The end of a field season always seems to come around too quickly and after the delays we experienced with getting the equipment into the country that was certainly the case for this field season. I find that for me going home gives me mixed feelings, whilst I look forward to seeing family and friends (and the family dogs!) who I haven’t seen in 5/6 months, I do not look forward to the short winter days and spending the next 6 months in the office looking at a computer screen rather than being out in the bush seeing wild animals every day.
But before all that I had a lot to do to keep my mind busy with making sure everything was in order. I tried to leave the cameras out for as long as possible so that we would have as much data as possible but that meant that the final two weeks were pretty hectic getting around to take down all the cameras. This rush led to my first tyre puncture out in the bush, thankfully I had been taking tyres on and off with my trusty mechanic quite a bit up to then (thanks to some very squeaky breaks) and so changing the tyre solo was no problem, though finding a decent bit of flat ground to do it on was a bit trickier! This wasn’t the only car issue during packing up as it was overdue a proper service in Nairobi and so various bushes were on the way out along with a few other problems. But it managed to survive the entire packing up circuit and made it back to Nairobi mostly in one piece.
There was also less of an issue with damaged cameras on this third visit to them and only one had gone missing from when I had last visited it. I have also begun to make progress on sorting through the images, whilst we do have a lot of photos of grass blowing in the wind (we are considering altering our camera set up a bit next year as a result) we are getting some great sightings! We have had a number of captures of suspected aardwolves, which are pretty rare to see in person, along with lots of aardvark. We are also excited to see that we are getting photos of the more elusive species such as leopard, serval and caracal, there is a chance I do a little dance when I find these photos…
So, whilst I am not looking forward to being desk bound for the next few months, it is going to be exciting to continue to see what interesting animals and behaviours we are capturing on these cameras. In the mean time I’ll keep thinking of the epic Mara sunsets during the dark London winter.