Monday, July 8, 2013

Heo Suwat and other adventures this week

Well, I've been a slacker. Literally on my to do list every day this week has been "write in blog" and every day I have failed. I'm going to blame some of it on the exceptionally slow internet we've had the last few days, today has been much better. I also get to blame some of it on more productive activities (which feels better than saying I napped or read instead). This week I was busy preparing an application for another field position that would start in November. I am still waiting for a reply from a professor about an academic reference, but I am ready to turn in the application as soon as she responds! I just hope that I am one of the first to turn in my stuff, because applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis. I have also been busy doing my best to stay on track with my "apply to graduate school" timeline. I told myself emails need to be sent out to professors in July, so that its what I am starting to work on. It is very scary and intimidating to think about making a first contact with someone you idolize and someone whose first impression of you could change your life for the next several this is how I feel about that.

Anyway, last Wednesday was a good day because we were able to do the duet playback with W. Yay! Unfortunately that is where our luck ran out. The ranger didn't show up Thursday (because Yun is our only reliable ranger and he was busy). I wasn't too mad about this though, because we hadn't had a day off in a week, and it was the 4th of July! So I got my American holiday. We went to Tesco Lotus to celebrate, which meant I got to eat yummy, fresh food for dinner that night. Friday unfortunately we didn't have a ranger again, which I wasn't so pleased about. However, we made the best of it and decided to head out to see one of the park's waterfalls and to look for some pileated gibbons. Pileated gibbons are a different type of gibbon that live in a different area of the park, they have a drastically different duet, and a different coat pattern. They are also sexually dimorphic in coat color, so males are always black and females are always white. Something interesting is that there is a hybrid zone between the pileated and white-handed gibbons ranges, and the hybrid females apparently have a really weird sounding great call. It is also interesting that sometimes hybrid groups have multiple adult females, which never happens in normal groups, so they think it may be because they females do not recognize each other as competitors when their calls are so different from one another. Just some fun facts for you.

Before going to the waterfall we drove up a scary, pot-hole ridden road to a really high point in the park (>1100 m), and took some pictures from the view. The water fall, Heo Suwat, was pretty awesome in my opinion. Apparently it can be even bigger, later in the rainy season. We took pictures at the top, then I hiked down over 100 steps to the bottom to take some more photos before trudging back up. After that we took a little hike upstream from the falls in search of pileated gibbons or crocodiles. We found neither. We were lucky enough to find a big iguana, an huge monitor lizard, a troop of macaques crossing the river, and a TON of butterflies. So it was a successful day.

Some sort of weird display in the middle of the forest, that is a rack of clothes on the right, and the huge tree is wrapped in fabric. Probably something religious...
It was SO difficult to get butterfly pictures. Thank goodness for the "burst" setting that let me take 3 quick shots in a row (although this compromised quality).

 Heo Suwat

 upstream from the waterfall
Chinese water dragon

 big spider!
 upside down sign
 no crocodile sightings for us :(

Saturday we tested the barking deer alarm call recording we had on the W group. Unfortunately the recording had a log of background noise, The gibbons just stared in the direction of the speaker like "what the heck?" but didn't sing a predator song in response. there have been a lot of instances of them singing after hearing a barking deer alarm though, so we really want to test this with a playback. We are just going to have to get a better recording. Sunday, since we wouldn't have a ranger anyway, and the barking deer experiment wasn't ready yet, we decided to sleep in. This was fabulous because it had been over a week since we'd slept in, because even if we didn't go out some of those days, we still woke up at 5 only to find the ranger hadn't come.

Today we attempted a playback with R again, but we have come to the conclusion that the rainy season is a bad time for a playback with them. Evidently there are fruit trees on the other side of the river now, a part of their territory they barely used when I first arrived here. Now they cross every time we try to follow them, so we are going to work on a different group instead.

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