This morning starts off with my roommate, Megan, jumping out of bed – we had accidentally slept in and were late for breakfast. Once we actually made it to the main lodge, we had a good breakfast and much needed coffee. Our first lesson of the morning was on the back deck that overlooks a beautiful view of the reserve. Dr. Dan Parker had set up a songmeter last night and was teaching us how to read the data. This equipment is used to record the echolocation of bats, once triggered by a sound over 20 kHz it records the sound for a maximum of 5 seconds. We then can analyze the results on the computer software. This is a really neat device that has a range of 50 meters. When we did analyze the output we could only find a recording for one bat call. There was a lot of noise from the kitchen last night, and lead to a number a lot of false recordings. The bat we did identify was a Cape Serotin, that has an echolocation of 40kHz, they have a modified echofrequency that resembles a hockey stick. On of the students may complete their research project on bats, which would be a lot of work, but an interesting topic since we have few bats left in the maritimes.
Our second lecture of the day was by Dr. Parker, was on the topic of our research project designs. He went through the scientific processes and what kind of statistical analysis we may select from. I am planning to do my project on amphibians and reptiles, since I am very passionate on them. I can’t pass up the opportunity to learn more about these African species.
Nikki set up her project today, which will be focused on camera trapping along animal highways. So we all took part in testing and setting out the trail cameras. For those who may not know, camera traps consist of these little camouflaged cameras with a white flash and an infrared beam. When the beam is broken by a passing animal the camera will take a picture, this is a great way to count nocturnal animals. We spend most of the day completing this task, seeing multiple species along the way.
Dazzels of zebra, sounder of warthog, congregation of baboons, herds of eland, kudu, blesbok, red hartebeest, black wildebeest and numerous species of plants & birds. Some students even stopped to pick up dung, for their research projects (namely David & Megan) this is called being on poop patrol.
Once we got back to camp in the late afternoon we got a hands on lesson on how to set up Sherman live traps to examine the diversity of small mammals for Ashley’s project. We will be up extra early tomorrow to identify and release any small mammals caught.