Weekend at Riet River

Weekend at Riet River

Postby boing » Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:12 am

I went away with some friends to Riet River, 12 km past Port Alfred this weekend. It was amazing, we had stunning weather and spent the entire time relaxing, days on the beach or in the river and bonfire or braai at night. I didn't get much chance to go looking for herps, but some found me... My friends are not too keen on me taking their sons out looking for reptiles (especially the little ones), but if there is one on the path in front of them they will call me to rescue them!

Some pics of what we saw from one of the houses we stayed in...

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The house I stayed in, which is losing a fight with the dune (the other houses were above this one behind the vegetation).

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Night Adder which was found on the path we used to get to the beach. I relocated it to the vegetation past all the houses.

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Painted Reed Frog (Hyperolius marmoratus) found on the deck of one of the houses when we were braai-ing. Was released near the river later that night, but no good photos were got as the 3 year old, 4 year old and 18 month old were far too interested in it to let me get any. The smallest one kept trying to squish it, but only cos she is so little that she hasn't learnt how to be gentle yet - she can now say Frog though!!

Sand Frog (Tomopterna tandyi or delalandi) Only way to tell the difference is call or some lab work, according to our expert, but it didn't call and I released it later that evening. I did not want to bring any of them back for the collection as they would just be killed and they would probably have died on the trip back anyway as we didn't have aircon in the vehicle we took. The funny thing is the friend who found it and gave it to me is married to Tandy and this could be Tandy's Sand Frog!!

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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby MrG » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:58 am

Nice, looks like you had a good time.
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby Fooble » Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:53 pm

Cool shots dude.
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby MrG » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:04 am

I think its a dudet.lol
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby boing » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:09 am

LOL, Yes, I would be Dudette!!
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby MrG » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:32 am

:) :)
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby froot » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:22 am

That's our xmas stomping ground and we'll be going there again over the festive season, nice photos Boing.

Let me know if you'll be there too.
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby boing » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:05 am

No, I am working this holiday. That was my getting away in December, although I am going to St Francis on Monday (Piston is doing a talk and Frogging event). Next break is hopefully end of Jan trip to Cape Town.

If anyone is in PE and visits Bayworld they can come say Hi!!
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby Slayer69 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:27 pm

I might be down in P.E just before new years, will pop in to say if I do get to go.
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby boing » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:37 pm

You will find either Snake Charmer or me here most days... Often both of us!!
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby froot » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:35 pm

Earlier this week we had very high winds and stormy seas and Riet River and as a result scores of baby Cape Fur Seals washed up along the coastline. We ended up rescueing 3 of them in one afternoon while fishing and called conservation to come collect them. According to them the babies were washed off Bird Island near PE by the rough seas and ended up here a couple hundred km away. These poor little guys were exhausted and frightened, a really pityful thing to see.

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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby Sico » Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:16 pm

man they are adorable... will they fatten them up and take them back there?
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby boing » Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:30 pm

We have about 120 of them here at Bayworld, and apparently there are more elsewhere. They really are super adorable. The plan is to release them early next week, as there is a threat of more bad weather this weekend. We have some washed off the rocks every year, but I have never seen it this bad. One of them has pretty much all the skin hanging loose from her chin cos she got injured on the rocks. I am glad they are staying here for such a short time cos we really don't have enough space for them here. I was helping some of our research staff today when they were taking the pups out of the enclosure so they could clean it. We had a temporary holding pen for them while we cleaned the other one and they pushed the temporary one apart every couple of minutes - then you have to drop what you are doing (which includes holding up walls of the temporary pen and chase after the escapees.. Was pretty chaotic, but fun none the less.

I don't have my camera here today, but will try and get pics tomorrow.
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby Bushviper » Sat Dec 27, 2008 4:53 pm

I wont joke about taking them to the local club either! They are really cute but they do not smell nice. Good thing some of them are being saved and not just left to die.
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Re: Weekend at Riet River

Postby boing » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:22 pm

Helped with the pups again this morning when they were all tubed and got some pictures of them. We have 118 here, with another 30 or so waiting in Cannon Rocks. Hopefully the bad weather yesterday did not wash too many off as well. They breed on Black Rocks which is near Bird Island. Everyone talks about Bird Island being off PE, but it is actually closer to the coast of Port Alfred. The pups are about a month old, and we are hoping that they can be released at Black Rocks on Tuesday, less than a week after they came in (Christmas Day). Theoretically, the mothers should accept them as they will have spent the week at sea eating anyway, but the animals will all be tagged so this can be monitored. It is estimated that the colony has about 400 pups so this is about 3/8 of them.

A few of the pups...

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Some of them were injured, like this one who lost all the skin on her chin. She should be fine, although all cuts are being treated to help these little ones survive as much as possible. There was one who had a broken back and could not use her hind flippers at all, so she will probably be euthenased.

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Temporary holding pens. They are pretty good at pushing their way out so someone always has to be watching...

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Tubing some formula into each pup. Although they would easily handle a week without food (as they do in the wild) the added stress of their current environment makes them weaker than normal so we supplement with a special formula daily.)

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Just too cute for words...

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