Well, last night’s hellbender survey was a total bust. We searched for an hour and a half and didn’t see a thing, except for some really big trout that were totally freaked out by my insanely bright submersible flashlight. I could hear their little fishy brains saying “Oh no, the sun is falling! Scared-scared-scared!!! Swim-swim-swim!” It was pretty cool snorkeling at midnight (though it didn’t seem as cool this morning when I rolled out of bed at 6:30am and put on a damp wetsuit).
JD joined up with us this morning and kicked the hellbender crew into high gear. Before the day was over, we had caught 6 hellbenders and sighted another 2! (“Sighted” is the scientific way of saying we accidentally let them get away.) It was nuts! Every time Brad came back from processing a blood sample we had another hellbender that we were working up. We even found an itsy bitsy guy that looked like he wasn’t even 2 years old. I was in heaven.