Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Red Light, Green Light

It was still raining when I went in to work this morning. The rain gauge said that this storm had brought us 8/10 of an inch. That is a lot after weeks with no rain at all. I opened the cabin and headed to the office to keep myself busy while it rained. When I looked out the window and saw sunshine later in the morning, I jumped at the chance to walk around outside. The park is always exciting after a heavy rain. The park is also very messy after a rain. I picked up several fallen branches and even watched one fall right after I had picked another one up.
Down the hill, near the river, the spiderwebs that are usually delicately dotted with dew were heavily soaked in raindrops. The way that the droplets sparkled in the sun caught my eye. I'm glad the sun came to visit even if it was only for a little while.
A light fog was hovering above the spring. The water level is still dropping, three rocks were protruding from the center of the spring today. With the river water level dropping, the spring is pushing clear water further out into the river. The Mullet were very active this morning and I could see them well from the river dock.
I walked back towards the picnic area and began draining the rain barrels around the cabin. The first one that I hooked the hose to wasn't draining. I disconnected the hose and opened the faucet. The water only slightly trickled out. When I looked into the faucet, I found that a tiny spider and her big wad of web or nest material was blocking the opening. I evicted the spider and resumed my task. When I made my way down the walkway to the spring, I found frog after frog enjoying the water that was still lightly puddled on the walkway. This beautiful Leopard Frog thought was hiding from the drying sun under a branch. Unfortunately for the Leopard Frog, I picked up the branch because it was on the walkway. When I moved the branch, I also found a small Narrowmouth Toad sharing the hing place.
On the way back up the walkway, I found this Green Tree Frog. Their colors and patterns can vary, but this is my favorite appearance. The yellow spots are a beautiful contrast to the green skin elsewhere on the frog. The frog didn't seem bothered by me at all. I stayed and got quite a few nice pictures of it.
When I finished and looked up, I saw that the sun had left again and the clouds were looking like rain. I headed back to the office to get back to paperwork.
While I worked, I heard a commotion and some squeaking from the next room, a storage area. After two attempts to find the source of the noises, I finally discovered two little mice. One was staying very still, and I was able to take some photos. It was a cute, scrappy, little mouse. Mice in the buildings are a dilemma for me. They make a mess and steal candy from the jar on my desk (we have found half-eaten candy in some odd places) so I definitely don't like having them around. We can't poison them because they might, in turn, poison a predator. We could trap them in live traps, but then what? We could use kill traps, but I don't think that Park Rangers should kill things. Fortunately for me, this mouse just happened to fall over and die of apparently natural causes or possibly of sugar shock from too much candy later in the day. Maybe its friend will pass soon too.
In the afternoon, I headed to Adams Tract to train the new volunteers. We were back and forth between seeking shelter under a roof and walking around the camp between rain spurts. It was a lot of stop and go, stop and go, but we got through everything, and I think the volunteers are really liking their job so far. When I got back to Troy, I finished up paperwork for the day and talked to another worker before heading home.

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