Today the plan was to write about how I prepare for my master thesis. But as usually, there are things developing different than you think: «We don’t know about the surprises yet» was the comment of my supervisor once, when we spoke about the study design of my thesis. When my current course, «Telemetry and Spatial Analysis» started, I was ready to perk up my ears and to sit still. This subject is very important for my thesis as the topic is the movement of sheep in mountain areas.
But again: I didn’t know about the surprises when the course started. A few days later, I found myself in a field station somewhere in the forest. Ten people and eight nationalities around a table with a massive pot of pasta on it: four master students, five researchers, who would follow Juuli (a graduated master student from Evenstad) to her special job the next day.
So after a long night of discussing the development of the carnivore and ungulate populations in Norway, Sweden and Germany, talking about management and problems, planning and checking GPS- positions of animals and finally – a very short night- we ended up on this swedish forest road to visit positions of GPS -collared animals.
We parked three cars full of people, skis and snowshoes on the side of the road, hoping for the best to get out of the mud again (as the roads are more melted and more soft in the afternoon, I was a bit excited about how my poor, old, small city-car would do).
So we started to follow Juuli through the dense forest, over streams and ditches and sometimes also right into the streams and ditches.
In a few hours of walking with snowshoes in melting snow, we learned from Juuli to read some signs in the snow. What do the animals do, where do they go and why might they do this instead of something else?
In the end we managed to get all the students out of the ditch and all the cars out of the mud. Like this, we could travel back to Evenstad with wet feet, tired legs and eyes. This was especially true for me, as I forgot my sunglasses. Who needs sunglasses when it is winter?! :D) and some new experience and imagination:
About how life looks like for all those animals out there and where much of the information we draw our inferences from day for day in our statistic programs and maps come from, initially.
I hope to get some time to think about sheep (without any snow) in the next few weeks I will let you know.
Ha det bra 🙂