Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grazing Exclosure Plot

Or rather...a forgotten and abandoned grazing exclosure plot.

I'm always saddened to see forgotten exclosure plots in the Mara.  Here you can see the pieces of metal sticking up out of the ground that used to hold the fence.  Topi seem to love the grass inside this "exclosure" plot.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hazardous Work Environment

Not the best place in the world to open up your computer and surf the internet.  Nah, I'm just kidding.  I wasn't surfing the internet.  I was downloading the data from our water quality meter we had installed below the carcasses.  

I wonder if Yale Forestry would get more or less students if they used this in their recruitment campaigns.  


A view from above.  The green area was burned a few months before this picture was taken.  The yellowish brown area was not burned.  The small dark patches you see are termite mounds.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Count the Crocs

We often play this game.  Count the Crocs.  How many crocs are sharing that small sandy bank in the middle of the Mara River? 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013


One of the major challenges we had this year was caused by the inherent variability of flows.  When we needed low flows, they were high.  When we needed high flows, they were low.  

We were constantly running around with several sets of 10 tiles zip-tied to a metal frame, trying to keep them in the water.  We had to leave a set in the water for about 3 weeks, at several different locations spread throughout the basin.  

It was always heartbreaking to arrive after 2 or 3 weeks to one of our tile locations to find this...

Beached tiles!  We were trying to grow algae on the tiles.  When they are no longer underwater, the algae does not grow.  It very quickly gets desiccated in the hot African sun and dies.  Usually when we would show up, half of our tiles would be destroyed by hippos or other large wildlife walking in or near the water.  We were fortunate that the hippos spared this set.  So, we moved them back into the water to try again...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Minor Mistake

A contractor has recently installed automatic gauging stations around the Mara River Basin.  The stations will automatically record water depth so that the water authorities can more accurately track changes in water discharge.

The contractor appears to have made a minor mistake at this station.  I'm not sure, but I think the pipe that you can see in the picture (the one coming out from the bank) is that pipe that is supposed to transport water to the stilling well where the water depth measurement is actually taken. The contractor installed the station under high flows so the station will probably not be capable of taking readings of any of the low flows.

Friday, January 25, 2013


A storm approaching...the rising waters will wash all the carcasses downstream to Tanzania then Lake Victoria.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Amanda....counting carcasses.

Looking for Shade

Recently, I have been going through all photographs we took over the last few months.  I plan on posting some of the better ones over the next few months.

When WWF first brought down the telemetry kit, they also brought down a small depth probe for us to install in our water quality meter.  In this picture, I'm installing the depth probe into our meter as I'm squeezed into the only shade I could find (Notice my ultra-clean hat that I had hand-washed in Narok!).  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Mara is up...

After a few days of heavy rain throughout the basin, the Mara River has risen!  Check out the two pictures below.  The first picture is from mid-December when the river had normal, but declining flows.  The second picture was taken today.  The hippos are now spread throughout the pool.