When I headed out to work this morning I had two goals: 1) find some deer scat and take a picture of it, 2) find a toad and get it to leave tracks in some substrate I had prepared. Yes, these were actual work goals. I need the photo and tracks for an exhibit over at the work swamp.
The home swamp is more easily accessible at the moment than the work swamp, deer are everywhere and toads are not scarce, so I figured I would have what I needed in a couple of hours at most. Ha! As a matter of fact, make that a double "Ha!"
Had I been looking for turkey I would have been delighted - I saw two hens and six poults, plenty of fresh droppings, a dust bath, and numerous tracks.
Had I been looking for snakes I would have been happy with the black racer sunning on a stump and the cottonmouth I nearly stepped on.
Had I been looking for raccoon sign things would have been just peachy. I found tracks and fresh scat full of blackberry seeds.
Had I been looking for rabbits I would have been giddy with joy - three adult rabbits and four "teen-age" rabbits.
And then there were the warblers, the herons, the ducks, the spiders, the box turtles, the yellow-bellied sliders, the lizards...you get the idea.
Sure, I found actual deer. Even followed them for a while -- no poop. I pushed my way through some wicked blackberry brambles and found a narrow deer trail. You'd think there would be poop. Nope. I found a spot where deer had bedded down and scouted around. No luck.
As for the toad, the only one I found was about the size of my thumbnail. Not much good for making tracks. (Sunday when we went out walking I found three adult toads within about fifteen minutes - of course I wasn't looking for toads on Sunday).
It was hot, it was muggy, the mosquitoes, ticks and biting flies were out in force, the brambles and briars were full of thorns but there was no poop, and there were no toads. Guess you could say Ranger Swamp got skunked -- but you know what? I had a great morning at work :)
Cottontail on the boardwalk.
Same cottontail in the brush, munching on a piece of grass.