Uni ecology field trip

I missed doing the Motivational Monday post yesterday, oh no! I have been at, and am still at actually, a university field trip for the ecology topic I’m doing at the moment, and it has just been full on.¬†Good fun, but just so jam packed. I left home at 7:30am and wasn’t back till just after 9:00pm and was just too tired to do anything but shower and head to bed.

Yesterday we went looking for lizards and lizard scat, basically we wanted to see whether we could find any evidence to support the hypothesis that as lizards get older, the composition of their diet changes to be primarily herbivorous, rather than primarily insectivorous. So off we trundled down to a beach which was all rocks, and I’m not talking little rocks, I’m talking big massive ones that you had to climb over, and rock faces that you literally had to climb up about 3 metres to get to the top and then smooth rock on the other side with just jagged rock poking out, so you had to be careful trying to shimmy down. It was intimidating and exciting. Then of course onto the shitty business…all very scientific using GPS points and measuring from the points, lots of labelling and sketching. Then hauling arse back over rocks to get back to the camp to measure and weight the scat and then leave it to soak for a while so we could pull it apart and tell what they’d been eating. It was stinky business, but in the end we found that there wasn’t really much difference between what adults and juveniles were eating.

But wait…there’s more! We also had to put together a presentation for the group…and we were told to have fun with it. So we did a bit of a narrative and role play, did some scatting – not shitting on the floor, but the musical version of scatting, just thought I should clear that up there! We had the group stand, sit, kneel to represent a “people” histogram, or pistogram as we called it. And just added in puns about poo basically. It was quite funny, we had people, including us, rolling around in fits of laughter.

Today was a bit more relaxed because I was bird catching. Well, not me per se, I couldn’t just snatch them out of the air, but we set up mist nets to catch the birds in, and then the demonstrators would get the birds out and band and measure them and all that. So today was a lot of trekking around in scrubland, setting up mist nets and walking around to periodically check them and help with the banding and data collection. We did get to hold them and release them though so that was pretty cool. The purpose of this study was to check the birds over for ticks, the hypothesis being that birds in a smaller conservation park will have more ticks that contain more bacteria harbouring pathogens that can kill birds and/or humans. We didn’t find any ticks though, but the conservation park we were in was relatively large so I don’t think anyone was too surprised by that.

And just like yesterday we had to do a presentation to the group. Whereas last night the groups were quite different in terms of presentation, today, three of the groups did quizzes! The other group did well I guess a normal presentation of reading boring information to cards, it wasn’t very “fun”. Our group, I wrote a short story to talk about how a Honeyeater we caught was crying to its neighbouring birds for help, regardless of species and they responded to the call, having recognised it. So the short story was about that from a birds perspective. Then we also did a haiku and added in a couple of serious questions and observations in between chapters of story. The story we did was a funny one so again we had the group laughing which is always good.

Hope you guys have been having an enjoyable week so far!

Take care,