Saturday, November 24, 2012

Step 2: Take a picture. It will last longer.

Step 1: Carry your camera.

We ran a beta test last week.  Each time we went anywhere, we left the camera at home.  Sure, we did it on purpose.  It was all part of our plan.  The goal / theory / hypothesis being if you don’t have your camera with you then all of the cool stuff will reveal itself.   OK, we made up the goal after we forgot the camera several times.  Whatever.

For those of you curious, it worked.  Unfortunately, we do not have any pictures to prove it.

Alright, alright.  We managed to find a few photos online to demonstrate and thankfully two cool things were well grounded.  So we were able to remember our camera the next time we went by and snapped these photos.

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      Holy Fungi Batman, that’s one HUGE shroom!

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Forest broccoli, anyone?  Fields of Deer Moss growing on the forest floor.  Vegetarian or not, we ate neither this nor the mushroom.

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Fun Fact: Large mats of this can take decades to develop.  Architects and model railway enthusiasts often use deer moss to make realistic looking miniature trees and shrubs.  True.  We found it on the internet.

And, on to the borrowed photos…

Nicole stepped in to cut a branch and when the ground moved she stepped back.  Closer inspection revealed a Pygmy Rattler.

He was a cute little fellow, timid and non-aggressive.  He tried his best to warn us, waving that tail all around to no avail.  Little to no sound comes from this guys rattle but their bite reportedly can still pack a punch (a theory we did not test).

Next on the list were in the ‘largest yet’ category.

1) Sure some think that deer are common and not all that exciting.  But in the case of this one (the largest doe we've seen yet) having a camera would have meant holding it in one hand while driving an ATV with the other in the off chance that it would suddenly leap out in front of you.  While we may not have captured a photo, the image of what might have occurred had we been going just a tad faster is a vision for which no photo is necessary.  True, use The Google and look for ATV rider collides with deer.  It isn’t pretty!  None the less… we found a photo (of a deer not a deer taking out an ATV rider because that would be gross).

To get the full effect, pretend you are riding an ATV through the forest.

2) Every time we have seen one of these we have not had our camera.  That tells us that we are not intended to capture our own photos but merely gawk at their wonder.  In this case, it was definitely the largest one we’ve seen.  Driving down the road back to our camp Darlene spotted something up in the distance and asked, “Is that a Jeep in the middle of the road?”  No, jeep.  Yes, large black bear.

Cute, isn’t he?  The seat on one of our machines is duct taped together because one of these guys thought it would make a good lunch.  We’ve also learned recently that our interns saw a medium size bear climbing the chain-link fence and ducking under the barbed wire on top.  Hmmm… makes us second guess that joke our boss made about the fences being to keep us in since we now know they do not keep the bears out!

3) OK, this one is not so much in the category of largest ‘seen’ but in the category of largest ‘held’.  The other day at one of our volunteer orientations the Wildlife crew brought a baby alligator and some other critters for show and tell and hold.  Nicole accepted the offer to hold the gator.  Of course, we had not brought our camera.  So, here’s an internet pilfered photo.

Yes, Nicole did do the FSU Seminole ‘chop’ at least once.

And, on that note, we sure hope you are enjoying your fall.  The other day we gave a somewhat inappropriate but quiet “Thanks” for Invasive Plants. 

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They have provided a little fall color in our otherwise very green existence.