Yangtze River Headwaters Volunteering Day 8 长江源志愿工作第8天

This is a series of journals recording my days in the Yangtze River Headwaters volunteering project. I will try to update every day but there might be delays in the days I work in the wild without the internet. I’m also trying to write bilingual if time allows. Like it? Follow my Instagram (@anar.chica.yichenguo) for updates!
这是我参与长江源志愿工作的一系列记录。我争取每日更新,但在野外工作没有网络的那些日子会有延迟。在时间允许的情况下,也会尽量使用中英双语。喜欢的话,关注我的Ins账号(@anar.chica.yichenguo)获取更新吧!

Finally, I’m on my way to Bende Lake Wildlife Observation Station where I’ve been thinking of all the time. The view was awesome along the way with the road half mud half-wild. There were some tourists visiting the post office when I was there saying that they had tried several times to drive to Bende Lake but failed every time. That was reasonable because unless it’s the local herdsman or staff from the observation station, it is too difficult to arrive at the lake without driving into mud or river. 
终于启程,去往我心心念念的班德湖野生动物观测站。一路上风景绝佳,一半乡土路,一半几乎看不出来的野路。之前在邮局值班的时候遇到过一些想自驾去班德湖的游客,说是尝试了好几次都找不到路。这也难怪,若非当地居民或长期在观测站工作的人,找到一条能够安全抵达班德湖并且不陷进泥里不开进河里的路简直太难了。

The grassland here is very weak. Every 100mu (66667sqm) grass can only feed one sheep. Therefore even though every family has hundreds of thousands mu grassland, they can only herd thousands of sheep. Plus the wild animals also consume a part of it. The further we are from the town, the more wildlife we see on the sides, including agile Tibetan gazelles, groups of kiangs, pikas and mice all over the ground, extremely fat marmots, and when we’re close to the station, we saw a huge Eurasian eagle-owl standing right on one of the outdoor cameras.
这里的草皮都很脆弱,100亩的地只能养活1只羊,一家几十万亩放牧用地即使全部充分利用也只能养活几千只羊而已。外加众多的野生动物也会消耗掉一部分。随着越来越远离城镇,我们越来越多地看到机敏的藏原羚、成群的藏野驴、遍地鼠兔和老鼠、肥出天际的土拨鼠(这里习惯直接叫学名旱獭),接近观测站的时候甚至看到一只巨大的雕號站立在其中一个外架摄像机上。

My work here is super busy. Those days that I could find free time like in the conservation center is gone for good. And even my journals can only be written irregularly whenever I have time. Since I arrived early in the morning I started to do the handover work with the previous photographer. After lunch when they left, only Mr. Yang and I worked in the control room, well, most of the time only I was there. The work content is not to be publicized just yet, so I only record the interesting things while observing the animal world.
这里的工作异常繁忙。保护站可以忙里偷闲的日子一去不复返了。甚至日志都只能不定期补写。自打到了这里便开始与上一任的摄影师交接,中午他们走后控制室便只剩下我和杨老师,大部分时间只有我一个人。目前的工作内容尚不便公开,我只记下观察动物世界的趣闻吧。

More wildlife to come…
更多野生动物,敬请期待……

The world of Pallas’s gull and brown-headed gull is very cruel. Chicks without parents around would be attacked easily, and even lost their lives. Dead chicks will be eaten by either the same type of birds or another type or used to build their nest. When they feed their own chicks they throw up the swallowed dead birds, if the chick couldn’t finish it, the parent would swallow the remaining again. Besides other birds, the Pallas’s gull may also throw up mice… well… anyway, I’ve never really seen them eating fish (in Chinese Pallas’s gull literally is fish gull). Brown-headed gull’s world is filled with thieves and vagabonds. Any bird may steal branches from another family’s nest, even the chicks not born for long could do this as well. Some gulls without partners would gather together to wander around the whole area and especially attack those chicks whose parents are not home. 
鱼鸥、棕头鸥的世界是相当残酷的。幼鸟没有父母在身边就会被攻击,甚至致命。死掉的小鸟会被同类或其他种类的鸟吃掉或用来筑巢。这些鸟喂养自己的小鸟时会把吞下去的其他幼鸟再吐出来,小鸟没吃完的话再吞回去。除了别的幼鸟,鱼鸥也常常会吐出整只死老鼠。嗯……我反而没见过它们吃鱼。棕头鸥的世界则充满了小偷和无赖。任何一只鸟都可能会从别家的鸟巢上偷树枝,甚至连刚出生没多久的幼鸟都有这样的盗窃行为。有一些没有伴侣的棕头鸥则拉帮结伙到处乱窜,专门欺负父母不在身边的幼鸟。

Meanwhile, the one on top of the food chain here, the black-necked cranes, is even more brutal. They don’t eat dead eggs or birds, they would peck the birds that are brooding the eggs away to eat the unhatched chicks inside the eggs. All their food must be fresh. Their high standard for living qualities is in line with their elegance. Their nests are usually at the most beautiful and quiet places in the area. They also breed their chicks carefully. There are normally two eggs per family and both parents take turns to brood. When the first chick comes out, one of them take care of the chick, another continue brooding, and then take turns. What a wonderful life. Black-necked cranes are famous for their faithfulness. Each of them has only one lifetime partner. If one of them dies, the other would either die of depression or they live on without ever mating with another one. However, what we observed is not so in accordance with their image. There are two black-necked crane families here and they’ve nested far away from each other. Both families are brooding. Once the male of one family and the female of another were brooding, their partners then fly away to another island to play together. Their actions seem romantic. This reminds me of something I read in <The Selfish Gene>. Many monogamy birds actually cheat on their partners in a high ratio, no different from humans. 
而这里食物链顶端的黑颈鹤则更是心狠手辣。死鸟死蛋他们都不吃,他们会把正在孵蛋的鸟赶走,吃蛋里未孵出的幼鸟,所有食物必须是新鲜的。怎么说呢,这些家伙对生活质量的要求很符合他们优雅的姿态。筑巢的位置往往也是一片区域里风景最好最少干扰的地方。育儿也精,每窝一般两个蛋,雌雄两鸟轮流孵蛋。先出来一只幼鸟后,一只带娃一只孵蛋,生活极其美满和谐。黑颈鹤向来以痴情闻名,严格实行一夫一妻,其中一只死后另一只不是抑郁而终就是孤独终老,再不会与其他黑颈鹤交配。然而我们却看到了与它们的形象不符的景象。这里共有两个黑颈鹤家庭,筑巢很远,互相看不见彼此。两家都在孵蛋中,有一次其中一家的雄鸟和另一家的雌鸟孵蛋,他们的配偶便双双飞到附近的一个岛上约会游玩了,行为举止暧昧异常。这让我想起之前在《自私的基因》中看到的,很多一夫一妻制的鸟类,实质上出轨率都很高,跟人没啥区别。

Evolution is amazing. I’m not sure about all birds, but at least all of them here know to turn the eggs from time to time while they brood to make sure the warmth is even. 
进化真是个神奇的东西,我不确定是不是所有鸟类都有同样的特点,至少在这里,所有孵蛋的鸟儿都本能地知道隔段时间翻下蛋,让所有的蛋受热均匀。

When I finally finished work it was already eleven at night. I saw Mr. Yang making his folded bed in the glass room so I asked if he just sleeps there. And then I got the answer, ‘Yes, I’m on duty here. In case the bear comes.’
晚上结束工作已是晚上十一点。我看到杨老师在玻璃房放下了折叠床铺上被褥便问他,杨老师你就睡这里吗?得到的回复是:“对呀我要在这值班,防止熊来。”



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