Monday, August 17, 2009
It was Monday again. I did the usual routine, drive the park, put up the flags, open the gate, drive to the office. I stayed in the office way too long today doing paperwork and phoning septic maintenance people and such. The sky was very gray again today and there were very very few people in the park. Around 10:00, I took a break from paperwork to take a walk around the park. I opened the cabin and found another mysterious caterpillar of the same variety as the one I saw on Saturday. When I got down to the river, I saw that a group of canoers were taking a break from paddling to enjoy the spring. I picked up some garbage while I chatted with one of them. They are going all the way to the Gulf, about 72 more river miles. I hope to make that trip one day, I think it would be a lot of fun. I have seen many places along the river, but it would be great to see them all connected.
I was able to photograph another dragonfly while I was down at the water's edge. Also, while I was on the river dock, I finally photographed my first Red-spotted Purple of the season. It was very interested in a pile of algae that a Mullet fisherman had left behind on the dock. This is the same type of butterfly that was teasing me on Saturday and landed on my hand. As I made my way to the spring side of the park, I talked to the only other visitor that was in the park until late in the afternoon. I also saw a Velvet Ant. These vibrant insects are not really ants, but wingless wasps. Some people call them Cow Killers because I hear that they have a painful sting. I see them often, but I have never talked to anyone who has actually been stung by one. They are easy to spot and quick moving, they are easy to avoid.
I spent most of my afternoon at Ichetucknee, dropping off paperwork, picking up supplies, and making copies of our brochure. When I got back, I had lunch and took another walk through the park. It was still empty and I was enjoying watching the dark sky and listening to a very distant thunder rumbling. It was nice to feel a breeze again too, its been a while. On the walk down to the spring and back, I spotted a lot of living things, as always. I actually caught a photo of a damselfly. They are similar to dragonflies and very closely related, but usually damselflies will rest with their wings together and dragonflies rest with their wings spread. I saw several very small lizards, but this Green Anole really caught my attention. He watched me closely to see if he needed to hide or not. I was flattered that he felt comfortable enough to stay. The last photos are of another dragonfly. I have decided that I have to buy either a caterpillar or a dragonfly book next with all of luck I have been having photographing them. I couldn't decide which of these two photos to post for this last dragonfly. Its solid blue body was just stunning, but I think that their eyes are really interesting too. You get both!
On a very unrelated side note, I wanted to share an interesting coincidence that I just found out about last night during a phone conversation with my parents. The photo of myself as a child that I posted in the blog about how I became a Park Ranger, was taken by my brother soon after he had gotten the camera that he later gave to me. That camera is what fueled my initial interest in photography and that photo is one of my favorites. Thanks B!