ChernobylFrogs16 Day 4: Treefrog routine
Now, installed in the Chernobyl treefrogs routine, processing frogs in the morning and trying to collect frogs in localities with different radioactive contamination levels during the night.
Our initial plan today was to move out from the hotel in the morning, to a camp-bungalow area nearby, since the hotel was fully-booked by radioactive tourists.. but luckily not all rooms were finally occupied, and we get back to our rooms, and our Wifi 🙂 On a personal level, today was the 7th birthday of my oldest daughter, and the first time that I miss her birthday. I managed to wake up her on the phone, but definitely not the best example of work-life balance.. 😦
Same as yesterday, I spent the morning and central part of the day obtaining samples from last night treefrogs. Contrary to the individuals from the highly contaminated locality of the first night, I didn’t notice anything unusual in these frogs, from a medium contaminated areas… interesting. So, I have now 17 more frogs fully sampled.
At 19h we were back to the car, and headed to the field trying to catch frogs across a gradient of radioactivity running through the west side of the Exclusion Zone. On our way, we saw moose (7 ex), red deer, beaver (my first ever!), white tailed eagle (2), hare (many), wolf excrements..
Once in the area, we found our first Spadefoot toad (Pelobates fuscus), as well as quite a few water frog juveniles (Pelophylax kl esculenta).
On our first locality, we collected 12 male treefrogs after expending 1h 30 moving around and area of medium radioactive contamination (4-5 microSv/h) in the Northern part of the Exclusion Zone, just a few kilometers from Belarus. Then, we drove along the ditch that goes North-South in that area checking different places (even one in which very briefly the dosimeters marked 77 microSv/h), until finding a good locality with low levels of radiation (below 3 microSv/h). One hour later and with another 12 male treefrogs we started our way back to our Chernobyl hotel, at which we arrived at 2AM, quite a long, and productive, day.
Radiation accumulated today: 10 microSv, for a total so far of 51 microSv.
Plan for tomorrow: process samples during the day and back to the field for our last night of fieldwork in the Zone, trying to collect treefrogs in non-contaminated areas (internal controls)