Notes from the field: San Juan Island style!

Oh man, has it been a whirl wind! This summer I am assisting my lab mate Rochelle Kelly with her super cool research on the biogeography of bats in the Pacific North West, specifically the fragmented habitat of the San Juan Archipelago.

We have already been here a week and have been mist netting on two islands, Blakely and Shaw. Both have been spectacular in their own way.

Spencer's Cabin on Blakely
Spencer’s Cabin on Blakely (Home to a Townsend’s Big-eared bat)

On Blakely Island we stayed at the Seattle Pacific University (SPU) field station. During our stay we mist-netted at a historical landmark, Spencer’s Cabin.  Home to a resident* Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii), an extremely charismatic and adorable bat! The first evening we mist-netted we caught several species including two Townsend’s!! Sadly, one of those got away…yeah, yeah just like the old fish tales.

Townsend's Big-eared bat
Townsend’s Big-eared bat

The next night we netted at Taggares pond and we were in for such a surprise! We caught 20 bats that night which is extremely good for netting on an island with two large lakes! We also saw a beaver and two barred owl juveniles. Even though it was busy at the nets we had help. Some SPU students,  who were on their own field course, came out and netted with us until midnight, even though they had a final the next morning at 9am. We were so thankful to them for helping our night go so smoothly!

Unfortunately we had to move on from Blakely and set up home base on Shaw Island. Shaw is a beautiful Island that has more of a down-home farm feel.

We have netted there a couple of nights and put out acoustics detectors to monitor bat activity of the species we are not capturing in our nets. We will continue to explore more islands in this archipelago and catch more great species like this Myotis evotis!

Myotis evotis (The long-eared myotis)
Myotis evotis
(The long-eared myotis)


*a single individual has been observed to return to this cabin over the past few years, however, we are unsure if this is the same individual every year.

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