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miércoles, 25 de mayo de 2011

Birds, Bitches and Rattlesnake penises!

I can’t believe that it has only been a few weeks since my last blog update – so much has happened I’m not sure where to start!

Let’s start with people. We have had two new volunteers and a new member of staff join us over the last week or so. Dafna from Israel and Pete from the UK stayed with us for about a week (far too short I must say ;O) and so because they were here for such a short amount of time we thought it would be a great excuse to cram in as much as possible. In that week we managed to: go mist netting for birds - twice, lay out a new grid and start a smammal survey in the Atlantic forest, dig in a pit fall trap line, carry out a habitat survey, go bird walking and check the reptile cover boards at the top of the cerrado. And somehow they still had the time and energy to go kayaking, for walks in the forest and have a few drinks at the end of the day! I have to say I think the mist netting was the highlight for everyone. It certainly was for me as it is not something I had done for birds before and we caught a gilded humming bird which absolutely made my day!

Pier is our new member of staff and will be with us for 10 days a month to look after our museum and make sure all of our specimens are stored, labelled and logged correctly. And luckily for me he is also an expert on snakes so I plan to learn lots from him. He has already shown me how to extract the hemipenis of a rattlesnake – which was not something I expected to see when I woke up this morning!

One of the jobs that has been preoccupying my evenings lately, has been looking after my caterpillars. Since my last post we found a group of 59 caterpillars on a tree and decided to bring them in and look after them to document this stage in their life cycle and see if we can get them to hatch. They are incredibly delicate and there is a whole list of things that they don’t like; they need to be kept in a sheltered place away from the cold, the wind, direct sunlight, artificial light and obviously any kind of pesticides. They also need to be disturbed as little as possible but at the same time they can also be really easily poisoned by their own poo so cleaning them out has been somewhat challenging! However I am delighted to be able to report that they have started pupating! This does however mean that they are now at the really really delicate stage and so as you can imagine I am a nervous wreck. I’m pacing the room, wringing my hands and sweating like an expectant father not knowing where to put myself. I hope to bring you good news of the happy arrivals in my next blog.

Well I thinks that’s all for now. Oh yea you are probably wondering where the bitches came into it… the dog has been in season!

Chau for nowwwww

Helen

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