Wood mouse friend and the death of my macro lens

Can you spot him hiding in the nettles? This guy was checking me out while I was sampling in the field the other day! Always fun to see urban wildlife. He gradually got so comfortable with me that he ended up sitting right next to my foot, munching on seeds while I was sampling. But […]

Times when I regret not having my camera

One of the disadvantages of doing my field work by bicycle is that there’s a limit to how much equipment I can carry. With all of my sampling equipment, my pack is heavy enough and full enough that I usually can’t bring my camera. But sometimes I see cool things in the field and then […]

Random thoughts and photos during field work

I keep having this dream lately where I’m under water and I swim up to the surface to get air. When I get above the surface, there’s a rocky outcropping nearby and there are big, choppy waves. Every single time, I think “this is the ocean, it should taste salty, but it tastes fresh…I must […]

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow, by Robert Duncan

Currently up to my armpits in mud (ah field work in freezing spring rains), and desperately trying to be clean enough to interact with normal humans, so here’s a poem for now. Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow as if it were a scene made-up by the mind, that is not mine, […]

You know you’re a field biologist when…

Yesterday, I was doing pollinator observations on my plants in the field. There was zero percent chance of rain in the forecast and it was supposed to be sunny all day (perfect pollinator weather), but this is Ireland, so of course it rained a few times. As I can’t observe pollinators when it’s raining, I […]


You’re such a derbid. That’s not actually an insult, but it so sounds like it could be, right? I love it. A grad student in the last lab I worked in introduced me to this cool family of insects, the Derbidae, and I think the name is hilarious (because I’m six years old, apparently). That […]