Got up this morning before sunrise so that we could get back to the study site by 7:00. The sun was just rising and illuminating the granite spires of the park which is one of the special landmarks of this place. Disappointedly, not one of the 150 traps that we set the night before had an animal. But we will set them again this evening anyway and hope that night 2 yields some data as to the types of small mammals found in this unburied area of the park. After 2 days of work here we will relocate into one of the areas that was severely burned 9 months ago and see what’s different.
Made additions to the growing bird list and checked the harp traps, which can be left out all night. You see, if a bat gets into the harp trap bag, it just curls up and goes into torpor (kind of like hibernation) until it can be taken out the next morning. Found two little forest bats in the traps. These we brought back to camp so they they can be weighed, measured, and identified. They will stay in little cloth bags until we release them tonight.
A third bat, a slightly bigger species, had been trapped the night before and brought home to our camp. Today, after measuring, etc., a tiny radio transmitter was glued to its back using wig glue. A little patch of fur was shaved off to allow better adhesion. Upon release tonight, this bat will be tracked to its roost, probably in a hollow of a tree, and its temperature measured by using the same tracking signal. As the beep, beep, beep rate of the tracker speeds up or slows down, a correlation of body temperature can be obtained. This part of the project is part of a graduate program that one of Fritz’s student is doing.
At 3:00 we drove back into the park to rebait the traps, conduct bird censusing, and prepare for bat night number two. All went smoothly and as it got dark, spotlights went out in search of animals like ring tailed possums and tawny frogmouths. Pretty soon six bats were caught, the nets folded up for the night, and the final antic was the release of the captured bats. They clung to Anna’s jacket for quite a while! But finally we were set to go and managed to get into bed by about 11:00 , hopefully to catch enough sleep to do it all again the next day :-)