It’s been an odd week at the ponds. My experiment is officially underway (both wonderful and terrifying). I have new chest waders that don’t leak (glorious). The weather’s been unpredictable but generally chilly (unpleasant for both me and the fish).
This spring seems to much colder and wetter than last year’s, and I can’t say there have been any new arrivals in the ponds since my last post. The overcast skies are making it difficult to convince the male sticklebacks that they should be building nests, and I never seem to have gravid female sticklebacks when I need them. I’m being whiny, I know, but that’s often the only way to cope with research, which never works the way you expect it to.
Fortunately, just when I needed some cheering up, a coyote appeared by the ponds in broad daylight! They are common here, but usually they’re more active at dusk and dawn. This one was standing on top of a ridge just outside of the forest and howling, a sound somewhere between a loon call and a wolf howl, at a packmate (or perhaps someone’s dog) off in the forest.
Coyotes are good, for an animal their size, at living in urban spaces, but I worry that the construction around the ponds—there’s a lot of it now—is disturbing them. Part of the nearby forest is protected, but a large area is slated for condos, all of which, of course, have ironically nature-y names. The people who eventually live there will have a nice park right on their doorsteps, but the potential for conflict with wildlife—raccoons in the garbage, birds nesting in inappropriate places, coyotes eating lap dogs—is high. Having access to nature is probably the best way to develop a sense of environmental responsibility…but, depending on the person and the community, conflicts like these might outweigh the aesthetic value of having wild lands nearby.
Huh, this post has taken an unexpected and rather depressing turn despite the cute mammals. Must be time to get back to watching fish…