Taking a Break

This rat snake was enjoying a quiet moment beside the boardwalk until I disturbed it.



Sorry about that, little guy.

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Entirely Too Busy

One of these days I will have time to blog -- for now I'll just give you a pretty little warbler to look at...a prothonotary warbler to be exact.

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Farewell, Hannah


Hannah passed away peacefully in her sleep today...a fitting end for a faithful friend. She was well loved and will be missed. At 16 she was hard of hearing, couldn't see well and had a bit of trouble getting around, but she was a happy dog right up to the end. We are grateful for the years of companionship and love we shared with her.
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Spring Sprang and the Pollen Flew

No, that's not sand...that's pollen. Don't you love all the insect tracks weaving through it?



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Black Swallowtail

While I'm on the subject of butterflies...


Black Swallowtail
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A Different Kind of Butterfly

Worn to a frazzle, but still flying...

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This is a butterfly called the harvester, Feniseca tarquinius. As adults these butterflies do not visit flowers for nectar. Instead, they feed on the honeydew produced by aphids, sap, dung, and the water from mud. The caterpillar is carnivorous and feeds on aphids and develops very rapidly. Pretty cool critter.



The weatherman neglected to mention the possibility of frost for last night. We, as well as this eastern tailed-blue, were taken by surprise.
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Happy Friday


Some days you eat the bugs, other days the bugs eat you. Check out the fat skeeter on the green frog's back leg.
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Harlequin darners have a thing for trunks of trees. It is not unusual to find several at once warming up on the sunny side of a tree in the spring. This fellow was hanging out all by himself though...



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Sawyers Creek Paddle

Last Wednesday was one of my days off. We wanted to go out for a paddle, but the wind was kicking up a bit. I have reached the age that I don't want to fight the wind while I'm paddling - getting old and lazy I reckon ;) We looked at a few maps and I suggested a creek paddle that I've been wanting to do. Treebeard is my weatherman and he noted that the wind shouldn't bother us too much given the orientation of this particular creek. He's pretty good about things like that so I usually trust him.

We put in off the NC Wildlife boat ramp and headed north.  The day was beautiful and we had good company.  A friend of ours from Vermont was in the area doing a bit of camping.  He comes down each year about this time and spends a couple of weeks camping and exploring -- plus, he brings maple syrup and good cheese ;-)

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We observed quite a few turtles along the way.  The one above is a spotted turtle, while the two below are both painted turtles - one a little more brightly "painted" than the other...

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The birding was good along the creek.  Among others, our list included an adult little blue heron, blue-winged and green-winged teal, ospreys, a great blue heron and these two black-crowned night herons.  The night herons were particularly good at avoiding being photographed.  If you click on the picture to enlarge it you may be able to make out the red eyes of the herons.
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Our paddle was not a particularly long one, but it was a very enjoyable one. We will be floating Sawyers Creek again I'm sure.


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And All the Reptiles Came Out to Play

Thursday was my day off and we found ourselves out on the pond. It was a beautiful, warm day and it seemed that all sorts of reptiles had come out to play...

Gator resting on a log, unperturbed by all the passersby.

A male fence lizard spent some time running up and down along a fallen tree, even running under me at one point!  I didn't know what had him in such a tizzy until I spied another male fence lizard on the root ball of the fallen tree.  Aha!  Game on!!

There was much running hither and yon and male posturing.  They showed off their respective blueness, impressed each other with push-ups, and tussled a bit before one of them ran off.  I'm not sure why the winner won, but that doesn't matter seeing as how I am not a female fence lizard ;)

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In the transition area between the pond and the swamp we found quite a few brown water snakes.  Some were small and content to curl up on spindly saplings...

while others enjoyed a swim -- the water really brings out the pattern and colors of the snake.

This one opted for a fluffier resting spot in amongst a clump of Spanish moss...

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while this one found a shrub more to its liking.

This one sought sun on multiple levels and kept an eye on us as we paddled past.

But perhaps the oddest reptile of the day was this little fellow...look closely, he's in there...

We had paddled up next to a decaying tree trunk because I wanted to get a picture of a dragonfly that had just emerged. The wind was blowing and we were having trouble getting to the right spot so I reached out to steady us. As I reached for the tree I noticed something black pushing itself out from behind the bark. I drew my hand back a bit and reached for my reading glasses...what the heck was that thing? My attention was so focused on the black object that I failed to notice I was being watched. Seems a little stinkpot had wedged himself up behind the bark of the tree with his plastron facing out toward the bark. The black object that I had taken to be some sort of alien, tentacled slug, was rather the back leg of said stinkpot.  The whole episode made us all laugh.  The turtle, however,  was not amused and dropped down into the water.

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No Time to Blog!

Despite my best intentions, I have not been able to put together a post with photos from my "weekend." Today is my Monday so I'm heading off to work now. There are a few photos I'd like to share, nothing spectacular mind you, but I did want to get them up while they are still relevant. Oh well...perhaps tonight after work. Meanwhile I will leave you with this cottonmouth we saw yesterday. He was a beauty!

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