Khao Yai said goodbye to me with a beautiful sunrise this morning
This morning we went to try to get a recording of the leopard alarm call for the W group, because Julie does not have the recording of this group yet and we need it for our playback experiments. The W group is very habituated because their territory lies in the middle of the tourist trail. This made for a fun day in the field. Plus the W territory is in the same area as the S territory, so the forest is similar. It has a very wild jungle-y feeling to it that I like very much. It rained a lot the night before so it was wet and the leeches and mosquitoes were out in full force. The W group also had an interesting story. There are 5 in the group, an adult male and female, and infant, a juvenile and an 8 year old subadult who has not yet dispersed. The two older offspring do not belong to Sari the female, but instead to Wotan's previous mate who died. So Sari is like their "stepmother", Julie thinks this is why the 8 year old male has not yet dispersed. He doesn't need to take the risk and can just stay and be the secondary male in his father's group.
There were a ton of spiky palm plants in this territory, so Julie made good use of her machete. There is also a pond/swamp area, so the ground was a bit muddy in some places and it made me wish I'd worn my rubber boots instead of my hiking boots.
Evil palm plants that stab you.
There were some rapids in the river near the overlap of the W and S territories, which made me sad I am missing Raftoid again this year.
W let us know where they were by singing, and we followed them hoping they'd go somewhere convenient for us to place the leopard. Of course they didn't, but they entertained us with their branch swinging and running on two legs across a large branch. this hilarious because they normally brachiate so on two feet they are totally out of their element and just swing their arms wildly for balance. They aren't afraid of getting close so I got some good pictures (it is still hard because they move so fast!). We also saw an big eagle in their territory. It swooped over them a few times, perhaps thinking about hunting them. Once when this happened they all dropped down much lower into the canopy, indicating they might have seen it as a threat. I also saw my first hornbill after hearing their loud squawks for a week!
Sari and infant
zoomed way in on the eagle
We were unable to do the leopard recording because they gibbons were close to a house and the road which meant too much noise for a good recording. We left at about 11am and returned to the rescuse center to pack up for Bangkok. We made a little lunch, the drove to the entrance of the park, then took the shuttle bus to the bus station in Pak Chong where we waited for the bus to Bangkok, which took about 2.5 hours. Once in Bangkok Julie and I took a taxi to our hotel in Sukhumvit. It is a beautiful hotel! I have pictures on my phone, but not on the computer. It also only about $26 for the night for a room with AC and free wifi! there is also a pool but I decided to skip it. Julie and I went to the big market kitty-corner to the hotel where you could buy just about anything from clothes, to DVDs, to food and alcohol. We walked by all the food stands once and then separated and picked out what we wanted. I got some rice, some sweet sausage and something I wasn't sure about but looked good; I think it was minced pork in yellow curry with lemongrass, it was very good but VERY spicy. Julie bought me an excellent orange juice that comes from tiny citrus fruits that are green on the outside and orange on the inside and tastes like tangerines or clementines. We ate and then Julie ordered us some beers from the bar. There was a live band that started playing while we were eating, we were right next to the speakers, so it was loud, but a very cool atmosphere! Then we went back to the hotel and chatted for a while before bed, Julie told me all about what she has studied the past several years; everything from pythons to horses to birds to gibbons!