A mysterious, glowing orb appeared in the sky today. A little research revealed that it was the sun -- remarkable! Treebeard, Trekker (formerly known as Hippie on this blog) and I headed out for a hike.

We weren't the only ones enjoying the sunshine. I zoomed my camera to absolute max to snap a picture of basking turtles. They were too far away for me to make a positive ID.

The pond is running high from all of our recent rainfall. At long last it is easy to find open water after a spring, summer, and fall of heavy duckweed cover.

From the far-away to the upclose...
The trunks of beech trees make great spots to find interesting things. Here we have a case-bearing moth doubling as a sundail.

Another photo to add to my critter scat file. Here we have the lovely leavings of a slug. A squiggle of slug scat...

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A diminutive spider was soaking up the rays on another beech trunk. It's probably a dolomedes, but I'm not certain.

And chillin' out under a log we found a few nice red-backed salamanders. Hardy little creatures.
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What I don't have photos of are the frogs that were out and about. I saw, very briefly, five frogs. Three were cricket frogs and two were southern leopards. None of the five wished to have its photo taken. Too bad.

Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be sunny, too -- we'll see. And of course, the weatherman predicts rain for Treebeard's birthday (known to most of you as New Year's Eve) and New Year's Day.


Carol said...

Slug scat...I know I'll have to come back again just to see what is next. I enjoyed all the tracks.


kaholly said...

That's alot of activity for the end of December! But I suppose that's an advantage to living in S. Carolina! Lovely photos. Esp. the slug scat!!

jason said...

I've never seen slug scat before (or maybe I've seen it but didn't know what it was). Very cool!

I do love that a bit of sunshine in winter can bring out a surprising amount of life.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Slug scat? Really? It's just one of those things that one doesn't really contemplate, even those of us who are into scats! But, the things do eat, so they must eliminate. Well...just goes to show that you never really know what you will encounter.

swamp4me said...

One never knows what one might find ;)

It's always fun to poke around little protected areas here in winter. The critters seem to take advantage of the microclimates they find. Oh, and it's North Carolina -- not that other Carolina ;)

The temps that day were low 40s. I've always read that 45 degrees F is the magic temp for ectothermic critters.

I have another picture of some sort of scat that I will post if and when I figure out what, uh, left it. As the book says, everything poops!

jason said...

That 45-degree temp is probably a safe average, Swampy, but no one told nature about the limit. I live in the south as well and I know herps, insects, arachnids and whatnot come out so long as they can grab some warmth. Temps in the thirties with cooters on logs soaking up rays and anoles running around my patio fence chasing insects stopped surprising me years ago--but only after much shock with me trying to convince the animals that they shouldn't be out when it was that cold!

swamp4me said...

I've seen them out on colder days, too. Ground skinks are notorious for roaming about on cold, sunny days.