that lasts for weeks!
After spending a good portion of each spring of the last three years on the Lochsa River, it will probably forever be one of my favorites.  If you haven't been there, give it a try, she won't disappoint.
Here's a typical westslope cutthroat trout caught in a nearby tributary while camping on the Lochsa River.
This 16 inch fattie is a good fish for up there, but they're plentiful. It's not uncommon to catch 20 to 30 up to this size in an afternoon, but the best part is that they're always looking up and eager to jump at a dry fly!
This is Francine. She's a hummingbird.  I discovered this nest last year and wanted to see if I could get some better pictures of her and her babies this year.
These are Francine's two babies Mildred and Bob (That's Bob there on the left in white).
I checked back two weeks later and either Mildred and Bob had hatched or somebody had dropped some hairy raisins into the nest.
I went back seven days later only to find that Bob, who now looked like a grape-sized plucked chicken, had apparently pushed Mildred out of the nest (which is quite rude if you ask me)!
And finally 11 days later, this was the last time I saw Bob, who was almost recognizable as a hummingbird by that point.
My wife and the chick-lets came up to the Lochsa for the weekend. We rode horses. The white one was named Snow White, at least according to my three year old.
If you don't recognize this flower, that's probably a good thing. It's poison ivy.  Interestingly enough, I seem to be immune to poison ivy.  I keep touching it (stupid right? I just really want to know!) and nothing ever comes of it.  Maybe those super-powers are finally starting to manifest themselves!
Bighorn sheep crossings are my favorite kind of crossing. This one is near the mouth of the Grande Ronde River in Washington.
I don't know how you feel about the view from your office, but I sure like mine!
This is one of the smallest crawdads I have ever seen (or "baby-daddies" as they are actually called. You thought that meant something else. Well, you were wrong.).
Who says fish aren't cute?? This chiselmouth was ready for his closeup!
One of our sampling sites was right next to a little patch of these tasty little critters!
This is my favorite picture of the petroglyphs at Buffalo Eddy on the Snake River.
Not bad pictures for being several thousand years old!
I think this was the original version of a "BIG HORN SHEEP CROSSING" sign!
This kelt was nice enough to stick around for a picture after I tagged her.
You may have to click to see the larger version of this picture to appreciate what's going on here. This was a very tense stand-off. I didn't catch all the details, but I think the goose said something about the chuckar's mother, then the chuckar started making fun of the goose's long neck...
It's not easy being green... errr gray... wait.....
I've started dabbling in macro-photography. This butterfly closeup is my favorite so far.
If you can't tell, this is a caterpillar, a freaking scary one, but a caterpillar nevertheless.
Just a cute little mayfly
And just for good measure, here's an UNDERWATER macro picture. These are water pennies.

1 comment: