25 August 2015

Hot and cold blood

Week 27, 02 July 2015 - Shuaiba area

I returned from my 2-week winter family road trip in South Africa driving from Johannesburg to Cape Town via Mountain Zebra National Park in Cradock, to Port Alfred, Plettenberg Bay and then through the garden route to Cape Town. A really great trip, visiting some places I last visited many years ago. I even managed to get a new South African tick which was a Snowy Egret (a 1st for South Africa) that had been present for around 10-days before I arrived and was luckily still present the day I twitched it.

Returning to Kuwait after winter in South Africa was from one end of the spectrum to the other. So, what to do when it is too hot to go out in the day?

Well, go out at night and see what the desert has to offer. This first trip was just an exploratory visit with my friend Aziz who had discovered a number of interesting creatures that I was keen to see and photograph. We started searching after 9:30pm and under a full moon it wasn't as productive as we had hoped.

However, together we did find one cooperative Desert Gecko

Desert Gecko (Stenodactylus doriae)

There was a bit of a breeze; what to do if you get sand in your eyes? Well use what you have - nature's windscreen wiper.

Desert Gecko (Stenodactylus doriae) 

After Aziz left, I continued on my own - and didn't find much else. I walked a little and then found a really small Blanford's Rock Gecko hiding in some rubble - not easy to take a pic holding a camera and a torch 

Blandford's Rock Gecko (Bunopus tuberculatus)
A little later I found this Cheesman's Gerbil running across the desert. I followed it slowly to see where it went. It was less than co-operative and it had my lying on my stomach in the sand for almost 20 - 30 minutes waiting for it to come out of it's burrow and then it caught me by surprise..

Cheeseman's Gerbil (Gerbillus cheesmani arduus)
As Arnie said, "I'll be back"

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