Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last Day of Work This Year!

It was cold again this morning, but fortunately, it was not as cold as yesterday.  After my drive around the park, I stopped at the barn to turn off the dripping faucets.  There were three deer there when I arrived and they weren't very willing to give up their grazing spot just because I showed up.  They were so close to the truck that I rolled my window down to take a photo.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to turn off the flash.  It really reflected off of their eyes in a creepy way.  It also startled them so they began to move nervously.  I turned off the flash and tried to take a couple more shots, but they were moving too much by then and I ended up with photos of deer with four eyes.  I edited this photo a bit with some software that brightened it up and fixed the bright white eyes that appeared from the flash, but they still look a little funny.  I decided that I had bothered them enough and headed on to take care of the faucets.  When I left that area, they went into the woods and ended up right in my way again on the service road.  I bet they thought that I was chasing them.
I did the paperwork right away when I got to the office and then headed out for my walk.  The sky was gorgeous this morning.  I love the little puffs of clouds.  They still let some sunshine through.
The water has now covered the first full square of concrete on the walkway by the spring dock.  Its creeping, creeping its way on up.

I was pleased with the view from the cabin porch because the sky reflected so nicely in the water.  I didn't stay long to enjoy it though, it was cold!
When I got to the river and was looking out on all of the debris that is gathering at the buoy line, a little bird caught my eye.  It was so close to me and fluttering quickly between branches.  It was such an impressive color!  I wasn't able to get a great shot of it, but with some editing, I was able to see it well enough to identify it.  It was still tough to identify though.  I knew that it wasn't a Bluebird because they have an orangey-brown color on their chests.  I didn't know of any other birds with this amazing color though.  I poured through my bird book for a long time and finally settled on a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  I was still not convinced though because I pictures that I saw were more of a slate gray color.  I e-mailed the photo to our park biologist though and she confirmed it!  That adds one more bird to my slowly growing list of birds that I can identify.  I have realized that I am noticing several birds that I learned during the Christmas Bird Count around the park.  I'm glad that I can keep them all fresh in my mind by seeing them again.
My co-workers and I spent the day trying to keep ourselves busy.  We are quickly running through our big projects and with very few visitors, there isn't a lot to do.  One project we worked on today was trimming around the walkway to the spring.  Small saplings are growing near the railing of the walkway and we have to remove them every so often.  If we let them grow into big trees, their roots would likely damage the structure of the walkway.  We also trimmed back vines and plants that were growing over the railing to keep the area comfortably passable for people.  We found quite a bit of garbage that people had hidden well behind the vegetation.
We did have a few visitors today, more than yesterday.  Two groups came by to get their passports stamped.  The Florida State Parks sell a passport book that has a page for each park.  It gives basic information about the park, has an area for your own notes, and a spot for a stamp.  Each park has their own stamp.  Visitors can take their book to each park to be stamped as a way of documenting their visit.  There are over 160 state parks in Florida, so it is a big feat to collect all of the stamps, but if you do there is a prize.  One of the groups that had me stamp their book was so close to being done!  They had nine parks to go that were all in this area.  They expect to finish up in the next few days.  If you visit Florida State Parks and want your own passport, ask for it at any of the parks or click this link to order one.
I headed home a little early to start my weekend and I'm not going back to work again until next YEAR!

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