Whilst doing our inventory it has come to our attention that the weather station is not at the urban camp… we really the weather station to record data for when we get these straw colour fruit bats tagged. So me, Dom and Tom have to go on an emergency trip up to our old research site in Vwaza. Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve is located in the north of the country and we leave super early in the morning and arrive late in the afternoon. We take in the amazing beauty around us but have to be super careful as the park is riddled with tetse flies. Tetse flies can carry a deadly disease called sleeping sickness and sadly it has been recently found in the Park, which is why we have shut down the camp.
Our mission though is to get the weather station amongst the other office bits we can cram into the car. We have a good tetris session getting as much in Troopy (white Land Cruiser) and even get some funky new chairs strapped onto the roof! Although we were in Vwaza for less than 24 hours, we did manage to see some cool wildlife including hippos, baboons (you can see one on Troopy in the pic), warthogs, scorpions, impala, monitor lizards and lots of cool birds. It is such a shame we no longer work here anymore as it is stunning and the camp looks over the wetland area and you even get elephants coming up passed the camp dining area!
Meanwhile, back in Lilongwe, Joan takes the three students to the Farmers Market at Woodlands. We go there month to have an African Bat Conservation stand to promote our work, sell bat boxes and try to get new records of bats! I am sad that I am not at the farmers market as I love buying hot sauce from there (trust it is amazing!) but also because I love changing peoples perceptions on bats and talking to them about how much great they do for the planet! I have helped on stands and at events for many years as part of my local bat group, Nottinghamshire Bat Group. You could sometimes even find me dressed up like a bat! Ah well, will get to go to the market in January and I cannot complain seeing as I get to see the beautiful Vwaza! I am sure Joan and the students will do a good job! We have had our third student join us now, Lena from Germany, who will be doing a project with us at our urban base and also Patrick has joined the carnivore team as an intern. So camp in filling back up again!
After a very rush trip going all the way north and then back in two days, we make it back from Vwaza safe and sound, and with the weather station in tow! Despite being such a quick trip, it was a fun little mission and hopefully we will get to explore more of Malawi in the coming months! The last two times I have been here I have been conducting my student research projects so exploring was not something we had time to do, so really hoping I get to this time. I also had a bit of a blast from the past one day when Tom was cooking lunch at camp as he plays music by my old friend Yazmin Lacey (from back in Nottingham)! Brings back some good memories and times at gigs like Acoustickle. So cool to hear her music being played so far from home. Tom and Dom have been making us laugh recently as they dress like twins and fairly often show up in matching outfits. We already have a little collection of their matching duo pics! Feel a collage is needed!
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