Rain, Rain Go Away, We Want to Put our Dung Traps Out!
Today was very very wet. We have had a total of 170ml of rain since Sunday afternoon, with most if it being today. The river is absolutely gushing, it’s amazing!
We did not a whole lot of field work, as the rain made it very tricky too! I did help Susan one of the entomologists with some of the data entry from the bugs we had been collecting. This involved making sure the labels matched the samples and then enter the data into a spreadsheet. After we finished, Susan showed us how to make dung beetle bait. As they are dung beetles, I’m sure you can guess what the bait was made out of… cow dung! They are to be used over a type of trap called a pitfall trap that the bugs fall into when attracted by the dung balls. I'm very glad we wore gloves when making these baits. Hopefully it is drier tomorrow morning so we can put these traps out, and the dung beetles will come out after the rain.
A lot of the day was spent reading and trying to stay dry. Luckily it cleared up in the afternoon and we were able to go for a walk. One of the botanist Chris is also interested in fungi, and the wet weather is perfect for it. We collected some different samples we found to give to him. One of the species he found earlier in the day is suspected to be a species not since documented since 1963, so he was very excited.
The last exciting thing of the day was Will, an mammologist sharing the process of collecting DNA from a bird. He had caught a owlet nightjar in the evening, and he showed us how he measures the bird, takes photos and draws a tiny amount of blood before releasing them in the same place he found it.
Tomorrow is looking fine, so we back out to the field for us!