After some ten and a half hours of sleep last night we got up ready to start another day of field research. This time we only had one island to visit but unfortunately the boat owners weren’t available until the afternoon. We were hoping to get the research done in time to rest during the heat of the day. Instead we spent the morning looking for lizards (the students caught two Podarcis) and driving around the island.
I had a delicious greek salad for lunch. Who knew, real Greek salads don’t have any lettuce! Still, the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives and feta were delicious. So fresh!!
We finally made it to the dock in time to head to our next study island only to find that the battery in the boat was dead! The island was tantalizingly close, maybe only 200 yards, but that’s a long swim carrying gear, especially with strong currents between the islands, so we opted to wait and hope for the best. Luckily the boat owner knew someone with a car and was able to take the battery out of the car, into the boat and we were on our way!
After a humorously short boat ride we made it to Nikouria island, a fairly large island off the west coast of Amorgos. The island was very steep and densely bushy, despite a large number of goats freely wandering the island grazing. There were also about two dozen bee hives. Greek honey is delicious, I’ve been eating it with yogurt for several of my breakfasts. It was fun to see the source and it made me wonder what the different flowers they were buzzing around were.
Research progressed much as it had the day before. We settled into tasks and I conducted several lizard transact surveys. The island has a very impressive density of Podarcis lizards though again, they were skittish and quick to scoot under the nearest shrub. We were especially interested in finding a sand boa (Eryx jaculus) as that would have represented an important third trophic level but we didn’t end up having any luck. Still it was a beautiful day to be out in the field.
I’m headed to Kouphonissia tomorrow to work with the PI for a day in the field. It will be nice to go out into the field with him again and find some good herps. As some more attentive of you may have noticed, I’ve deviated from my original schedule already. I was planning on picking up my rental car today and heading towards Italy, spending another night or two in western Greece. I’ve postponed that trip until Saturday in order to spend a bit more time here, in a system I’m gaining some decent familiarity with.
More soon from Kouphonissia!