Mishaps in the Millwood

Monday was Lisa’s first field dig of the week. It was a warm and beautiful day with just enough wind to make it refreshing. A young group of girls found 3 fossils while another group of girls found 2. Unfortunately they were only fragments and therefore unidentifiable, but it was cool nevertheless. The boys were more interested in surveying the area for their finds. They had fun; it was a great day.
This group found tons of stuff!
Wednesday Matt and I had a great tour. We spent the morning in the museum and then popped out to the field in the afternoon after a relaxing lunch in the park. It was a great day, slightly windy, but still warm. We weren’t there more than half an hour and fossils started popping up like daisies! Matt and I were busily running around like gophers confirming fossils, snapping pictures, writing notes and taking names. Our students were great palaeontologists: one group found approximately 7 fossils in one little area and were still making discoveries as we left the site. Needless to say, they didn’t want to leave!

The students were great at getting together in groups and excavating their areas. Mostly they found mosasaur vertebrae; one was squished. Some of the fossils were unidentifiable because they were typical Pembina preservation (typically not great!).

Matt's shoe after he pulled it out.
We took the bus back to the highway and turned to go back to the dig site. Along our way we saw a large blue bird just chilling in the ditch, looking rather regal. We debated over whether it was a stork or a heron (turns out it was a heron) and stopped to take some pictures. Well, the heron was shy and flew off gracefully while I ran clumsily behind like a loping zebra with my camera trying to take a picture. I got one, but it was after a lot of zooming and is slightly shaky!

After that Matt and I decided to head to one of our research sites after we had examined some curious outcrops of Millwood shale. Unfortunately for us, Millwood loves water and it loves to retain moisture. I was fortunate enough to scramble safely to the top of the outcrop and examine some of the exposed layers. Matt, however, was not so privileged. The tricky Millwood appeared dry on the crust, but underneath lurked a slippery, goopy quicksand mixture just anxious for someone to step in and sink. Matt just happened to be that “someone.” He took one step and sank up to his knee in the devious Millwood. After some struggling (and many pictures on my part!) he pulled his muddy foot from the shale victoriously and we decided to head to the research site before we had any more mishaps. The rest of the day passed without a hitch as we excavated part of a mosasaur and found a cornucopia of tiny fish teeth. It was a great end to an interesting day!

On the way to one of the dig sites, we saw a painted turtle on the road clambering along. So Matt and Anita graciously decided to move the poor little guy to the side of a pond. Not long after, we walked back to the vehicle and lo and behold! The turtle was now barreling down the road at top speed and into the grass away from the pond. We were certain he just wanted a ride to the CFDC. Needless to say, we didn’t give him one.