Monday, December 21, 2009

Muddy Monday

Today was the day that I was dreading since the water began to rise.  Our visibility in the spring has diminished to only four feet and we had to close to the spring for swimming and diving.  You may remember from the start of my blog on the first day of summer that when the spring is closed, we have very few visitors.  Now, on the first day of winter, we are back to where we started.  I hope that 2010 takes us back to average rainfall amounts, well spaced.

I went to check the spring as soon as I arrived at work.  I walked with one of my co-workers to the spring dock and climbed out to my perch on the big rock to use the Secchi Disk to measure the visibility.  I knew what I would find, but I wanted to document everything accurately.  I dropped the disk in the water and it disappeared quickly.  I pulled it back into view and counted the marks on the line to see that we were just under 4 feet of visibility.  Compare this photo to the first readings that I took and you will see a huge difference!

My rock pedestal is shrinking by the day.  Its a good thing that I won't have to take any more Secchi Disk measurements.  Last night was another night below freezing, so it was still very cold this morning.  At least there was fog.  Its always easier for me to deal with the cold if there is something pretty to see.

We walked back up to the office to get out all of the signs to notify visitors that the spring is closed for swimming and diving.  They weren't hard to find, they haven't been stored for very long.  My coworker took the signs to hang and the leaf blower to start cleaning up the walkways.  I headed to the cabin and then down to the river.

I can't get enough of the fog.  I also love this vantage point because of the way that the trees frame your view so gracefully.

At the river, I couldn't stop myself from taking the same photos that I have taken so many times.  Up river, down river, all of my favorite trees that can be seen from the river dock, I snapped photos of it all.  I also tried to get some new angles, to look at things a little differently.  The next two photos were taken just a few inches from each other.  I just scooted over a little from where I normally stand to photograph the water level and I found another stunning view that I had not appreciated before.

Next to the walkway between the river docks, I spotted this little mystery.  It appears to be a structure similar to a Mud Dauber Wasp's nest, but I can't find any photos of a Mud Dauber nest that looks exactly like this one.  Each different type of Mud Dauber builds their nest to a specific shape.  Mud Daubers lay their eggs in pods that they build and they will also include some food for the larvae to eat when they hatch.  Quite often, they will sting a spider which will subdue and preserve it until the eggs hatch.  The spider is sealed in the nest with the eggs.  When the eggs hatch, the larvae will consume the spider before emerging completely from the nest.

After my walk around the park,  I headed to the office to thaw out.  I took care of the paperwork and finished up the end of the week paperwork.  I answered some e-mails, and made sure that the other workers in the park had projects to work on (indoor projects, it was still cold).  Then, I headed out of the park to run my usual Monday errands.  It didn't take me long, I didn't have any extra stops to make today.  I talked to my Assistant Manager for a few minutes while I was at Ichetucknee, then I headed back.  I went home for lunch and then finished up my day in the office calling to schedule another tree removal estimate, checking over our property inventory list, and getting details about my activities tomorrow. 

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