Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just Me And The Birds

It was a quiet, quiet day at work. After my morning drive, I saw that the gate was already open and the flags were up. My co-worker beat me to work and he was off today! He was already at the river fishing when I got to the office. It was a perfect fall day, but almost no one was in the park to see it.
I did the paperwork and checked e-mail before taking a walk around the park. I started at the cabin porch and snapped a picture of the spring. The water came up again since Monday, the rocks are partially covered with water again. I unlocked the cabin, turned on the lights, and then headed down to the river.
Near the cabin, high in a tree, I found this hook. It was above my head so it was probably placed in the tree lower, when the tree was shorter. I have found quite a few trees around the cabin that have various hardware and accessories fastened to them. The strangest is an outlet attached to a tree. I'm surprised that I haven't noticed this before, but its dark rust color makes it blend in with the tree bark.
Before I got to the river, I noticed that the water in the spring was very still and it was reflecting everything above the water. I took one more picture before I continued on.
I chatted with my co-worker for a few minutes. The fish weren't biting. They were around and continuously swimming by, but they just weren't biting. He didn't stay too long after that. The fish were biting just enough last week to get everyone excited. Now, I have a lot of disappointed fishermen.
I headed back to the office and worked on my time sheet. I also answered some e-mails and started the footwork for a project that I will work on next week to update information about our cultural or archaeological resources in the park. I only put in half a day today because I worked half a day last Saturday. As my day was coming to an end, I took one more walk through the completely empty park. Now that the sun was up and warm, the wildlife was much more active. Through the window of the cabin, I was able to catch a picture of two squirrels that were playing on the porch. The one on the ground was very small and evidently younger.
On the walkway to the spring, the lizards were everywhere! They were sunning themselves on the railing and scurrying to hide as I walked by. This one was very brave.
The turtles were trying to take advantage of the warming sun as well. The turtle stealthily crept up onto the rock while I was on the dock. One minute there was rock, the next minute there was a turtle on it.
Back at the top of the walkway, I heard a bird shrieking. It was a loud, whiny call, similar to a Red-Shouldered Hawk's call, but... miniature. It was too high-pitched to be a hawk. I followed the noise and stared for a long time before I finally caught some movement and was able to focus my eyes on the bird. It was MUCH smaller than a hawk, black and white, and I saw a red patch on its chin. It was a bird with my very favorite bird name, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Yes, that's really its name. They are winter visitors to our area, perhaps it was announcing its arrival to me.
On the way back towards the office, I heard more bird noises and saw a big commotion. Two woodpeckers (either Downy or Hairy Woodpeckers) flew through a dense area of trees and as my eyes followed them, I found a large group of Blue Jays. The Jays were hopping around on the same few branches and making A LOT of noise. I noticed that one had an acorn in its beak. Maybe they were all fighting over the acorn. I thought it was strange for a couple of reasons. I didn't know that Blue Jays eat acorns (they do according to my bird book) and I did't know how the Jays wouldn't notice that the park was full of Oak Trees. There are more than enough acorns to go around. One Jay figured that out, I saw it drop to the ground and then fly back to the branch with its beak full of acorn.
Be sure to check back tomorrow, something very exciting is happening!!!!

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