Hey everyone, my name is Maxwell Plichta. This is my second year working on the pika team but my first blog post of the summer. The start of the season has been great, and I can already tell we have a great team. Earlier this week, I spent my first night of the season in the Tundra Lab. The Tundra Lab is a research facility that sits on Niwot Ridge at 11600 ft! Every time I spend a night at the lab, I see something new and incredible. Last year I saw my first elk, then my first sphinx moth, but this time I saw the most beautiful sunset. I’ve included a picture below. I spent the night at the lab so that I could stay up late and wake up early to observe pikas!
Typically at dawn and dusk the pikas are super active and very fun to watch. This particular morning I woke up and observed a very curious pika who came right up to me and began nibbling on my pants. The pika also tried stealing my Camelbak to snack on later; I’d say it was a little large for him. Although the curiosity of the pika was not very good for data collection, he was very fun to observe. As a researcher I want to observe the pikas doing their natural routine when I interfere with this routine it can bias the data. In order to ensure good data, I need to make sure I am plenty far away so that I don’t attract too much pika attention. I cannot wait to spend another night in the Tundra Lab–stay tuned for that story! You can also follow me and the rest of the 2015 University of Colorado pika crew on twitter @pikaresearch #teampika15.