Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Very Busy First Month

It has been a hectic 1st month getting the goats settled in and keeping up with the paddock rotation and toting water while monitoring the assorted vegetation study plots. Our 1st surprise came when #211 gave birth to twins (a boy and a girl) the day before we herded the goats across the balds. Ansel and Audrey carried the twins across the balds while the mama goat followed, with occasional stops so the twins could nurse. Mama goat and her babies are doing fine. The little boy has been named (but not yet formally adopted) Gambol in memory of Hank Gamble who volunteered on Roan and elsewhere for many years. Hank was among the best of volunteers, he simply showed up, quietly helped with what was needed, and then often just as quietly slipped away when the work was done. I found out more about Hank’s life away from Roan from his obituary than from him directly.

Our 2nd surprise was during the herding across the balds. #902 veered off to the left while the herd veered to the right. She was last seen in the Rhododendron thicket on Round Bald.
Our 3rd surprise: Yet, being more like the Roadrunner than the Coyote, she showed up at the goat paddock 20 days later and about 1 mile from where she was last seen, apparently fine but obviously relieved to be back with the herd. She slept a lot the first couple of days after coming back.

We have help monitoring the rare Gray’s Lily this year. Joe, an undergraduate honor student at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is doing his senior thesis on Gray’s Lily. Joe has done the bulk of re-monitoring our 12 macro-plots (5 meter radius circular plots) as well as started the very first demography study (tracking the same individuals through time) on Roan Mountain. He plans to track the reproductive plants through this growing season. After the summer is over he will be analyzing the 3 year macro-plot data set as well as the demography study, with hopes of doing a meta-population analysis by including other researchers’ data sets. Sun hats off to Joe for helping get data on a rare plant that may well belong on the federal Endangered Species List.

#230 and her twins from this year are doing fine. #210 is the young billy (his horns are much stouter than his sister’s), and #310 is the young doe. They started out a bit shy, like all the other kids, but soon became more outgoing just like their mother and her twins from last year. The twins spend most of their time together yet never very far from their mother.
G-man, my buddy, is one of #230’s twins from 2009. He survived last year’s hypothermia adventure (read about it elsewhere on the blog) and is the most outgoing ambassador goat of the 2009 kids. He has a rakish twist to his right horn that stands out from the other goats.

Here is an Eastern Photo Point 55mm shot from July 20 (from Harriet Bald viewing west at Jane Bald with Round Bald in the background).

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