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  • Krista N Oswald

Working 9 to 5

Right off the bat, I've given this a misleading title. I have seldom in my life worked 9 to 5, and in some ways hope I never will. My stubbornness dictates that I can only work when I don't have to work, and luckily this seems to be working so far.

(random elephant photo from the recently greened fields of Addo, where Matt and I just returned from an overnight trip)

I have not added any Rockjumper updates in a while, as life has recently been decidedly sedentary (from a work perspective). Instead of mountain shenanigans, I have spent the past 2 months catching up on some of those pesky little writing things that end up determining the true state of my research. This includes re-submitting some of my MSc research to journals, beginning the arduous process of writing up my PhD chapters, working on abstracts for conferences I hope to attend, applying for small grants to help fund research, and figuring out how the heck I'm supposed to actually do this genetic nonsense.

All this is about to change, as I pack up General Mao (my oft-beleaguered "car") and head back west on my last sampling trip. My trusty assistant for this trip, Gabriel Foley, is a sturdy Saskatchewan-ite (that's a real place in Canada) who says "bunny hug" instead of hoody, and has been in South Africa working on white-browed sparrow-weavers through Prof. Andrew McKechnie at Pretoria. In all of his travels around the country he has yet to fully immerse himself in the fynbos, and the best way to change that is 2 weeks working on Rockjumpers:)

(Trying to find Rockjumpers on a trip to Kammanassie last year. Photo: Nicholas Pattinson)

We leave tomorrow morning, first stopping at the eastern side of Swartberg, where I was previously hailed/rained off the mountain with only 3 blood samples, so am hoping for another 5 or so. We then head much further west, to finish off a few ranges around Cape Town, including the northern Langeberg, Kogelberg, and Riviersonderend, with a pit-stop at West Coast National Park so Gabe can attend the Lab/Flock 2018 conference.

I'm pretty excited. Mao has had a check-up, worms have been bought, high-carb food is ready to be eaten, 2-way radios are charged, and reservations have been made. Could this be the first sampling trip where my car doesn't break down? Stay tuned to find out!

Lastly, some recent photos:) Top left to right: an out of range brown snake eagle by PE, a pied crow acting as an Oxpecker on a Cape buffalo, a pair of Lesser striped swallows who were nesting in our cottage roof at Addo. Bottom left to right: a particularly obliging Pale chanting goshawk at Addo, bokmakierie at Addo, and Chestnut-banded plover near PE.

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