Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cold Rain

Its never on a day that I would expect it when there are divers waiting at the gate as I open up in the morning.  It was cold, just over 50 degrees, and it was raining.  It was raining a fine mist that wasn't really substantial enough to use an umbrella, but it was enough to soak you in the time it takes to open the gate and get back in the truck.  I was opening the gate about twenty five minutes early, but the divers were anxious to get in the water and finish up their dive class so that they could get out in time to see a football game.  I drove to the office and walked over to the picnic area to check in the divers.  They were still waiting on a few more to arrive and it had stopped raining, so I played pick-up-sticks in the picnic area for a good long time.  We had just over an inch of rain last night, which brought down quite a few small branches.  I like to admire the different Lichen, (fungus and algae together) growing on each branch.

As the last divers in the group arrived, it started to rain again.  I got them all checked in and retreated to my cozy, dry office to work on paperwork  I took care of the paperwork quickly and saw that the e-mail and internet were down.  There was nothing else I could do in the office, so I went for a walk.  I opened up the cabin and set up the craft project for December.  I forgot to take a photo though, I will try to remember tomorrow.  When I left the cabin, I headed down to the river.  There I found some beautiful views.  The sun was almost done rising, but it was still shining through the trees in the flood plain enough to illuminate the remaining fog.

The weather was in a great state of confusion.  I looked downriver first and found dark, cloudy skies and a lot of fog.

I looked up river and saw the sun trying to peak through the clouds.  It didn't last long though, moments after I snapped this photo, it was just as gray upriver as it was down.

From the river dock, I could see that the river has come up quite a bit.  When the internet started working again, I checked our water level and saw that it has come up over a foot since I worked last, on Wednesday.  Compare the view below to this view taken less than a month ago.

I loved this view of the spring dock.  The wind was really blowing and moving the surface of the water.  The fog was still resting over the water, and the fall colors are really at their peak right now.

Back up the hill, I had to get a photo from the cabin porch.  Only the top of the center rock is still above water.  Its really amazing how quickly the water can come up when south Georgia gets some rain.  Here is the same view, last month.

I picked up more fallen sticks on the way towards the picnic area and the spring dock.  I passed some of the divers who were coming up to get new tanks.  They were all having a great time.  When its 50 degrees and rainy outside, its a great time to be submerged in 70 degree spring water.  I walked down to the dock and talked to some of the divers that were still in the water.  They thought that the water felt great.  They also didn't realize it, but they were glad that the water level came back up.  It was starting to get tricky to climb out of the water with SCUBA gear on because only two steps up to the dock where under water.  Today, four steps were wet and getting in and out was a breeze.  As the divers prepared for their second dive, I walked back up the hill.  I saw several Cardinals fly out of the plants above the walkway, then another bird caught my eye.  A small, agile, and quiet little bird started to dart around me.  It was flying in and out of the plants and stopping momentarily on flower stems or small branches.  I waited patiently, and fortunately, it seemed as interested in me as I was in it.  We watched each other for a while and I managed to get a couple of images or it.  Unfortunately, here enters my frustrations with birding... small birds that are brown and yellow... there are just too many of them.  Perhaps a kind birder will offer an identity to my cute little friend, or I may be able to get some help from park biologists.  Hopefully we can find a name for this little bird.

Sometime, late morning, the internet and e-mail started to work again.  I had a few e-mails waiting for me, including a request to list all of the wildlife that I have documented on my blog to help with updating park records.  That was a good rainy day project and I was able to get the project organized and get a good start on it.  Soon the divers left and it looked as though, no one else would be coming to visit the park.  I decided to head home and burn up some comp time.  I am paid a salary, so when I work on a holiday, I get time off that I can take on another day.  I think I have hours for three November holidays that I need to use up, and a rainy day is a good place to start.  I left a note for my evening relief and headed home.


Lorena said...

According to my fabulous friend Laura, this is a Ruby-crowned kinglet.


Ranger Amy said...

Thanks for your help, Lorena and Laura! I had considered the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but I just wasn't sure. I think that you are probably right.