Then, Monday (HAPPY EARTH DAY!). We went into the field early, found the N group very early and thought we would be lucky enough to do another python trial...but no. At about 7:30 the gibbons saw something, we can;t be sure what, but it upset them. They made disturbed/alarm calls for the next hour. the female was so upset she came over and peed and almost pooped on us. GREAT. We couldn't move because we were recording and the noise would ruin it. Although I have to say being peed on by a primate for the first time did feel like some sort of rite of passage. Anyway, because the gibbons had already been upset by something natural, it wouldn't be right to scare them again with the fake python. So, with nothing else to do in the forest that day, we left by 8:30. We were met by some Thai tourists on our way out who seemed surprised to see two white women walking out alone all dressed up in field clothes and equipment. So they took pictures of us. The Thai tourists are generally scared of the forest and just stand on the outskirts hoping to see something from there rather than venturing on any of the tourist trails, so we were probably the first animals they'd seen. I came home, showered, ate a PB&J and then decided to take a nap. When I woke up the power was out from thunderstorms, which also means no water. So we were pretty much left doing nothing for the entire day. It was actually a nice day because the storms weren't over us, so Julie and I sat outside on the porch and chatted for a few hours before retreating to our rooms with candles. There was something peaceful about sitting and reading by candle light, but I was certainly happy when I woke up the next morning to the power restored.
Today was a good day. Julie and I went to try to do the python with the S group. Of course they didn't sing for us even though we got there very early, so we walked all around looking. Finally at 8:00 who spotted the gibbons? Yours truly. Yep, it was a proud moment, and Julie congratulated me on my first time finding them before her. They were on the other side of the river, so we found a good place to cross and had to backtrack to find them again. After following them and doing the scan for an hour they were in a perfect position for us to set up the python. Unfortunately they barely reacted. The female gave a few "hoo"s and stared at it for a good ten minutes, the male kept eating and the juvenile kept playing. Then the female moved off, and although they did scan the ground quite a bit, their behavior wasn't very affected. Julie says that this group gets a lot of tourist traffic, so they might be generally less cautious because of that. We had about 15 minutes left in the scan when they crossed back to the other side of the river in a spot where we definitely couldn't follow, so we had to end the scan early. When we returned to where we had crossed in the first place, the river had risen and inch or two and it was quite a bit more difficult to cross. We ended up putting a log down and using a big bamboo stalk as a walking stick to stabilize us as we crossed. Although the river made things difficult, I really liked this part of the forest. The canopy was pretty easy to see in most places, but it had a very jungle-y feel to it with lots of palm plants, and the river crossing made me feel adventurous.
Anyway, this is a pretty boring post. The gibbons were perfectly photogenic today and very low in the canopy, but of course I didn't bring my camera because the forecast didn't look good. So, no pictures from the last few days. But here, by Nancy's request, is me all dressed up for the field:
Its hard to see but things are labeled going clockwise:
1) backpack (from Nathan!) 2) thin loose long sleeve shirt to keep bugs off 3) awesome Nikon binoculars 4) watch! 5) comfiest field pants 6) leech socks doused in 100% deet 7) awesome waterproof hiking boots 8) GPS 9) hydration system for backpack 10) makeshift curtain/wall for my "room" haha.
Tomorrow morning will be our last time in the field for two weeks, so hopefully the sky dumped all its tain on us this afternoon and won't have any left tomorrow morning. I am headed back to Bangkok for the next two weeks while Julie's family visits her, so I will be hanging out with Chollada's family some more (hopefully they don't get sick of me) and perhaps visiting a beach too! Then we will really get into starting our playback experiments and I will hopefully by then have learned how to collect good data and contribute to the project a bit more!