Sunday, May 30, 2010
Soundtracks and Comebacks
The Malaise trap was successful! Relatively speaking. The setup survived the first night of trapping and yielded almost twenty insects, mostly moths, which are active at night. We'll see what else turns up after the next few nights as I collect from site to site. I attached a picture of the setup so you can see what it looks like. Essentially, it is a tent that fools insects into flying upwards until they are trapped in a plastic container. The other photo shows the bat detector setup. A tupperware container, modified by Seth, last summer's bat REUer, houses the recorder and bat detector. This contraption is strapped at an angle on top of a two-meter ladder so that it may get a good "view" of the site. How both are able to survive in the bush while foraging elephants, curious baboons, impala herds, etc. abound is beyond me.
That being said, the Pettersson D 240x bat detector is giving me some real grief. From what I understand, the trigger is supposed to be set to automatic so that the device only records when echolocation is detected. I know it is capable of detecting the calls, because I can see and hear them using the Bat Sound Pro program. But, after sifting through the last three and a half hours of recordings, I believe the auto function is malfunctioning. So, tonight I set it to manual, where it is constantly recording. Tomorrow we shall see if it works out in my favor. Until then, I keep the attitude optimistic.
Speaking of tonight, I experienced my first legitimate leopard sighting about an hour ago after we had finished re-baiting Ryan's Sherman traps. Site 5 was the final of eight sites, as well as the location of tonight's bat recording and insect trapping. On the drive back to camp, while passing Site 7, a male leopard crosses the road. With a silent and graceful gait, he stalks through the bush, seeking tonight's meal. The leopard pauses for a moment, turning back to examine us, and then continues his course. Breathtaking.
By the way, I suggest that you all check out the group Goldfish. They are a South African duo from Cape Town. I don't know why they haven't hit it big in the States, but I feel as if they could be popular back home. Their track "Fort Knox" is featured in a car commercial...I think. I'm not much for electronic music, but their stuff is the perfect blend of catchy and classy. Goldfish actually samples live instruments that they play themselves, so it's not just a mixing board creating all the tunes, but real musicians. Some of my preferred tracks are "Soundtracks and Comebacks" (sick bass line - my favorite), "Wet Welly" (close second), "This Is How It Goes" (I believe this is the song that made them famous in South Africa), "Hold Tight" (our REU theme song), and "Egyptology". It's been a running joke for everyone to be out in the field, sweating profusely and collecting data, only to hear "Hold Tight" begin to blare out of Jay's iPod. Our ensuing laughter breaks the stress instantly. Goldfish is not for everybody, but sometimes it's good to step out of your normal boundaries and experience something new.
That's all folks.