October Sunday

Paddle with me for a while. I want to show you something.

But we must be quick because here the fall palette is subtle and it doesn't last long.

Don't forget to look down from time to time. The dark water makes an excellent mirror on calm days and provides interesting patterns on windy days.

Just remember, the camera can't see with the heart, so come with me and see what I see...


One Tough Mama

As soon as I approached, this mother lynx spider (Peucetia viridans) moved to protect her young. She was quite impressive, waving her long, spiky front legs at the camera lens.

Lynx moms are serious about their maternal duties...

...as this wheel bug (Arilus cristatus) found out the hard way.

A wheel bug is a formidable beast in its own right and can deliver a painful, piercing bite - I'd advise against picking one up.

About 80 Miles, WSW

Yesterday, while attending a workshop on self-guided interpretive trail design, I had some time to take a walk in the rain (time is something one has in abundance when one misreads the starting time for one's class and arrives two hours early). Walking in wet woods holds a special appeal for me. There is something about the quality of the light, the muted sounds and the deep fragrance of the duff that touches me in a way I can't quite describe.

The park where the class was held is in North Carolina's fall zone, an area of transition between our coastal plain and piedmont regions. Although it is only about 80 miles to my west southwest, it is an area quite different from the coastal plain. I enjoyed having the opportunity to walk up an actual hill and see those most intriguing of objects, rocks. We don't have rocks in the swamp and our highest "hill" in the home swamp reaches the staggering elevation of 40 feet. All of my adult life I have lived in the northeastern coastal plain of NC and I love it here, but deep inside I guess there lurks a child of the piedmont and I sometimes miss the hills, rocks, and yes, even the red clay that I grew up with.


A Mighty Mite

Brightly colored and energetic, mites such as this often catch my eye as they motor through the underbrush. One of the velvet mites, Trombidium sp., she was about 3 or 4 mm long and refused to be still for a proper picture.
(Note to self: Break out the hand lotion and apply liberally!)

Stinkhorn Fungus

This appears to be a Stinky Squid, Pseudocolus fusiformis. I found it quite by accident while I was looking for something else - perhaps Serendipitous Squid would be a better name...nah, it was pretty smelly so Stinky fits.

Where There's Smoke

I travelled to another park yesterday to assist in a prescribed burn. Things went well all day - a good start to our burn season.


I find myself becoming cautiously optimistic...I'm going to sneak away now and return tomorrow...

and this is another test

this is a test



Blogger, or perhaps Picasa, is misbehaving and I am displeased. My pictures are not loading properly. Anyone out there know why this might be the case?? I haven't changed anything that I am aware of, haven't futzed around with any settings...so, any ideas? You people are way smarter than me and I need your help :/


Especially for Jane

I have a friend who reads this blog on occasion and she loves her reptiles and amphibians. So, just for Ranger Jane, here is a picture of the great big toad Treebeard and I found on the trail in Baxter State Park in Maine.

Meet Baxter, the honking-big Maine toad. As close as I can tell it is an American toad (Bufo americanus). It was quite impressive and of course, it peed all over Treebeard's hand.


Cutie Pie

Normally I don't like to post pictures of spiders unless I can ID them but I'm going to make an exception this time. This jumping spider, sitting atop Flamebrain's very red car, was just too cute to leave languishing in a file on my computer. ( As soon as I key him out I'll be back with an ID.)



The planets are refusing to align for me. I'm sure it is a cosmic conspiracy. Things simply will not calm down enough around here to allow me the time to blog. I have more vacation pictures to post and I owe you some text for the last post...maybe next week, while I'm recovering from PRK on my right eye. We'll see (no pun intended).