Saturday, July 29, 2017

First drowning of the season

We recently published 5 years of research on wildebeest mass drownings in the Mara River. We plan to continue studying this phenomenon for the foreseeable future, both to document the occurrence and size of the drownings and to continue understanding their influence on the river ecosystem. On July 19, 500 wildebeest were crossing the Mara River near the lower bridge, and 150 drowned. This is a relatively small drowning compared to some others we have seen and compared to the annual mean of 6,250 we have documented over the years. However, we're still early in the migration season, and the river has been unseasonably low, making it easy for the wildebeest to cross without incident. So, we'll see... We're in the field until the end of the migration in November, so we'll keep count.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Car parts and cappuccinos

Often an errand that should take an hour or two ends up taking half a day. Rarely is that half day spent so enjoyably as having a cappuccino overlooking the incomparable view at Angama, a new camp perched over the edge of the Mara Triangle. When we arrived at their airstrip to pick up our car parts and found out we'd been given the wrong time and would have to wait several hours, Tyler, the manager at Angama, graciously let us wait at the lodge and enjoy a cappuccino. While there, we met a guest from NYC who had just read about our research on wildebeest mass drownings. What started as a short errand turned into a lovely morning! One of the joys, and frustrations, of working here is never knowing how each day will end, but this time it was definitely a joy!

450 lbs. of gear

We headed back to Kenya in June for a 6 month field season. We had to purchase a plane ticket for Lily this year, since she's now over 2. The one upside... 3 extra bags on her ticket! Of course, about 2 of those bags were filled with her field wardrobe and clothes, but we managed to get an extra field bag in there!

The Mze

After 8 years of faithful service (okay, maybe not always faithful, but certainly adventurous!), our old, white Land Rover was finally due for a new coat of paint. Here she is, looking pretty sharp in her new dark green coat. Now it's difficult to tell this one apart from our newer Land Rover purchased last year, which is also green, so we've taken to calling this one the Mze (the elder) and the newer one the Kijana (the youth).