Firstly, there were three people (my old office mates) who were away. Susie Cunningham, who is an amazing expert on the bill tip organ of kiwi and how they use it to find food (as well as the bill tip organ of a number of other birds), was away in the UK. Susie is working on the effects of heat on birds, with a view to understanding how climate change will impact bird populations [one of Susie's papers]. Secondly, Susie's PhD student and fellow Kalahari veteran Tanja van de Ven. Tanja is studying the same hornbill population that I helped Mike Finnie set up and looking at temperature effects on these amazing birds, using some cool thermal imaging video! Thirdly, Marie-Sophie Garcia-Heras (a mouthful of a name!) who is doing a PhD investigating factors that influence the movement of black harriers.
But I did get to see some people, and spend some time in the pub (where all serious science is done). Arjun Amar, who is now collaborating with Susie on the red-winged starlings that inhabit the campus, has been really successful with his work on sparrowhawks. Arjun has recently been involved in some slightly controversial but really important work on grouse and bearded vultures. Margaux Rat has just started a post doc with Susie on the Hot Birds Project after finishing her PhD on social weavers. Margaux's PhD was looking at the social interactions of this species that lives in such large complex colonies, she's got some papers in the works so watch this space! I also got to catch up with Chevonne Reynolds, who's just wrapping up her thesis investigating the much maligned Egyptian goose (which I always get told is actually a shell duck!) and she's recently had a paper published in Diversity and Distributions.
So all amazing scientists doing great work. If your interested in any of the stuff they are doing then look them up and I'm sure they'd be happy to speak to you!
The Fitz is a great place to do research and the people are one of the things that makes it.