Orjan is a Swedish PhD student who bought a one-way ticket to Mongolia to work at the base camp of our long-term research project. These are his adventures…
As mentioned a few days ago on this blog, we re-collared Tsagaan a couple of days ago. It feels really, really great! Here are some more details:
After sedating him, we changed his collar, put him in the sleeping bag, and gave him the antidote. (Editor’s Note: Sedation does not cause the animal any distress, and is necessary for their safety.) After about 30 minutes he raised his head and gave up a BIG yawn, then he laid down again. I had arranged the sleeping bag so he had a pillow. We waited for maybe ten more minutes, then decided to approach him. When he heard the footsteps in the gravel, he sat up and looked at us with an expression on his face that seemed to say “How the **** did you guys get here without me noticing?” Then he took off.
The following day, we closed our traps to evaluate the situation, and see if Tsagaan would leave the area. If he does leave, I will likely collect the traps and start preparing to change their placements. The cameras have only been out for a week, and we have a lot of hiking and motor biking to do before we can be sure that we have found the best trap sites.
As soon as we closed the traps, I lost all my energy, and sat in front of the fire for a long time with a blank expression. As long as one has to keep going, I can withhold diseases, injuries and tiredness – but as soon as I relax, it all comes tumbling down on me. Not that I am sick or injured, I’m just a little tired. But I will be fine in a couple of days.
Bo was obviously excited to see the snow leopard, but he is a birder – and when we saw a Hume’s Ground Jay, he almost fell off the motorbike. I could tell from his face that it was something special; apparently it is a very rare bird that has been hard to classify. For a while, birders thought that it as a woodpecker, then a jay, and now they think that it’s a chickadee. I have seen the bird quite a few times but never paid it much attention. I can tell that it’s not a duck, but no more than that…
Spring has finally arrived. We have seen some migrating birds and a few insects. Feels great, even though the nights are still pretty cold.