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Monday, April 4, 2011

Long weekend! Alas, not long enough...

[I must apologise upfront; this post was written about a week and a half ago, but thanks to blogger's misbehaviour, none of my pictures would upload. Thus it has been maturing in my drafts folder until blogger cooperated...]

So, for those of you who read from abroad, this last Monday was a public holiday in SA: Human Rights Day! I personally find it rather ironic as the university made me work on the Monday, especially on Human Rights Day of all the public holidays, but moving swiftly along...

I was away this weekend, on a field-trip for one of the university's second year courses. The job was not particularly exciting; drive the students to the university's farm east of Nelspruit, help them identify some bugs and plants for their insect and plant collection projects, drive them home again and do all of the above without getting anyone hurt/killed. Apart from nearly crashing one of the rental vehicles into a wall (Toyota recalled their cars for a brake malfunction, right? Well obviously not all the cars...) and one of the lecturers almost running a student over (same brake malfunction...) it went off without any major hiccups.

The problem is that now, I am absolutely drained! I have SO much work to do and I just can't muster the energy to do it! So instead I'm blogging and posting some pics from the trip:

A fishing spider! These guys are pretty big (about 8cm diameter legtip-legtip) and hunt fish! They can actually go underwater for short periods of time. The hairs on their bodies trap a layer of air around them which acts like mini scuba gear so that they can hunt underwater.

Here we see one of our lecturers performing the trademark (not really) 'zoologist crouch'. He's actually looking for water scorpions amongst the leaf litter in a rather disgusting pool of water.

A personal life-ambition fulfilled! See a live vine snake in the wild: Check! These guys are ridiculously venomous but are apparently relatively docile. They're part of a family of snakes that actually have their fangs at the back of their mouths, instead of having the hinged sabres in the front, like vipers, that we think of when we think of snake fangs. Hard to spot against the branches of a bush too...

A little piece of froggie paradise. The pond behind the house in which we stayed. We checked it out one night for frogs; they were everywhere! And there were so many different kinds! It was awesome!

A stunning view from 'sundowner rock' where, oddly enough, we have sundowners! Unfortunately, it was cloudy almost all weekend, but the view is much more spectacular when the suns out!

A local amphibian resident. Very well camouflaged and very cute!

Some local flowers. Unfortunately, I suck at plants and so I can't really tell you what they're called. :(

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