26 March 2014

Seraphie's Study Abroad: Lamington National Park


Dear Readers,

Last week, our group bonded together for a camping trip a couple hours south of Brisbane at Lamington National Park. Our first few days were spent exploring the eucalypt and rainforests with our lecturers, researching the completion in those forests and presenting our findings—the ecology section. We then split into two groups and while one group set up traps and studied mammals, the other worked with birds. I’ve been trying to become a birder for a long time and coming to Australia has prompted me to be a little more dedicated, so I borrowed our professor’s book and went out looking for birds. For those of you interested, my favorite bird I saw was the Red Capped Robin, beyond adorable. 
Our South African Army Tents!
Swinging in the Rainforest
Paddy Melon :)

Group Presentation
After two days of trapping, and cataloging of animals and birds, we moved to insects. This section was by far my favorite. To start off, we went and collected as many different kinds of insects from the forest as we could. Nicky and I were the official log checkers—basically we flipped over logs and grabbed the biggest bugger we could find. In the evening, we took a night walk deep into the forest, turned off our headlamps and searched for glowworms. Out of the darkness you could see tons of little green lights that you felt drawn to and apparently that is how the glowworms catch their dinner, by attracting supper to the light. The next day, we hiked up to the lodge and looked at our catch of inspects under microscopes. Our instructor was hilarious and kept making all these super funny comments on our attempts to identify the insects. 
Insect Inspection
 Our last day in Lamington was a free day where seven of us took advantage and decided to go on a supposedly 7 hours hike to see a clump of waterfalls. Deep into the rainforest, we soon discovered that there not only were there snakes, abbies, and spiders to watch out for, but there were the leeches! TONS OF LEECHES! I realize now, I should have gotten a picture of the creepy things, but I was too busy flicking them off my shoes. By the end of the hike, I had pulled 38 leeches off my body. Mind you, we were moving most the time, so how those things latched on to me, I will never know. We completed the hike in 5.5 hours, and it is my belief we did this so fast in order to get away from the leeches (or that was my motivation). 
The Serious Hikers
One of Four Waterfalls
Jungle Selfie
Lastly, and I am mentioning this for the bragging rights, I climbed this huge tree in the forest right up through the middle. It was at least a 50 foot climb and while I was proud when I poked my head up through the top, I noticed a HUGE yellow and black leech on my sleeve. I promptly screamed looked around and saw the other leeches hanging out (for some weird reason) at the top of the tree and I scurried my way back down to the bottom. 
During our free time, the group usually played cards. I pride myself on getting everyone to play Rummy 500.
Playing Rummy 500
  I think I’ve described enough to make you bored, so ciao for now and as always if anyone has any questions my email is sallen@lclark.edu

-Seraphie

Group Shot