Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I'm feeling perky. This, despite having been out for 12 hours, of which I spent a good part on my feet and under the blazing sun.

Experienced my first field trip as a student helper today, assisting a Biological Sciences Masters student in her research on red-eared sliders. Y'know. Those tamagotchi-sized terrapins some of you would have kept as pets when you were a kid. Except that those relatively controllable tamagotchi-sized critters have the capability to grow into rugby ball-sized grouches. That's when they are often ditched into ponds by their hapless owners. Yeah, so the main objective of the project's to determine the average population size out there and see if they bear a tangible influence on the local tortoises (Red-eared sliders originate from America).

So 5 of us headed down to the Botanical Gardens in an NUS pickup truck loaded with equipment for catching terrapins. Order of events: Bait traps, throw them into Swan Lake, hoist them up after 20 minutes, and then weigh, measure, and mark them before continuing another round of trapping. Phooey, terrapin poo ain't fun, but after a while I got kinda oblivious to the stench. Hope that doesn't mean I still smell of it though! =p

Anyway, as mentioned, there were 5 of us - Abby, the Masters student, me and another student helper WS, and Ruth and Neil. Ruth, by the way, took a series of lectures on sponges and protoctists (I think) for my Biodiversity module in the 2nd semester of my 1st year. Today I learnt that she's Irish, and her husband Neil is from Scotland. They're a genial and pretty cool duo, working with them was a breeze, which is great! Neil recieved a nasty bite from one of our study subjects when he tried to nudge it aside. Urgh.

Funny observation: At Swan Lake, there are (or were) 2 mute swans. They are still there, but I saw a new addition, a white, smaller creature that followed them amicably. Was quite excited cos I thought that the mute swans had succesfully procreated and that it was a cygnet. *mutter mutter* It turned out to be a duck. A white, chubby-cheeked, beady-eyed DUCK. Maybe it was in self-denial and decided that it wasn't a duck, but a graceful swan. But whatever the case is, the 2 mute swans took its company very well, hehe. I kinda like that duck. =p Feel like pinching its cheeks but I'll probably regret doing so. Anyway, when I was preparing a trap with bait at the edge of the lake, one of the mute swans swam right up to me and I was literally staring at it in the face. Never been so near a swan before! *grin*

Went down to Ikea after a day of terrapin handling/measuring/weighing (anyone needs me to help identify the sex of their terrapins? I'm an expert now...) and must admit, I went a bit crazy and bought stuff that weren't on my list of things to buy. But the tealight holders were so pretty....! Sigh. Must be a bit more prudent in my expenditure...

Alright. Not feeling so perky now. Sleep, I must at once!

Yvonne | 11:23 PM |
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