In Your Eye

Despite appearances to the contrary, I was neither drunk nor on drugs (at least not the kind you're thinking of) when I took this picture of my eye. I was sitting in my car waiting for my pupils to return to normal size after a visit to the eye doctor. Said eye doctor will be performing PRK surgery on one of my eyes in a couple of weeks...not this eye, the left one. He spent two hours on a pre-surgery evaluation. You will be happy to know that I have healthy eyes and he has great confidence in a positive outcome for me with this procedure. It is always good to have someone with great confidence manning the laser that is going to vaporize part of your cornea...don't you think? ;) Posted by Picasa


You Otter Be In Pictures

Look who was looking at me this morning. There were two, but the other was too fast for me. After snapping a couple of pictures I just sat back and enjoyed the show. The otters were playing in the bubbles and catching the occassional fish, but mainly they seemed to be just enjoying a mild November morning.



Mind If I Come In?

By rights, I should be posting this on SwampStuff since it happened in the work swamp. But it's early and I forgot to tell 'Hello' to change blogs...

Most of the time hunting hounds are wary and hard to catch. Not this fellow, he came right into the office yesterday morning. He's young and inexperienced and he was tired after being out all night. Despite the fact that he's wearing a radio collar, his owner hadn't been able to locate him. Luckily the dog's regular collar had a tag with the owner's name and phone number. Good thing, too. I don't need another dog right now ;)

It's tough being a dog...



A leaf from one of my favorite trees, the sycamore (Platanus occidentalis).


Bear Scat

While it is commonplace to find bear scat at my work swamp, it is less common to find it at Treebeard's work swamp (aka, the home swamp). So we have been quite pleased to have found scat the past two weekends. Last Sunday we found some along a trail several hundred yards behind the house. Yesterday found we two separate, uh, piles along a trail about a mile from the house.

A pretty pile of poo to start your Monday :) This one had a variety of seeds in it. Some were from Smilax, some from devil's walking stick (Aralia spinosa), some from black gum (Nyssa biflora), and some we couldn't identify.

We're not sure what kind of seeds these are, but whatever they are the bear seemed to like the fruit they were in.

At first I thought this scat had hair in it - bear are not adverse to eating carrion. But upon closer examination, the "hair" turned out to be loads of tiny fungi. Anybody know a good mycologist?


On a Warm November Morning

A couple of things I wanted to share from this morning's walk:

Sunny Sunday morning.

A young eastern fence lizard soaking up some rays.

Leaves on the water.

Just because I liked the way they looked.

Yellow-legged meadowhawk, female

As a courtesy to SquirrleyMojo, I have left out the photos of the bear scat we found on our walk. It did have some pretty interesting fungi growing on it though -- maybe I'll post that tomorrow ;)


Virgin Cypress, Revisited

Virgin cypress, way up in the swamp. This tree is estimated to be over 1000 years old and is over 28 feet in circumference.

I paid it a visit back in June and revisited it yesterday. Even though this isn't my work swamp, I got to go along so I could get pictures of the rangers measuring this tree. It may very well be the largest cypress in NC now...


Swamp Chicken

Cypress knees come in some pretty odd shapes and sizes. The knee pictured above happens to be one of my favorites. It reminds me of a chicken :)


Love a Spider

There are spiders just about everywhere you look this time of year. Their gossamer fills the air and delights the eye -- but it also aggravates the face :) I couldn't get a picture of the silk floating by so I settled for a couple of shots of one of my favorite spiders.

A marbled orb-weaver, Araneus marmoreus, tucked away in her maple leaf shelter.

Another weaver, hard at work repairing her web.


November Cat

Imperial moth caterpillar - Eacles imperialis. This cat was about 3 inches (~8 cm) long and quite plump. Before long it should be headed to an underground cell to spend the winter as a pupa.

Now that's a face with personality



Even though it's November, there is still plenty of green in the woods here. Things are beginning to change though. I noticed a marked increase in autumn color toward the end of last week. It won't last long, of course. Soon the leaves will fall, allowing the bare branches of winter to offer up their own particular beauty.

But meanwhile, poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) provides a bright spot. Despite its tendency to make most people itch, it is an attractive plant in spring, summer, and fall.

The pond is showing some color. Autumn offers a more subtle palette here, but it is still pretty.

Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) are interesting trees. They are deciduous conifers, dropping all their needles each fall. I find the russet shades of these trees quite attractive.


Outside Today

I loaded 34 pictures into my tray on Picassa and then clicked on 'Collage'. Picassa used the first 17 pictures to create this picture grid.