Who? Thomas Lameris, student of Forest and Nature Management
What? Research on the behaviour of the black lark
To collect the data we raced around the steppe for two months in our Lada Niva, looking for nests and then monitoring them. That meant driving the same circuit every two days, which we’d had enough of after a while. At the start it was very cold and often frosty at night. Later it warmed up and the steppe became green. But that brought in huge clouds of mosquitoes. Something went wrong with the Lada every day, really, and we often had to clear a pipe from the petrol tank using grass stalks. And on one occasion we had to wait for days for a spare part for the car.
The people of Kazakhstan are very relaxed, but you do need to be able to speak Russian. And it is a good idea always to have some cigarettes on you to keep the police on your side. We had to bribe them several times to avoid paying even more in fines. This happened again when we checked in for our flight and our visas were apparently all wrong. Luckily, that could be solved with a fine too. And we caught the flight in the end.’
Would you like to know more about the research results? On 30 November, Thijs Fijen will be giving a talk on the black lark: https://www.sovon.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/lezing-over-zwarte-leeuweriken