Friday, May 31, 2013

rainy season

Well it looks like the rainy season is really starting to get underway. We were lucky enough to have not one, but two power outages since I last posted!

On Wednesday we did the Python experiment with W (finally!). It was especially fun to watch W today because the infant was starting to become independent. He was off mom for a good amount of their stationary time. Swinging from branches, scrambling around, playing with Wotan (dad). At one point, when Sari (mom) left the tree Wotan was in and took the infant with her, he hurried back as soon as she stopped to continue playing with his dad. That sure was cute. Gibbons are pretty good fathers, males tend to play with the juveniles more than the females, as far as I can tell. Maybe the females figure if they have to lug around the baby all day, then dad should have to play with it. We were just finishing up when it started to look like a storm was rolling in. It started off sunny, then it was a bit windy, then came thunder (still sunny), then finally the clouds rolled in. It started sprinkling just as we got back to the car and we showered and did laundry as fast as we could expecting a big storm. Well that didn't happen. It never happens when you're expecting it.

Thursday was another day off since Julie had to go report that she was still in the country (something you ahve to do every 90 days) to the immigration office in Bangkok. I woke up and Skyped my parents, and sadly heard of the Wing's loss to Chicago. No more playoff hockey for my poor old dad. After that I had some coffee, instant of course. The coffee gave me an incredible burst of energy and put me in an excellent mood. I guess because I haven't had any in a few weeks? So I got busy with my laundry and cleaning my room. I started prepping for lunch; cutting up asparagus, rinsing my rice, etc., and literally as soon as the rice was in the rice cooker and I had pressed cook the power went out. THERE WASN'T EVEN A STORM!. Okay, there was some far off thunder and some clouds, but that's it. But it was enough to blow over a tree somewhere in the park onto the one pathetic electric line. The power was out for 9 hours. It was an incredibly boring day. When it got dark and I could no longer read I sat and watched far away lightning on the porch for almost an hour. Riveting stuff. Actually, it was nice. When I came in a bat came with me, so I had to open the door again and hope it would find its way out, it did. Not too long after I heard another noise. I went to the other side of my curtain wall, into the triage area of the search and rescue center and went to the source of the noise. There was a nice rat staring back at me from under some cabinets. So, at least I know my suspicions of something creeping around my desk and trash can at night were not just paranoia. It scurried away and I couldn't find it so I left it alone. Julie came home, and not too long after had her own run in with the rat. We worked together to try to chase it out the door. We may have been successful...Of course, at about 9, when it was time to go to sleep, the electricity came back on. I was so tempted to make some food, since all I'd eaten was PB&Js and yogurt for meals all day, but I just went to bed instead.

This morning we got up, despite an ominous forecast, and went to find the A group. We finally found them after much searching, and after listening to tons of OA duets. OA duets are really cool, but really loud. They're like a normal duet, except the interlude part is this really loud "oh-ah-oh-ah-oh-ah!" sound repeated over and over. It sounds sort of like a siren.

**Normal duet = introductory sequence (male + female), female great call, male reply, interlude(male + female), female great call, male reply, interlude, etc.

The cool thing about OA duets, besides their loudness, is that they are really contagious. Once one group sings an OA duet, all the other groups start. So, it was a loud morning, with lots of singing. We found A, and I finally got to meet Andromeda, (probably) the oldest gibbon in the Mo Singto study area. She's been the adult female in her territory since habituation began here in 1991. The A group was actually the first group habituated here. Julie says she is about 37-38 years old, which is ridiculous. I think a gibbon's life expectancy is about 30. She sure looks old, her wet fur from last night's rain didn't help her appearance. She's so old that she hasn't had a baby in years. Its just her and Chu; empty nesters. He is younger than she, and is certainly not helping his fitness by remaining with a barren old grandma. I wonder why he stays with her even though she can no longer improve his reproductive success. I guess they must have a very strong bond. We did our scan, which was easy (thanks for being old and slow moving!). We couldn't do the python experiment though, so we'll have to come back another day. Just as we were getting ready to leave, it started raining, and I mean RAINING. We made our way back as quick as we could, mostly staying on trails, slipping only a few times in the mud. We got laughed at by the people at the park restaurants when we emerged from the forest completely soaked. When we got back I learned that my dry bag indeed does work, and my pants are more waterproof than I thought because my notebook that was in my velcro pocket was dry! Of course when we got back we also learned the electricity had gone out again. The thunder and lightning was a bit scary. A few times the fluorescent bulbs in my room sparked and the switch wasn't even on so I'm not sure what that was about. Luckily power was back by 1:30 pm so I started our laundry and got my data entered into the computer. Tomorrow we aren't going into the field because the forecast looks bad, and because Julie wants to get her proposal done for her research here next year, and because its Saturday, which means tourists.

So here are some photos from today, none of the cute W baby from Wednesday because I forgot my SD card that day. Silly me.

 A vine in the shape of a heart!
 Chu grooming Andromeda
Andromeda looking ancient

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