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Marine Life On A Star

I’ve taken up residence on Star Island for the summer as the island naturalist. These first few days have been busy setting up the tanks, putting things together, and unearthing all kinds of treasures stored away for many winters. I hope to have most of the displays in shape and the tanks at least partially stocked by Friday. There’s a big regatta and we’ll have over 300 guests that day. Even though this isn’t the main event, I want to have the place ready for visitors. Then I’ll have one week to work on programs before the first conferees arrive.

Birding has been interesting. The thickets are filled with warblers in the morning. You can’t see any of them but what a chorus they make with their tremolos. Offset by the tenor squawks of the gulls soaring overhead. On the mainland I would never get up early enough but now I’m up and out by 5:30 or so. I’ve also seen my first indigo bunting, some eider ducks, and sandpipers.
Botany is more of a challenge since so many of the rare species here are grasses and nondescript weeds. I know the big obvious ones but have always overlooked the grasses. Now I have a full-fledged meadow across the path so I’ll have lots to identify.
One of the tasks that’s been put to me is a habitat survey of island plant and animal life over the course of the season to help with land-use planning. It seems daunting but there are specific areas of concern and a lot of research has already been done and is available here in the lab.
I almost had a nice flounder this morning for the tanks but it slipped out of the trap while I fetched water to put it in. At least the trap works, I had been expecting crabs not fish. I plan on diving this afternoon to collect. It’s pretty warm today.

Posted in Rutledge Marine Lab.

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