April 2017 – Pond Peeps – Yeah, We’re Still Around, ‘tho you’d not think so, given the scarcity of posts here. Travel, much needed house maintenance and new commitments to community activism have occupied all the spare space in my head. In January, we managed to get out for a few walks through the woods around the park at the St. Augustine Road Fish Management Area (what a mouthful) before bounding off to Australia. We saw gators out enjoying the sunny morning – this is the earliest we’ve ever seen any out.
There haven’t been as many birds in the pond this past winter as in past years. There used to be loads of coots and gallinules but this year, I could count them on two hands. A friend told me that the Bald Eagle’s favorite food is a coot and we’ve had a resident Bald Eagle at the lake for a few years now…
Unlike other places we’ve visited, like Payne’s Prairie, the waterbirds here are very shy, fleeing when we get anywhere near the edge of the pond. This little coot was an exception, letting me approach to within a few feet:
Here is my official first spider of the year, an Orchard Spider. It had built its home close to the entrance to the woods. This is also an early sighting for us:
Getting across the stream has been a challenge over the years. Kids in the neighborhood have been very creative, building rickety bridges with whatever they can drag in. The two lawn chairs with several two-by-fours worked well for about a week – until rain washed it all downstream. I have a vision of a sort of beaver’s dam of lawn chairs, boards, assorted branches, logs, signs, etc. all piled up just around the bend. After Hurricane Matthew brought down some huge trees last year, several enterprising young people hacked up and dragged several logs over. Thank you, whoever you are – we could never have done that ourselves.
Looks like a cat appreciated the logs too. I found several cat claw sheaths embedded in a log; some kitty was wandering around with freshly “sharpened” claws:
The Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum) down at the water’s edge, bloom ever so briefly:
The neighborhood has a large Ibis flock that moves between the park and our yards. We often see them walking down our street but this morning they took advantage of the empty soccer field to forage for breakfast:
We saw gators for about a week. I don’t think this is the same gator as the first one, but it could be:
I’ll stop here with a picture from Australia. This is a Bilby, an impossibly cute animal that we saw at the Adelaide Zoo. This is inside the night animals exhibit so I couldn’t use the flash on my camera. We never saw one in the wild, but we did spot plenty of kangaroos and a few koalas during our five-week road trip. Stay tuned for those pix.