Wednesday, 4 January 2012

First training cycle

While I occasionally do a 20km cycle through the mountains and also use my bike frequently on the reserve for going short distances, its been a long time since I've done a long cycle. So I thought I would remind my legs and bum what its like to do saddle time and did a 60km cycle today. The first 20km was easy of course – my legs not realising they were in for a bit of extended punishment! None-the-less I made it back alive with an average speed of just over 20km/h.

Cycle stats for the survey will not be impressive by most cyclists standards, as there will be a lot of stoppage time for doing bird point counts – about 5 minutes is spent recording environmental variables such as the amount of rock outcrop, the dominant plant species, the position in the landscape (such as a hilltop, valley etc), proximity to water, and various other factors. After those 5 minutes, then 10 minutes is spent recording all birds. This means I can only do a maximum of 4 points per hour, and with each point 400 meters apart, that will be an average speed of around 1.2 km/h in real time! Of course getting between points will be faster.

Some highlight birds along the road today included a flock of 17 Blue Crane and a Red-footed Falcon. However, I had not been brave enough to take along my camera yet, so I'm posting a photo of a Cape Weaver about to feed a cricket to her hungry offspring that I took a few days ago during a quiet time at the mist-nets.

I also found my second ever Klein Karoo Chameleon – which I decided to pose on a Protea eximia to see if it was capable of turning red. Not quiet – patches of yellow were the best it could manage.

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