Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Change In The Air

What a beautiful day! It really felt like fall today. The air was crisp, there was a nice breeze, the park was silent except for the bustle of squirrels, the cries of the Red-shouldered Hawks, and the tap-tap-tap and occasional shrieks of woodpeckers. I had planned to stay inside most of the day to work on end-of-the-month reports and my time sheet, etc. I just couldn't do it.
My day started in the usual manner, opening the gate and driving through the park. I haven't had to put the flags up since I broke my arm because the evening closers have been thoughtfully leaving the flags up when they know that I will be the only at the park in the morning. I saw this little insect on the Morning Glories by the gate. This particular insect help me solve a mystery that has been on my mind for quite some time. I often see a similar looking insect in my garden. It didn't seem quite like a grasshopper, but that was the closest idea that I had. Seeing this insect today with some developing wings made me realize that the insect I have seen in the past is a nymph, or young insect. Today's specimen looked enough like the adult to allow me to make the connection to Katydids. If you have ever seen a green leaf with legs, it was likely a Katydid and it is what this little insect will become. I have a so-so image of an adult here.
I did spend some time in the office and got a good start on paperwork and and my time sheet. At one point, I looked out the window and the sky was overcast. I was afraid it might rain and I wanted to get some outside time while I could. I took a break to walk around and check out the park. Once I was out there, the clouds lifted and the sun started to shine. I didn't mind at all! I couldn't make myself go back to the office though. I opened up the cabin and saw that a rock in the middle of the spring was finally poking out of the water. The water level has really been dropping lately, but its still higher than it was last summer. The turtles in the spring were glad to have a rock out of the water. Later in the afternoon, they were fighting over this prime new sunning spot.
When I made it to the river, I could really see a difference in the water level! The water was still touching the tree about two weeks ago. The fishermen have even been catching fish recently!
From that side of the spring, I could see that there was some garbage on the opposite bank. I went back to the office and got the leaf blower and the garbage picker and bucket. I walked down the spring walkway and decided that it really didn't need to be blown off. I continued around to the side of the spring and ended staying there long after all of the garbage was picked up. I saw a lot of Mullet and Carp in the water. I heard a Sturgeon jump somewhere in the distance on the river. I saw so many little brown butterflies, flowers, and other assorted insects. I took so many pictures that my camera batteries started getting low. I have enough photos to do two days of blogging! Here is one that I took while I was patiently waiting for a Spotted Sandpiper to come a little closer. I looked down to find an empty snail shell from the water, hidden among the leaves.
I took quite a few shots of the bird from where I sat, but I wasn't happy with any of them. When I walked back toward the dock, I decided to slip off my shoes and walk through the water a little to get some cigarette butts that were tossed over the dock railing. As soon as my feet were in the water, that little Spotted Sandpiper flew right over to an area in front of me. I guess it could trust me now that I was a wading bird too. I see this little bird often. I guess I have no way of knowing if its the same bird or not. I do often see a solitary Spotted Sandpiper patrolling the edge of the water. I rarely see it when park visitors are around and when they are, they probably think I'm crazy when I try to point out a tiny, bobbing dot on the other side of the spring. I have never gotten a decent photo of one until today. I highly recommend clicking the image and viewing it as large as possible, its a tiny bird.
The last outdoor job that I could think of doing was to walk the nature trail. I wanted to make sure that the glue on our new interpretive signs kept them in place and I wanted to evaluate a tree that fell over the trail. My boyfriend, Isaac texted me that he was on his way home and wanted to go for a walk. I decided to wait for him and got a little more office work done. When he arrived, we had a nice walk on the trail. All of the signs are absolutely perfect! When we got to the tree, I was looking at it and not feeling good about having to assign this job to anyone. It was leaning in a way that made chopping it up a somewhat dangerous task.
Isaac thought that he might be able to push it off of its rotten stump. I told him to give it a try, but I was a little worried about where it might go. He gave it a big, grizzly bear shove and the tree laid right down. When it popped off of the stump, it dropped out of the other tree that was holding it up. I felt much better about it being on the ground and was content to send someone out to clear the trail tomorrow. It would now be a simple task. I joked with Isaac that now he should just pick the whole tree up and move it off of the trail... he did! It was more rotten than I thought, and he said it wasn't too heavy. Thanks Isaac!
I spent a few minutes with my evening relief and then headed home. I also called my co-worker to tell him that I will take tomorrow off. There are plenty of people working tomorrow and I don't like watching people work when I can't do much. Besides that, I have more than a month of vacation time built up and its about time I used some. Don't worry, I have plenty of photos to show you tomorrow!

1 comment:

Jen said...

Nice to have a big grizzly bear hug around!