Saturday, May 18, 2013

family reunion

Yesterday was a boring day. We woke up early to go into the field and the sky looked dreadful. The rangers predicted rain and lots of it, and so did we. So we stayed in. Of course it got sunny by 8am and would have been just fine to go out, but it was too late. So we stayed in and worked on data entry and twiddled our thumbs. Of course by 8am it was sunny again and it never rained, so we stayed in for nothing, but it was too late by then.

So, Saturday morning I had the option of staying in because of the weekend, or going out to set ropes with Julie. Of course I chose the latter option since I spent two days out of the field and was itching to be back. We went out on the N6 trail to set ropes between E and N. After finding a suitable tree, we were just about to start throwing the rope when of course, only because we weren't trying to find them, the gibbons found us. It was the N group, and we were thankful because Julie had been worried that they rarely use this side of their territory which would make doing the playback difficult. So Julie had me follow them to document their route on my GPS. After about a hour, unfortunately I'd lost the group except for the juvenile, who also appeared lost. Eventually the juvenile began to make soft hoos which eventually escalated into louder whines which I interpreted as lost calls, but who can really say. As I was following the juvenile, I stood looking up for a few minutes, eventually I looked down and not three feet to my right was a bright green pit viper. My heart was pounding and I slowly stepped back to a safe distance. Then, of course I snapped a few pictures before marking the spot on my GPS to be sure to avoid it. When I moved away I saw a black male in the E territory. I didn't know if I'd found the rest of the N group of if this was the E group's male. Just then I heard Julie's call that she was done and back on the trail. When I met her we realized we were right beneath the N group again who were completely inside of the E territory. Since this behavior was a bit odd, she had me stay with them while she set another rope. After another moment I realized rather than just the two black adult males of group N (Nithat and Claude) was a third hanging around in the large tree they all occupied. I shouted this message to Julie, and she guessed that it was Noi, the male of the E group and Nithat and Claude's brother and son respectively. So I smiled as I watched this family reunion of sorts. They took turns grooming and swinging around the big tree together, though I don't think anyone groomed Noi and vice versa. Eventually N moved back toward their own territory, leaving Noi, and surprisingly, the juvenile behind. Julie says she has seen the juvenile spend some time with the E group rather than its own family.

We headed back to the search and rescue center because Julie had set the second rope on the first try. when we got there it was only 10am so, although hungry I waited until about 11:30 to make lunch. It was a feast. First I cooked two scrambled eggs in the rice cooker. Then I set them aside and made some rice with snap peas. When everything was done I mixed it all together, it was sort of like fried rice, but not fried. Still delicious, and a huge portion. At around two I laid down for a nap. I was woken up by a Skype call from Nathan (a very late night for him) but we were cut off after about 4 minutes because, of course, the power went out. It had started storming during my nap, and we had predicted this and had showered and washed our clothes as quickly as possible this morning, because, when the power goes out here so does the water.

Julie and I say outside watching the rangers play soccer in the field. It was a particularly interesting game because the goalie was incredibly drunk and the three others took turns kicking the ball at him. He fell several times, once taking the net down with him and was trapped beneath it until they came to his rescue. I actually laughed out loud at this, which is something that doesn't happen enough here. Then, the gate keeper, who had previously been taking in a very slurred, drunk voice to Julie and I, and was absolutely reeking of vodka, decided to join in as a defense man. This doubled the hilariousness of the spectacle and Julie and I watched until they got tired of playing and staggered off leaving the sober ones to play a real game.

Around 7:30 the power game back on, so I came inside to type this up, but then of course it went back out before I could finish. So I went back outside in the dark and listened to Julie play guitar for a while before eventually retreating to bed.

 pit viper
 family time!
 giant squirrel (for you mom)
finally got a picture of a macaque
The skink from Tuesday

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