Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fall Day

This morning was another cold one.  I was hoping for a busy day though, so I decided to leaf blow the walkway before doing paperwork this morning.  I somehow snuck up on a squirrel with the noisy leaf blower and ended up directly behind it when it realized that I was blowing air very close to it.  It was fun to watch it scramble to get away from the blower.  On the way down the walkway, I spotted a beautiful spider.  It is a Fishing Spider.  I realize from comments and the poll that a portion of Rangervision readers do not care for spiders.  Since that has come to my attention, it seems that I find spiders nearly every day.  I promise that I am not trying to scare or bother any of you, I just blog what I see.  I saw this spider... ALL day.  It remained in the same, very prominent spot on the wall of the spring walkway, just above the hand rail.  I don't think that anyone noticed it aside from one visitor who I pointed the spider out to.  It started him on a spider hunt with his camera.  He captured quite a few species!

At the spring dock, while I was leaf blowing, I took a minute to admire the morning view of the spring.  Its always spectacular.

After leaf blowing, I opened the cabin and cleared the leaves from the cabin porch.  Then, I headed back to the office to warm up and do paperwork.  Just as I was hoping, divers began to appear.  They came conveniently spaced, for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon.  The first two groups overlapped a little, then each new group arrived as another group finished up.  It was spontaneously well orchestrated.  My day was spent walking back and forth between the office and the parking lot to check in divers, record numbers and provide change. I also spent time with several non-diving groups of visitors.  I told the story of the Madison at least six times today.  The water and sunlight conditions were top notch for viewing the ship today, so it was a great experience for several groups.  On one of my treks from the office to the parking lot, some red berries caught my eye.  I photographed them and then looked them up to find that they are Dwarf Smilax.  There are many types of Smilax in florida, most are very prickly, irritating vines.  I think that this one is pretty.

Near the river, I found this little fluff in the grass.  I was wondering what it was so I took a closer look.  There was an opening in the top and I could see some tiny green, spidery legs inside the hole.  I wasn't able to find an ID for the spider without seeing the actual spider.  I also don't know exactly what this little bag was.  It could have been a little tent that protects it from the elements, or a bag for its eggs.  I will try to remember to check here again to see if I discover anything new.

On one trip down the walkway, mid-morning, the sun was beginning to warm some walls.  The little Anoles were beginning to emerge and seek out the sunny spots.  How many Anoles can you find in this picture!?

I finally caught a photo of a little bird that I have been seeing a lot of in the past few weeks.  I notice it because it likes to perch on low branches and fences to watch for flying insects to feed on.  It is a skittish bird and I haven't been able to get close enough for a good shot.  This one isn't great, but its the best one that I have gotten of an Eastern Phoebe.  They are winter visitors to my area.

My last photo of the day was one lonely and beautiful leaf clinging to a scraggly little stick which was apparently trying to become a tree.

The late afternoon was the busiest that I had been all day.  It was finally warm and I had started on a quick project of reattaching some boards to the dock.  The screws from the original construction of the dock have rusted from being submerged during floods.  As each board gets loose, I remove the remnants of the old screws (if there are any) and reattach the board with more appropriate hardware for the conditions.  I only had to put in a few screws, but as is usually the case, starting a project on the weekend means that the park will get busy.  I stopped to talk to some visitors for a while and then finished up after they left.  When I headed back up, I sold some park T-shirts to several of the divers and checked in a new group of divers.  Within half an hour though, nearly everyone had left and my evening relief arrived.  I spent a bit more time at the park and started thinking about heading home when my phone rang.  One of the volunteers at Adams Tract cut his hand and didn't have enough first aid supplies.  I went over there armed with gauze and tape and ended up heading to the emergency room.  He had some bad cuts that needed to be treated.  Fortunately, he didn't need stitches, just a little glue.  My day ended a bit late, but it was one of the quickest ER experiences that I have seen.  It could have been worse.  I foresee a day FULL of paperwork tomorrow.

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