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Today was my Friday

Sunday, 24 February 2013

After four days of work, I’m ready for a few days off.  Three of those days were split between roving and working the VC, but that floor in the VC is still doing a number on my hip.  We are entering the busier season for visitors, so that helps with the boredom, but I still prefer the roving assignments.  They not only get me outside, but I also enjoy the interaction with visitors on the trails and nature drive.

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Winds were absolutely calm this morning after last nights thunderstorms and rain.  Alligator pond was very reflective, and if you had a pair of binoculars, you’d see a gator on the far bank.

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I thought I’d include a picture so you can get an idea of how the Honey Prairie fire of 2011-2012 resulted in stands of totally burned out upland forest.  That fire, which lasted a year, burnt through over 80% of the refuge.  While it looks rather devastating here, Mother Nature knows what she’s doing, and the swamp will come back rejuvenated.

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As we near the end of February, the first hatches of butterflies are occurring.  This is a zebra swallowtail that I first noticed yesterday while roving.

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You probably would have chuckled if you had been able to watch me try to get these shots.  I was hobbling a bit yesterday trying to get this creature to sit still long enough to find it in my viewfinder.  The sand was wet from all of the rain, and I almost made myself dizzy wheeling around with that big lens following it’s flight path.  I think, perhaps, it was getting a drink from the moist sandy soil.

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Then this morning, I found this Palamedes Swallowtail near the secret pond.  Thankfully, it alighted and sat still long enough for me to creep up on it.  The Palamedes is the signature butterfly species of the southern swamps, including Okefenokee.  This was the first time I had seen this species, but I suppose now I’ll see them just about everywhere.  That seems to be the way it goes. Sarcastic smile  You search and search for something, and once you find it, it seems to appear every time you turn around.

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I want to assure you folks up north that spring is coming.  The pine warblers are beginning to sing all over around here.  I’ve been surprised that the droves of robins haven’t entirely left yet, but I’m sure they’ll be on their way shortly along with the greater sandhill cranes.  Our local sandhills are already beginning to nest.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring!

After taking care of my mundane chores on my next three days off, I’m hoping to visit the Folkston Funnel if the rains hold off.  I don’t know much about watching trains, but I’m open to trying to figure out why people want to watch trains rumble by.  This may be a real stretch for me.  Disappointed smile

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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