Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Quiet Saturday

I guess the weather kept people away today. Apparently, the impending doom of thunderstorms was visible to everyone but me. It was gray and cloudy this morning, but that passed quickly and it was really pretty sunny most of the day. When my evening relief came in, they told me that it was pouring rain in Branford (just 6 miles down the road)... it was still sunny at Troy. The weather radio started squawking and informed us that there were severe thunderstorms just south of us. As I look out the window now, it is starting to get darker. We might actually see some rain before the day is out. The past few weekends when the park was slow and I decided to get involved with a project, the crowds showed up and left me with a lot of work and a half-finished project. Today, I thought I was being smart and I just waited and waited for the point when there were more than 5 cars in the parking lot... it never happened. I ended up just walking around, talking to the same few visitors, and chasing bugs. Yep, chasing bugs. There were butterflies every where and I am beginning to think that I am a game for them. I tried in vain to photograph the same solitary Red-spotted Purple butterfly for several minutes on several different occasions. It kept just flittering and fluttering around the office area and landing in the sun on the ground. Every time I approached it with my camera, it would fly off again. It sat on the low roof over the office porch once and I tried, with my camera over my head to take a picture and missed. I finally gave up and was on my way to my truck when it landed on my HAND! I fumbled with my camera with my left hand to try to get it out and turned on, but I am very right-handed and the butterfly finally flew off before I was able to get it together. I tried again to chase it a little, but still no luck. I imagine that the butterfly had a great time watching me struggle and chase after it.
The first visitors in the park this morning had some wildlife troubles of their own. I was picking up litter in the picnic area when they pulled in. I greeted them and they headed down the walkway to the springs. They weren't gone long when I noticed one of them running back up the walkway. I thought maybe she had forgotten something in the car, but when she got to the top, she told me that they saw a snake. I walked back with her and told her that most likely the snake was harmless. When we reached her companions, I saw that the little Oak Snake was barely peeking out of the planter above the walkway. I told them that they would be safe and stood near the snake while they walked around. I'm really not sure if the people were more relieved that I saved them from the snake or if the snake was more relieved that I saved him from the people but the truth of the matter is that I just stood there while everyone went about their business. It gave me a laugh though.
During all of the walking around that I did this morning, I did manage to get some good bug shots. I was surprised at how many dragonflies I was able to photograph today. They are usually too quick unless I catch them when they are dead or dieing. I missed way more butterflies today than I actually caught. The sun was bright and hot and they were moving quickly. The only butterfly that I was able to photograph today was a lovely little Tropical Checkered-Skipper. It was too busy feeding on a flower to be bothered by me. I also saw a very fat caterpillar that was likely looking for a place to pupate. I haven't seen one like it before and a quick search online didn't help much. For now, it is a mystery caterpillar.

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