Saturday, 6 August 2016

5 August

It has been a bit quiet on our blog over the last few days. On the 3rd of August we left basecamp to walk up Mount Skutch to our camping place. With 8 people in total and our big bags packed with equipment we set off at 5am. After a steep climb it took us 3 to 4 hours to reach camp. The site is set in the middle of the old growth forest on a massive rock which makes it possible to find a flat spot for our tent. We have a 4 person tent which exactly fits our team. It can get quite chilly outside as we are now at 2300m but at night we were all boiling in our tent. Outside we have made a V-shaped roof with plastic under which we can sit and cook but also to collect water with. You only have to find the right spot where most of the water drips down, place a bucket with a mesh cover over it and wait for 10 minutes to let the rain fill it up. As we are so high up the mountain the closest river is about an hour’s walk, so we really need a good rain shower to get enough drinking water. After everything was set up, Matt, Frank, Jen and Oscar left us and went back to basecamp. For the next two nights it was just the 4 of us. The plan was to go out on two night surveys and one day survey, but unfortunately the first night the rain kept us from going out. The next day we first started cutting a new transect. Normally we would use red tape to mark every 25m on the transect, but as we couldn’t find it we had to improvise. Instead we took some cutlery and marked the transect with knives and spoons. Luckily this worked and we could find out way through the forest at night by following the shiny objects. On our day transect in the afternoon we found a good 5 frogs, a lot more than we would find during the day at basecamp. In the evening we walked another two transects. It seemed like all the frogs were in ‘hotspots’ and Louise was really feeling it tonight. She managed to spot 9 out of 11 frogs! Identifying them the next day was a big challenge again. Most of the frogs were around 20mm and we had to distinguish them by looking at things like ‘hand tubercles’. Alex took photos of all of them with which we should hopefully be able to ID them again later. Back at basecamp we will discuss all the frogs with Jen again to make sure we have the correct ID for each individual.

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