Botanist? Me?

Egg Masses in the PuddleA friend sent an email that accused me of being a botanist (…not that there’s anything wrong with that…)  because of all the pictures of flowers on my Flickr account.  I like flowers, but I’m afraid it would take an awful lot of study for me to become a botanist.

I’m not a herpetologist, either, but today, let me give you a couple of herp photos.  While walking the dogs in the woods, I ran across one of those amazing tire-track puddles that often teem with life at this time of year.  Garter Snake With Tongue OutIt was full of egg masses and tadpoles.  Boy is it ever hard to photograph through the surface of the water!

A little later on the trail, a fairly long garter snake appeared to be making its first appearance of spring.  Lethargic or stunned, it lay there so still I thought it might be dead.  When Lolli came near, the red tongue started sampling the air for scent particles.  I hoped for a photo as good as Jeremy Martin’s…  Alas, it was not to be, though mine isn’t terrible.  Lolli’s boyfriend, Mozart, was funny.  He has seen me with my camera before.  He acts as though he is terribly put out over having to wait while I snap a few shots.  He lay down right next to the snake and ignored it.

DecisionsWhen we reached the field we had to make a decision – home by the road, or through the horse pasture.  We chose the horse pasture… which meant I had to give Lolli a full bath with shampoo, and a breath mint.  What is it that makes her feel compelled to roll in that stuff?  And eat it?

There… a whole blog posting, and not a single flower!  Have a great day.

Just a Nice Spring Day

Maple BlossomYesterday made me irritable.  Don’t know why.  It was too hot for one thing.  I really like cooler weather.  Today was cooler, so I took a long leisurely walk after work with camera and no particular mission.

I wish I could record sounds for you.  The sanctuary was full of peepers, wood frogs, and plenty of birds – all calling “This is my territory!”  or “How about me, babe?”

Each day, something new is out…  plants sprouting, insects emerging, birds returning…  Today was a day that made me long for a longer lens.  So much I didn’t capture, except in my memory…  The ground bees bubbling up out of underground winter shelters, a groundhog ambling through the woods, a phoebe, hairy woodpecker, chickadees, a muskrat.

It was warm enough for a few turtles to be out basking.  Most dove into the water before I could get a decent shot.  But this one…Painted Turtle  I took a shot from several yards away.  Then I sneaked in closer.  I took another shot, then sneaked closer still.  Repeat.  Repeat.  This final shot was taken from less than a foot away.  The sound of my shutter didn’t seem to bother it at all.  And as I looked, I realized, the left eye was missing!  The shell was rather beat up, too.  Eventually, he turned his head toward me, looked right into the lens of the camera, then turned and dove into the water.  It was a nice close encounter.

Conewango FloodingIt bothers me that the Conewango River is still so high, backing water up into our woods.  The vernal pool is literally connected to the river because of the high water.  Uh oh… am I going to get irritable again over not being able to see the salamanders and their eggs?  I had better stop dwelling on it!