Rutgers - Science Summer Abroad 2010
Nine Science Undergraduate Students Around the World

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bafana Bafana

Here is my schedule during a typical day.

6:00 – 6:59 AM: Wake up, brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, continue process of waking up
6:59 AM: climb into the GDV (game drive vehicle)
7:00 – 10:45 AM: check Ryan’s rodent traps from sites 1-8 and process captures, collect Malaise trap/bat recorder set the night before
10:45 AM – 12:30 PM: consolidation (refrigerate my trapped insects, edit 3+ hours of recordings into Bat Sound Pro-friendly 20 minute chunks, blog/email, go for a run)
12:30 PM: eat lunch
1:15 – 2:59 PM: consolidation (organize and pack my field equipment, listen to bat recordings using Bat Sound Pro, blog/email)
2:59 PM: climb back into the GDV
3:00 – 5:00 PM: rebait and reset Ryan’s traps from sites 1-8
5:00 – 5:15 PM: set up Malaise trap and bat recorder, then enjoy sundowners by the Sabie River
5:15 PM: press “record”
5:30 – 6:30 PM: pin refrigerated insects, shower
6:30 – 10:00 PM: eat dinner, socialize, relax
10:00 PM: pass out

Rinse and Repeat.

May not sound like much, but most of the time I feel as if I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

There is good news on the bat detector front – it works. When I tried manual mode the other night, my recordings came back flat-lined…not even a blip. So, the next night I tried auto again and it worked pretty well. I listened to 7 of the 9 twenty-minute clips and heard around 15 calls from 3-4 different species. This is very promising. The attached picture is of a typical bat call (they are species specific) as it should appear on Bat Sound Pro (Monadjem et al., 2009).

A game guard accompanies us every time we travel into the field. For the past few days we have been assigned a guard named Philip. From what I can gather, he is a rookie. He is young and his uniform is crisp: no lint balls on the sweater, no scuffs on the shoes, no dirt on the white SAN Parks logos. Either Philip prefers his uniform to be fresh-to-death all the time, or he is new on the job. That’s not to take away from his ability as a game guard - the man is thorough. I don’t doubt his abilities for a moment; after all, this is his home. In addition to the training he receives as a game guard, Philip already knows what to look out for and how to avoid dangerous situations as a result of growing up in this region.

Speaking of being in the field, I had a little incident yesterday. While rebaiting Ryan's traps at site 6, I walked face-first through an orb-web spider's web. Yeah, google it.

On a brighter note, yesterday I received my World Cup ticket to the June 20th match between Italy and New Zealand. Dax, one of the REU mentors, picked it up from the Nelspruit ticketing center while on a run into town. The ticket is pretty large and reminds me of a Willy Wonka golden ticket. And, just like Charlie, I beam with an ear-to-ear smile every time I lay my eyes on it.

1 comment:

  1. Matt, Your posts are great and your photos are stunning. Did you actually get that close to a hyena??
    Lily Young