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Published: April 15th 2020
I was down to cook lunch on Sunday but there was so much food left over after the Braai I had a very easy job! I did help Remi make veggie tempura for supper which we deep fried once in the afternoon then re-fried after the evening’s survey. As it was Remi’s last night and she wanted to fit in a last bat survey we headed out to the banana plantation and set up some harp traps and mist nets, as well as a light trap to see what insects are flying. We also spent a bit of time investigating banana leaves looking for the banana pipistrelle (Neoromicia nana) but sadly with no success. Just as we’d set everything up there were some flashes of lightning getting closer across a very ominous looking sky so we hurriedly packed down whilst seeing lots of bats and nightjars flying low over the plantation. Back at camp we enjoyed the tempura and watched some of The Mighty Boosh.
Due to the judges’ decision on the presidential election results being due on Monday there were road blocks planned so Remi was picked up very early to ensure she got through ok. In
the end they decided that the election would need to be rerun. I spent Monday morning doing some research into what insects are major pests on bananas and the afternoon identifying the few beetle we managed to catch in the trap last night before the hurried pack up.
Tuesday morning I joined Tom on three roost visits, including one garden that had bat boxes up that the owner was keen to have checked. We found a single yellow-bellied house bat (Scotophilus dinganii
) hiding behind one of the boxes! In the afternoon I had another session on how to take wing puncture samples from bats. I also got to see a Nile monitor up close as there was one hanging around Brennan’s garden! It had a lot of scars and was behaving strangely not seeming to mind us being there. In the evening we returned to the banana plantation setting up the traps in the exact same places. Sadly a lot less activity, both of bats and nightjars; I wonder if the pressure before the storm had kept everything low on Sunday. We did catch two new species or me though, the bright orange rufous mouse-eared bat (Myotis bocagii
another Rhinolophus species (possibly R. deckenii). We also got a pregnant fruit bat Epomophorus labiatus
& 3 more juvenile E. labiatus
. I also got to hold the Rhinolophus for Tom to take a wing puncture sample which was very useful.
I spent Wednesday morning re-stringing one of the harp traps that was in pretty poor condition. Whilst this sound dull it’s a very useful skill and one I was keen to learn and practice. Esther then supervised me cooking nsema to accompany the stir fry I had made – it didn’t turn out too badly if I do say so myself! Now to find nsema flour back in the UK...
I spent the afternoon packing before we went out on an emergence survey. Then because it was my last night we went out to the Ethiopian restaurant then on to Number 10 where I learn just how bad at darts I am when I’m tired! Despite the night out everyone managed to get up in time to see me off in the morning. Sad to be leaving such a great place but looking forwards to my next adventure in Kenya….
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