25 February 2012 – doing our bit for research…
Today was going to be an interesting day as we were meeting up with friends, Jens and Colleen, from Gauteng who were down in the Cape for a short while. Jens was doing some research on Cordylid lizards and he had asked us to assist with finding 2 species, Cape Crag Lizard and Cape Girdled Lizard, so that he could get some data on them.
Leaving home early, we met up with them in Rooiels and then made our way through to Hangklip. First stop was on a piece of private property which we had arranged access to where we wanted to look for Cape Crag Lizard. Unfortunately, this was not the prime time of the year in the Cape to be looking for reptiles and this site, which usually produces good numbers of reptiles, turned up very little. We managed to find a Southern Rock Agama, a few Clicking Stream Frogs and an Angulate Tortoise as well as a couple of Opistacanthus capensis scorpions, but other than that, there was just nothing about. We spent a good couple of hours working the area and searching hard and Trevor even managed to drop a rock on his shin removing large quantities of skin from it for his troubles. Unfortunately, we had to leave without the crag lizard which was extremely disappointing.
We then moved to another site where our target was Cape Girdled Lizard. Fortunately, we were more successful here and managed to find quite a few of them. It was already fairly warm by now and the lizards were extremely active, so it made catching them quite tricky. After having “bagged” several of them, we took them back to the cars where they were processed. Measurements were taken of the head length, height and width, snout-vent length, tail length and then they were all weighed, scale counts done and sexed. Once all the individuals had been processed, we then walked back out to the site to release them and photograph them.
It was already quite windy now as well and, while releasing the lizards, we happened to spot a couple of small butterflies flying around. Fortunately, one of them sat still for long enough to photograph it and it turned out to be a Fynbos Blue.
Lunch time arrived and we decided to grab a bite to eat at the Hangklip Hotel. It turned out to be a lengthy and relaxed exercise where we spent quite a bit of time just chatting about nonsense. Eventually, we decided to head back to Rooiels to see if we could find Cape Rockjumpers for Jens and Colleen. We obviously were not paying them the respect they deserved by trying for them at the wrong time of the year at the worst time of the day in windy conditions so it was no surprize that, after a lengthy walk searching for them, we came away empty-handed. In fact, we saw and heard very few birds at all. So, after this “let down”, we decided to call it a day and head back home, knowing that we had done our tiny little bit for scientific research…:)