My Alibi?...Gulf Shores

So today I began my 3rd deployment to the Gulf working on the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill Response.  I am part of a team monitoring the levels of submerged oil off the coast of Alabama.  Our team consists of a 4-person sample team, a BP rep, a federal NOAA rep (me), a boat captain, and his deck hand.  The Alibi, a 57 foot fishing boat, is equipped with everything we need to deploy Sentinels...contraptions that detect submerged oil in the water.  If/when we find it we take samples of the water and the sediment at the site.  This type of work is all new to me and I am enjoying learning more about a different kind of science!

Captain Ed...this guy has been in the military, a Marine Police, Game Warden, Ship Captain, carpenter, you name it.

Coolest part of today...we  caught our own lunch!

 King Mackerel

It doesn't get any fresher than this!

Raptor Rendesvous

Today I spent the day at the Southeastern Raptor Center where I occasionally volunteer doing raptor rehabilitation.  The morning's task was to transport a permanently-injured, non-releasable bald eagle to the Atlanta airport to be sent to her new home at the Dallas Zoo. 

Her wings were fitted with special foam bumpers to protect them during transport.

While we were in the air cargo hangar we saw a man preparing a dead body for transport!  The Delta representative told us that on average, every commercial airline flight transports 1-2 dead people...think about that the next time you are on a plane!

When we got back to the center from the airport, we were informed that 3 of the birds being rehabilitated and occupying outdoor aviaries were killed and eaten by raccoons!  One of the volunteers spotted one of the culprits in the large flight aviary and we had quite the afternoon wrangling it.

She only looks sweet and innocent!

Playin' 'Possum

A friend of mine is a wildlife rehabilitator and graciously gave me the opportunity to release one of her subadult opossums that she had rehabbed.  The little guy was brought to her by someone who had found him in his mother's pouch after she had been hit by a car.  After several weeks of good nutrition, he grew some strength and was ready to be released. 

I took him to a rural area of the town where I live and picked out a nice spot in a wooded area near a creek. 

When I let him go, he was very hesitant at first, and spent a long time sniffing his new surroundings.  After a while, curiosity got the best of him and he was prodding around his new home.  He was particularly interested in rotted stump and I tip-toed away while he was digging for bugs.  Fingers crossed that he makes it!

Cruel Beauty

I found this dead butterfly in my backyard.  It made me sad that it was dead, but I was grateful to enjoy its beauty.

Its the time of year for the great monarch migration.  Each year millions of monarch butterflies trek thousands of miles to warmer weather where they will spend the winter.  You can read more about these amazing insects and their incredible journey here:

Titillating Tybee

I spent this past weekend on Tybee Island (a small island off the coast of Savanna, GA) with my mom, dad, and younger brother Marc.  We had a wonderful time!  Had a delicious seafood dinner in downtown Savannah and enjoyed some live music in the town square, spent some time on the beach fishing, shrimping and watching the dolphins, went to a Greek festival, had a morning bike ride on the beach, photographed  birds, had breakfast at the world-famous Breakfast Club, and went kayaking...all in all, it was a lovely, relaxing weekend with the fam. 

Vintage Vinyl

For those of you who know me well, you know that even though I am still a 20-something, I am really an old soul at heart.  I love old things: people, places, and stuff.  On my most recent thrift store perusal, I fulfilled a long-time goal and bought my very first record player.  A Magnavox Micromatic.  She's a beauty, and in great shape.  Got my new needle ordered and as soon as she comes in the mail, I will be jammin' to some oldies.  Can't wait!

Deep Water Horizon

Beginning in August of 2010, I embarked on a quest to save the wildlife working as a biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on a wildlife recovery vessel in the Gulf of Mexico.  As crew leader of the S.W.A.T boat (shallow water attention terminal- a boat specially designed to navigate in the shallow, muddy waters of salt marshes, and donated by a contribution from entertainer Jimmy Buffet), I led the recovery effort in the Grand Bay areas of Mississippi and Alabama in an attempt to recover oiled and injured birds in the wake of the BP Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill.  My month long deployment was nothing short of an adventure, having never spent time in that part of the country.  I got to experience the humid, muggy Mississippi summer, the sweltering bayous and marshes of the Gulf, and the myriad of birds and wildlife that make that ecosystem so unique.  My heat tolerance and bird identifiation skills were tested, but all in all, it was a fantastic experience!

Here are some pictures from my time there...

 Here are some links to more pictures: