Last year's leaves are still hanging tight on many of the American beeches here. It adds a little color and relief to the landscape of otherwise barren, gray branches out in the woods. My eyes long for the greens of spring, but for now I will content myself with the whisper of the beech leaves in the wind.


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As I have mentioned before on this blog, beaver lodges come and go on the millpond. The one pictured below was abandoned quite some time ago. So long that all the sticks and mud have washed away, revealing what the interior of the lodge looks like. This one appears to have been quite roomy. Wonder why the beavers abandoned it and why some other enterprising beaver family hasn't rebuilt it?



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Happy Birthday to Me!

Today has been quite wonderful. The weather was perfect, the scenery was grand and the company was top notch...what more could a girl want on her birthday?

Here are just a few of the presents I received today...


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Even the gator is smiling! Life is good.


Quite the Quirky Quercus

We paddled down Bennett's Creek today. I didn't get many pictures, but I thought I'd share this one...


It's an oak tree growing right next to the main run of the creek. I'm not quite sure what caused the odd growths, but the woodpeckers seem to find them intriguing. The apex of each projection had a tidy little excavation -- that was worded in an odd way, I know. If I had left it as I had originally written it, this post would have had received hits from people searching for something completely different ;)
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Unfortunate Lagomorph

Based upon its cranial characteristics, I believe this unfortunate lagomorph was a marsh rabbit, Sylvilagus palustris. Provided, of course, that my reference book, Wild Mammals of North America, edited by Chapman and Feldhamer, is correct. The habitat was also more suitable to a marsh rabbit than an eastern cottontail...


I have always been curious about that set of "pegged" teeth behind the upper incisors...
One of these days I may actually get around to doing a little reading about those teeth -- but not today.
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A side note...yesterday I mentioned the OLF in my post. Today, when I checked my site meter, I discovered the Navy had visited my blog -- four times, beginning with that post. Could be coincidence, could be something else. Either way, I find it interesting...


Butterflies, Tadpoles and Buds

Treebeard and I explored the Sand Banks today. It's an area in the western part of the county near the Chowan River. Sadly, it is also one of the sites the Navy is considering for an outlying landing field. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't get selected...

Winter's grip has loosened up a bit, at least for the time being. Our highs today and this weekend are expected to be in the 50s with plenty of sunshine. It's about time -- this has been a cold winter.

Some things we saw today...

A question mark (Polygonia interrogationis), one of the anglewing butterflies.

A good-sized tadpole enjoying some sunshine. I'm not sure which species of frog this is.

And a tight little highbush blueberry bud, waiting...
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Determined Dandelions

As soon as all the snow melted, determined dandelions started blooming. I love dandelions...


If the weathermen are to be believed, we are in for a snow-free weekend. Awesome!!!
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Walking the Line

The past two days were fun, tiring, but fun. One of a ranger's job responsibilities is to mark boundary line. In a swamp, boundaries can be challenging. We marked one really wet section on Tuesday -- only one picture to share from that boundary...
That was the easy part. I had to put my camera away for the rest of it. It's hard to keep a camera at hand when you are hacking your way through cane, walking logs and wading through water that's up to or well over your knees.

Not all parts of the swamp are wet though. Yesterday found us on high ground that was wrapped up in vines. Here you see me going through an "easy" part.

Uh oh, the swamp ate the ranger. I'm in there somewhere...
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I live for days like these - and I say that with all seriousness. Yes, I do love my job! What made these days even better was the fact that Treebeard came along as a volunteer -- you gotta love a retired ranger who is willing and able to share his years of experience!!


Down at the Bridge

While I was manning the bridge today I had a little avian company. This cormorant dropped in to do a little fishing and then hopped up on the fender to dry off a bit. I didn't get any good, clear shots but I got a couple of passably fair shots to share. Hope everyone had a happy Monday!



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Note: My keyboard issue, while not resolved, has improved. The zero key is still quite touchy but random zeros are not appearing with the frequency they did yesterday. I am cautiously optimistic...


O)h Wo0e Is Me

No0tice anything o00000000000dd abo0ut this po0st? What's that you0 say...zero0000000000000s are ap0p0earing in o0dd p0laces and so0metimes running amuck? Yeah, I no0ticed that to0o0000000000000000000000000. It's a new keybo0ard and it seems to0 have issues; issues that I am to0o0 tired and discou0rged to0 deal with to0night. So0 co0mments will go0 unanswered, emails will go000000000000000 untyp0ed. But, to0mo0rro0w is ano0ther day and I will p0repare myself fo0r battle o0f the techno0lo0000000000gical so0rt.
Night, night.


Yet Again

Snow, for the third Saturday in a row. Now don't get me wrong, I like snow. I think it is beautiful when it falls and I love to go for a walk in snow-silenced woods...but seriously, three Saturdays in a row?!? These shots were taken as I left for work this morning.




Oh, and on a side note...I picked up a tick at some point on Friday when I was out hiking in the freezing cold. The little sucker managed to get herself attached on my back. Now I will be on tick-borne illness alert for the next two or three weeks. Arrgghhh!
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Winter Renovations

Beavers are interesting creatures. They will use a lodge for a number of years then abandon it. After a while another beaver will decide that the abandoned property looks promising and will begin renovations. Such is the case with this particular lodge...

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Ready, Set, Count!

Just a reminder that the Great Backyard Bird Count begins today! It's fun, simple and free to participate. For details visit the webpage.  


AWOL No More

Yes, I have been slack but I have also been out of town for the past several days. Trust me when I tell you you would not want to see pictures of where I have been -- unless of course you find submerged firing ranges appealing. Let me tell you, I did not find it to be so grand. If you have never shot in cold, pouring rain while standing ankle deep in rainwater, then you don't know what you're missing ;)

Thanks for all the comments that have been left - I know I usually answer them individually, but I'm just too pooped to think of appropriate responses. Please know that I appreciate each and every comment (well, maybe not the spam comments...)

Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to venture out someplace interesting and snap a photo or two...but right now I am going to enjoy a nice dark beer and then hit the sack.