Coming from mainly a plant ecology background, it was great to have the chance to help out on the recent trapping survey at Edgbaston reserve.
We started off the week digging pitfalls traps. This was a relatively new experience for me and I can confirm its pretty hard work in the high 30˚C heat! But as one of the other volunteers on the survey, Suzie, kept saying, we would soon be catching lots of little critters in them and it would all be worth it!
As predicted, the numerous little planigales and the many species of geckos and skinks we found in them definitely made it all worth it. One thing I could have done without, however, were the numerous, very large, scary centipedes we had to fish out from the pits every morning. After about the 50th scary centipede I felt very satisfied about my decision to be at plant ecologist.
As well as pitfall traps, at each trapping site we had a number of funnel traps for catching reptile-like things and Elliot traps for catching mammal-like things.
The Elliot traps were baited with either a delicious peanut butter, honey, oat combo, a less delicious sardine oat combo or a combo of dog bickies and salami stick (aka ‘dunnart delight). The treats were a hit and on the first trapping night we caught a cute little Stripe-faced Dunnart, and on a following night a fat little desert mouse. In the funnels we caught lots of different types of skinks, a beautiful dragon and a feisty brown snake, as well as oodles of centipedes. On a couple of the nights we also put up a few harp traps for catching bats!
Being a vegetation kinda gal I was put on vegetation survey duty for the sites. This was great fun and I had a pretty awesome time strolling through Edgy’s beautiful grasslands, woodlands and springs.
But 100 metres is longer than you think and running 100 metre transects is sometimes challenging, particularly on a steep slope on a very rocky hill!
All in all, it was an amazing experience and really good fun. It was great to get more experience in the fauna side of things and to hang out with a bunch of other amazing ecologists. Definitely would love to help out again. Even if it means fishing out another million centipedes.