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Needed rain

Friday, 22 February 2013

As I write this post tonight, there’s a nice moderate rain going on outside.  The swamp needs it badly.  Over the four months I’ve been here, I’ve noticed the water levels drop.  Ponds and borrow ditches are drying up.  That’s not a good thing.  Rain has been forecasted for the next two days, and I, for one, hope the forecast is correct for a change.  I would also much prefer to have rainy days on the days I have to work, so it can rain all it wants for tomorrow and Sunday.

Yesterday was supposed to be a day of training about the environmental programming we do for schools.  The morning almost went as planned, and our volunteer/intern group followed along as fellow volunteer Barry led us on a hike to discover those things that most people wouldn’t notice along one of the trails.  He did an excellent job pointing out things you’d normally just walk past.

The afternoon didn’t go as well, as there were a couple of unexpected emergencies.  One involved a visitor that had recently had brain surgery.  As he was sitting at a table in the picnic area, he began to bleed profusely from his head.  Staff went out to help him, but the men’s bathroom and the picnic table needed taking care of.  Reminded me of my blood born pathogens' training from my working days.

Then the eighth grade school group arrived and descended on the Visitors Center.  Half of the group went on a boat tour, and we handled the other half in the VC.  After 90 minutes, they traded places.  I was scheduled to give a program to them before they left.

There were delays with the boat tours, and even though the VC closes at 5:00, I wasn’t able to start my program in the auditorium on the red-cockaded woodpecker until 5:30.  So how does it go with 64 hungry eighth graders for a half hour at the end of a long day?   Well, I put on my dancing shoes and kept them glued to the subject and interested in a little bird for the duration.  I get pumped for these presentations, and thankfully it was successful.  Sometimes, the ‘Force’ is with you!

Today, it was back to a normal morning working the VC and roving in the afternoon.  Although overcast, it was warm enough to do my roving in the open electric cart.

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It had been several days since I’d been down Swamp Island Drive, and I noticed the bladderworts beginning to bloom in one of the borrow ditches.  They are a carnivorous plant that ‘eats’ microbes in the water.  There are little bladders hanging down in the water at the end of each of the star shaped stems resting on the water top.  Each of the little bladders has a trap door that closes when something moves inside.  Then it’s curtains for that microbe as there is no escape.

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As I drove further, there seemed to be a pretty large hatch of what I thought were pink butterflies.  As I got out of the cart and tried to chase them down with my camera, I found it impossible to get a good sharp shot.  They never stop moving.  When I got back to the rig, I couldn’t find any pink butterflies in my field guide, so I’m thinking it’s probably a moth.  All the splashes of pink in the swamp were a colorful surprise today.

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Of course, the alligators were out this afternoon.  This guy (?) lives in the ‘secret pond’, and was out cruising this afternoon.  I saw a fish break the surface, and the alligator literally blasted out of the water and dove after it.  What a sight!  I guess the alligators have begun feeding again…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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