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Las Tablas de Daimiel/ My first field trip in College

This past Wednesday I took my first steps to entering the real world: I took a field trip while in college! Okay maybe not so helpful for my future, but it was a lot of fun.  It was for my Zoology class and we went to visit Las Tablas de Daimiel.  Las Tablas are basically three connected aquifers that provide a wetland habitat for a large number of birds.  They are currently endangered due to the increase in farming and the water usage is damaging the Tablas to extinction.  That being said, it rained the day before we went and a little during so Las Tablas were filled to the brim with water.  My Professor said “This is the most full the Tablas have been in a number of year” and our bus driver said “This is most full I’ve ever seen them.”

Other than feeling like I was back in 5 grade learning about the ecosystem, our group was really unique.  I’m pretty sure the class is full, but our professor sends all his powerpoints through e-mail so none of the Spanish students come.  On a daily basis the classroom is filled with 5 of the 6 american students (me included of course),  3 Erasmus or European exchange students all from France in this case, older Spanish students (adult education thing), and 2-4 spaniards.  Our field trip included all but one of the Americans, the 3 French, 1 adult student and two spaniards.  We got to know every one really well and even went for drinks after we returned.

Our bus left at 8:30 in the morning and returned around 7 p.m.  Most of the day was actually spent driving, but it was okay because we had a smaller bus called Chaos that let everyone have two seats to themselves.  The most exciting part of the trip was when my professor proceeded to find a trail through a fenced off area that let us trespass onto the dam that controls water levels.  I knew it was going to be a good day!  The wetlands looked a lot like Lord of the Rings landscape and if I may be nerdy:  Specifically the scene in The Fellowship of the Ring when the hobbits and Aragon are walking through the marshes to get to Weathertop or again in The Two Towers with Frodo, Sam and Gollum wandering in the dead marshes.  I had a friend with me and we ‘nerded’ out for a little bit as we walked the wooden walkways.  See what you think!  Compare my pictures to these clips from the movies!

Photos:[nggallery id=13]

Videos:  Maybe this one without the dead things :)- Here

I digress.  The weather was really windy, cold and a little rainy, but nothing could dampen our moods as we hiked the paths across the wet lands and reveled in the variety of ducks found in the area.  That is until I realized I forgot to bring my lunch and that were no restaurants in sight.  I mutched off of people and we ate lunch in the bus out of the wind.  We then we to a duck sanctuary where the endangered ducks are housed in the Park.

We left from the park and went about driving though who knows where?  We arrived in a rundown park with observation spots onto a wonder very large retention pond.  I’m sure it was something important, but is looked more like a very large retention pond.  The highlight here: A FLOCK OF FLAMENCOS!!  It was pretty chilly and I look out on golden pond to see pink birdies flying, bathing, and freezing in the wind.  I was actually quite surprised as I hadn’t expected to see any Florida-like birds.  Spain gets 10 points for surprising Grant!

Long story short-ish.  My first field trip in college was a huge success!  Excitement was lacking, but hey we can’t win them all.   Have a great weekend USA and we’ll talk soon!

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