Welcome back! In this post, I will tell you all about my days in the field between the 20th of May and 3rd of June:
Starting in Bergen, the first thing we had to do was bringing field equipment to both field sites. We had 80 flight interceptor traps that needed to be delivered, so we had to rent a large van to be able to fit everything in the car. Driving a big van on the narrow roads in Hardanger is an interesting experience, and something I’ll add to my resumé as practical skills. One the bright side, we were lucky to get to visit Hardanger at its best, in the middle of the appletree flowering. Having been on the eastern site the week before, it was interesting to see the differences between the sites. In Lofthus, the orchards were super steep, while in Svelvik, it was mostly flat.
After delivering half of the traps in Lofthus, we drove over Hardangervidda – which was super nice in the good weather we had. I used the this time as an opportunity to ask my coworker, a NINA technician, about work opportunities and education. At around 11 pm we arrived in Svelvik, met with the project manager and checked into the camping site. Ready for our first day of fieldwork the next day.
We had planned to start the flower visitation survey this day, but the orchards needed spraying, which meant we had to stay out of the field for 24 hours. Instead we headed back to the camping site to put together the flight interceptor traps.
These days were used for marking the flower exclusion cages with the correct ID-tag and putting out the traps.
Rainy day, which meant there was no use for me to head to the field. Entomologists are lucky that way, since the insects are not super active in bad weather:) The weather cleared up a bit, so I went out to the field to do some flower visitation survey. I caught 2 pollinators, one Honeybee and one Bumblebee. Around 5pm each day, we emptied and collected what was caught in the flight interceptor traps.
Another fieldworker arrived, a botanist. And even though the weather was still quite bad, the plants are not going anywhere, so a botanist is still able to do their work. All of us helped doing the vegetation survey, which definitely filled some gaps in my botany knowledge. Following plots set on the GPS, with about 50m between each, we set a a 1x1m plot centered north, divided into 16 smaller squares (starting in the north square). For each square, we counted the number of individuals of a flower species and noted whether it was in flower, bud or withered. For some species it was enough to just say whether it was present or not in the square. Even though it seemes quite difficult at first remembering all the different Latin species names, I quickly got used to it and managed to do some plots myself (with good help from the botanist). In all, we did 10 plots this day.
Heavy rainy day. Another fieldworker arrived, a botanist, so this day we had two teams doing the vegetation analysis (one botanist on each team). Because of the bad weather, I was told that I could take half the day off – some extra perks with being a BIO298 student and not at paid work:).
Finally sunny! In the past days, it had felt like we were living in a parallel world, with the super nice weather in the west and really bad in the east. This day I really got to start with the flower visitation survey, and I got an all-time personal record with 15 catches this day. As usual, we emptied the flight interceptor traps at the end of the day.
Another sunny day doing flower visitation survey, were I got 3 catches. The representee from NLR (Norsk landbruksrådgivning) joined us and helped with the survey, which was really nice. I finally had my first swim! The water was super shallow, and you could walk at least 100m out while still standing!
This marks the end of my field diary, as I forgot to write notes after each day (ups … ). But between 29.05-02.06, the project manager joined us, and we mostly did the flight visitation survey and checked the flight interceptor traps. The weather was nice, so it was super chill to just sit in the field (listening to an audio book), catching pollinators now and then. After field, we mostly had dinner outside and even had a BBQ, which was really fun. One of the days we went sightseeing in downtown Svelvik and ate at the local restaurant. Such a cozy little town, with small shops and cafes by the water.
Some pictures from these days:
Having packed down the fieldsite the day before, we drove back to Bergen again on the 03.06. With a lot of new field experience acquired, it was now time to get back to everyday life and the last exams on my bachelor’s.
-In my next, and last blog post, I will summarize what I learned and my experience as a BIO298 student. I hope you will follow!