I have been forced out of retirement by Bush's gang of deregulators and their smashing style of economic management. Thus ends 9.75 years of a slower and quite pleasant lifestyle. One good thing that came out of having to return suddenly to work, though, was the gratification of being immediately given about six months of interesting field work by friends in my line of work. Only one's health and family are more important than friends.
Since last November I have been conducting field surveys for imperiled species in preparation of a linear development project. Specifically, I have been looking for nests and significant habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) and crested caracara (Polyborus plancus). The rcw work took me from the Florida Panhandle to southwest Alabama Nov '08 to Jan '09, and the caracara work has had me in Okeechobee, FL since then.
I moved my RV to Okeecbobee from Orange Lake for the duration of the caracara work. Once inside the RV with curtains drawn, I could be in Okeechobee or back in Orange Lake for all I know, or beside Lake Tanganyika for that matter. I get homesick living out of hotels on field trips and am hoping that living out of the RV will eliminate that threat. Plus, living in a new locale should allow for abundant new opportunities for adventure. Anyway, I'll be here until March or April, 2009.
I get up at 0515 hrs in order to be on site a little before daybreak, and am there until 1100 hrs; then I return to the field a few hours before sundown and remain there until about a half-hour after sunset. At each station I continuously scan the environment for caracaras using binoculars, and I mark down where they are seen and what their activity is. After doing this within the known range of a pair, we get an idea of the core portion of their territory. We then focus on locating the nest.
It is a good job for me at this time. I have no illusions about the difficulty in breaking back into “The Game.” I know it will be trying. But in the meantime I am out in the field at crepuscular times when wildlife, and especially bird life, is active and visible, I am in a new and interesting place yet still at home, the client and my boss treat me right, and I am making good money. I may be recently fleeced, but life is still good.