Wednesday, 20 July 2016

19 July

Finally, todays attempt of getting the pitfall traps out was successful. We have two buckets per location with tarp in between them at three different locations. Finding the right spot and digging them in still was a slight challenge as the ground is full with roots and rocks and it also has to be fairly flat. We first wanted to get one trap set up around the water system transect, but we just could not find a flat enough spot that was not covered in roots and big rocks. Now we will check the traps every morning so any trapped animal doesn’t stay in the bucket for too long. Then it was time to ID the two frogs from last night. They were both litter frogs again. Emma, one of the internship trainees is really interested in our frog project so she helped us with the IDing today. Only the frog she handled was the jumpiest we have had so far! Within no-time he managed to escape and jumped around the classroom like a maniac, hiding under the sofa and heading straight for the door, which we luckily closed before handling them. These little guys always keep you focussed. Not only was he difficult to handle, also identifying him to the right species was a challenge. There are two main types of litter frogs in this area, but it seems that once in a while you also find a hybrid between these two species. So some of this frog’s characteristics fit with underwoodi whereas others made this frog look more like the podificerus we had earlier. 
On our way to our evening transects Louise suddenly saw some eyes crossing the path. The rest did not believe her and said it must have been a firefly. But when we reached that point we saw an opossum climbing up the tree! Of all evenings, of course today we did not bring a proper camera (sorry for the somewhat blurry photos). Halfway up it just stopped and posed for us. It was great to see it this close. While watching the opossum we heard a screeching sound from an owl. And there it was, 20 metres further along the path. He was hunting and again we could just watch him from a very short distance. You would almost think it was a tame owl! Later on one of the transects he came to visit us again. Maybe he liked it that we were disturbing everything on the ground. In the end we spotted just three frogs and only managed to catch one. In the rainy season the river transect just doesn’t attract as many frogs anymore as in the dry season.

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