The Battle of the Bird


(Around a great rock in the intertidal comes Amanda, leading the Interns. A wall of flame whirls behind them.)

Amanda: “Over the Ascophyllum! Fly!”

(The interns flee. Amanda does not follow, but turns looking into the wall of fire.)

(A great form of black shadow leaps through the flames, its eyes of white fire, great ash-black beak curling around a bull-like head.)

(It opens its maw, rippling heat pouring out with a rumble. Amanda turns, running after the Interns. A great, black cloven foot stomps down through the rock, bursting into flame. A narrow bridge of stone appears in the fiery light, and the Interns cross the transect line. Amanda turns to face the bird.)

DSCN2529Amanda: “You shall not pass!”

Jonah: “Amanda!”

Amanda: “I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor…”

Amanda: “The dark fire will not avail you! Flame of Udûn!”

(The bird strikes down on Amanda, who parries the blow with her meter tape, shattering the bird’s attack. Glowing embers run off the circle of light around the intern. The monster bellows at the intern. Jonah gasps. Laura runs forward.)

Amanda: (clenching her teeth) “Go back to the Shadow!”

(The bird swoops down for another attack.)

(Amanda raises her meter tape higher into the air.)

Amanda: “You — shall not — pass!”

(The bird screeches a ear splitting roar and dives, but Amanda’s efforts frightens the beast back to the crevasse from which it emerged)

(Photos by Catalina Burch)

Script adapted from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Things that Catalina thinks about while in the field


(Photograph by Kathy Ann Miller)

You know, I bet this would be great job experience for becoming a hair stylist…

“So what’s your experience miss?”

Oh I can spot a bolt from underneath a tangle of Ascophyllum without even disturbing a single snail.

“Oh, then I’m guessing that you work exclusively with long hair.”

Definitely not. I like to mix it up, if I spend too much time in the Asco zone it can become a bit monotonous. So I have also worked extensively within crispy Chondrus, to wiry Rhyzoclonium, to angular Semibalanus. 

“What’s your favorite style to work with?”

I love thick layering, it really gives a lot of unexpected texture. Most people assume that 100 percent is the top out for canopy cover, but if you layer it you can get amazing results. How else could you have 100 percent Asco canopy, 70 percent Vertebrata, and still have room for 30 percent Masto?

“Have you worked with color at all?

I’ve seen some really great techniques for getting a natural ombre look. You can find great example just looking at the red zone. The sun can get that really great gradual transition between red and green pigments.

“You seem like a prefect fit, you’re hired!”

You know what I think that I’ve changed my mind. My experience is much more well suited for joining a troop of monkeys and picking parasites out of hair.

The Tide’s Still Going Out

(An adaption of Sesame Street’s song: The Song of the Count)

We find the bolt and start to Count

Working in teams to help us count

I sit here and count all day

Hopefully I’m not washed away

I count slowly, slowly, when I start this quadrant

Once I’ve started counting it’s really hard to stop, Hey!

Faster, faster. It is so exciting!

I could count forever, count until I drop

1! 2! 3! 4!

1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4

1-2, I love counting whatever the amount haha!

1-2-3-4, heyyayayay heyayayay 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4

The tide’s still going out!

I count the crabs and get clawed…

I count the snails in the quad…

I count the rat brain on the kelp…

Ask Kathy Ann and yell for help!

I count slowly, slowly, when I start this quadrant

Once I’ve started counting it’s really hard to stop. Hey!

Faster, faster. It is so exciting!

I could count forever, count until I drop

1! 2! 3! 4!

1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4

1-2, I love counting whatever the amount! Hey!

1-2-3-4. heyayayay heyayaya 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4,

The tide’s still going out!

-Catalina Burch

Here is the link to the original song if you want to sing along.