Saturday, August 8, 2009
This morning was really quiet. I opened the park, put up the flags, did my drive through the park and headed to the office. I got my paperwork done and got caught up on e-mail after my days off. I was surprised to see that after all of that, no one was in the park yet. I took a walk through the park and found some neat mushrooms. They were pink! They were all around the same tree, but there was one group of small ones and one group of larger ones. The larger ones reminded me of a big floppy sun hat. A quick Google search didn't turn up anything like these mushrooms, so I don't know anything about them. I also saw a Red-shouldered Hawk. It was a larger hawk so I don't think it was one of our group of young hawks. During my walk, two divers pulled in. They were happy to have the spring to themselves on a Saturday.
Because it was so slow, I decided to start a little project to keep myself busy. I washed my truck, something that it desperately needed. It looked so shiny and new (if you ignore the 10 years of dents and scrapes from being a park truck). As you would expect though, as soon as I got halfway through with my truck, the visitors started pouring in. A crowd showed up all at once. Suddenly there were dive tanks being unloaded from trunks, snorkels and fins being pulled from bags, children climbing out of the back of a pick-up truck, and a small gopher tortoise running for its little life across the parking lot. I find out that one group of visitors has brought the tortoise to the park. Amid people trying to pay me, greeting other people, and explaining why the tortoise shouldn't be let free in the park, I am chasing down the tortoise to take it back to where it came from.
***Public Service Announcement*** Please don't interfere with nature. I know that it seems like a state park is a great place to drop off the animal that you found on the side of the road or the dog that you no longer want, but its not the best idea. You could introduce outside illnesses or exotic species or cause problems that you just can't anticipate. People who have brought animals to the me at the park in the past had the best intentions. They found an animal on the side of the road or a young bird fell out of a tree. Its hard to know when to step in and try to help an animal and when to let nature take its course. The rule of thumb that I live by is that if nature made it happen, let nature take its course. If a mother bird pushed her chick out of the nest, there may have been a reason why. Even when its sad, its nature's way. If a person caused harm to an animal, I think it is reasonable for a person to step in and help. While we are on the topic, I also think that if a bug is in your house you have the right to do what you see fit (i.e. relocate, squish or spray) but when you are in a bug's house, the great outdoors, leave it alone... some pests excluded.***End of Public Service Announcement***
I took the tortoise back to where the people said that they found it. She was so happy to run away from me! Once I had finished talking to everyone and checking payments and dive certifications and finishing washing my truck, it was well past lunch time. I headed home for a quick bite to eat and found a dragonfly on the way. It didn't move much at all and I was able to get several shots of it. It fluttered a few times and it was gone when I returned so I know it was alive. It was the same kind as the one that I saw in the cabin a few weeks ago. I don't know what its called though, I don't have a dragonfly field guide... I may have to add that to my wish list... and a mushroom guide too. I wonder if the sluggishness that I saw with both of these dragonflies is a normal characteristic of this type or if I encountered both of them near the end of their lives.
After lunch, I spent the rest of my day talking to park visitors and drinking water. It was hot out today! It ended up not being a very busy day, but the small crowd that we had kept me busy. The day was over in a flash!