Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Facility Day

The day always starts early on Facility days. The alarm never truly goes off because I am always afraid of missing it so I am constantly waking up to check if I missed it. I quit fighting sleep at 328 AM and rose out of the prison mattress bed and shut the alarm off. My stuff was already in the kitchen as to not wake the sleeping housemates even though most nights they keep me awake. I dressed, double checked that I had everything, and went into the kitchen to grab my food and head out the door. At the Access Road at 345 AM, I started my ascent without a headlamp because the moon was still bright. Mission #1: Find another crew member's keys that she lost last night. Mission failed.

Arriving at approximately 423 AM, I started right into my chores of the morning...flush the pools, clean the indoor and outdoor pools, fill the water tank, remove the wood rat nest, see if I could fix the door (unsuccessful), check the electric fences and hope not to get shocked, and hang the wag bag (poop bags) box so the wood rat doesn't keep getting into it. With all finished in ample time, I laid down on the unsteady cot for a quick nap. The birds awoke early and started feeding before I realized what was going on because they placed rabbits in the facility not a calf. I started taking notes. I had already missed sunrise and the sun doesn't allow for great photos. Well, the dirty one-way glass doesn't help matters either.

I walk into the outer room to use the facility which is a toilet seat with a bag attached and there is Mr. Wood Rat. I chase him down the hall. I absolutely hate rodents. They just look dirty. I chase him out the door and then I close up the bottom of the door and use duct tape to secure it. I am sure he knows a dozen holes to come through.

It is quiet in the observation room. And then I listen intently. I feel like I am inside of a wasp nest as a zillion yellow jackets buzz outside. The air is filled with them. They fly into the windows. They smell my fear of having to stick the Epi-pen in my leg if I get stung. I wonder where they are going to land the helicopter when they have to fly we out because I have quit breathing. And then I whip my attention back to work. But I can't get the wasps out of my mind.

And then I scan outside the mesh to my favorite part of the day most of the time. My friend has arrived. May be two of them. I am always excited when a guest of some animal species arrives to attempt to eat things out of the flight pen. But all of the visitors, this one has to be my favorite.


On this day, I got to see something I had never seen before in my life and that was a roadrunner flying. He flew for quite some time before returning. And there were two of them today. No other visitors expect a few turkey vultures.

I took my notes-checked their toes, legs, eyes, beak, nare, neck, and wings. Sometimes they make it pretty easy for me to check their wings.

With eating finished, they hung out together and by themselves lounging at the pool. Some of the birds preened themselves to look beautiful. And of course some didn't care what they looked like.

At about 10 AM, I called the person on the outside to ask where she might have lost her keys. She informed me that all the birds were out of the view of the facility and this would be my chance to leave. I hesitated for a brief moment and realized if I didn't go now, I would be stuck all day. I packed my stuff which I've come pretty good at doing in about 1 minute and headed out the door down the road. I had reached the S-curve when I noticed the first one flying over me. (this photo was not from this day)...

I hurried down the hill and drove back to the dorm where I took a long nap before returning to work later that evening.


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