Friday, March 23, 2007

Update - 23 March

Sorry it's been so long - Where does the time go?? In general things have been very good and intersting on this end. I'll give some highlights.

Monday (19 Mar) we pulled an all-day watch of one of the female burrows. We broke the day into four shifts, beginning at 5:15am. We didn't see anything but it's still important information (
although it's a bit boring).

Tuesday (20 Mar) we gave ourselves a much-needed day off. We went into Gaziantep and wandered the shops and just explored. We found a very cool little courtyard that had some rug shops. Erica, Alice, Laura, and I each bought a rug (or two). They are not the fancy Turkish rugs that you pay 1000 YTL for in Istanbul - these are marvelous throws that are about 6 square meters and only cost 15 YTL. After lunch, Alice, Laura, and I went to have another bath. Oh how we love a good Turkish bath! This time the women recognized us and took marvelous care of us. After our bath, we met up with the men, went out for Baklava, and then came home in time to set up cameras in the field and have dinner. Because the men's bath didn't open until 5pm, Ben and Safak skipped dinner went back to Antep for their bath. And the women had a delightfully quiet evening!

Wednesday (21 Mar) was supposed to be our work/organize day because our German collaborators, Peter and Dietmar, were going to land in Gaziantep Thurs at 1:00am. Well, guess what. At 1:30am on Wed, Cumali comes over to get Safak because the Germans were waiting at the airport! So we weren't quite ready for the Germans, but it turned out to be ok because they were exhausted and had a fair bit of prep work before they could get their stuff up and running. In the afternoon, we all went out to set traps and Peter and Dietmar put their activity sensor rings in various burrows.

Thursday (22 Mar) was a great day. I don't know why, but everybody was in a darn giddy mood. We went into the field at 7am to check traps - and got one animal, a female that we transmittered. After breakfast Peter and Dietmar needed to go do their obligatory permit thing with the police in Kilis and we desperately needed to do some grocery shopping, so everyone but Benjamin trapsed into Kilis for a morning's adventure. We actually got to wander around Kilis and had a marvelous time. Yesterday evening was more trap- and camera-setting; and some burrow ring checking.

Finally, today is shaping up to be a good one as well. We got another female, but she was small so we didn't transmitter her. And now we're all working on our own things - Erica: a survery for the farmers, Ben - a map of our study site, Alice and Laura - burrow records. We are so darn studious!! I will end with some photos of Lauras. Having Laura here is like having Nic around. She is a very good photographer and takes tons of photos - so I tend not to take many at all. I'm just grateful that she's willing to share!

Shots of our field site

The crew releasing a hamster

and off she goes! (isn't that the cutest butt you've ever seen?)

After a hamster release there's nothing like some friendly wrestling...
Where Cumali emerged as victor over Benjamin.

and the competitive spirit thrives even at home. Here Safak and Ben are concentrating on a serious game of tawula (backgammon). Laura is actually the major tawula fiend, but she's the photographer in this case.

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