Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bad Excuse of the Week

Spring migration activity has been kind of sparse out here, but I still managed to get a lifer out of it: migrating Bobolinks at Bolen Bluff trail of Paynes Prairie during an Alachua Audubon field trip there on Sunday morning. Those of us out there were also lucky enough to get a Bobwhite and a couple of bright Indigo Buntings. We were also treated to the sight of a family of wild horses with a tiny foal, and a pair of young Homo sapiens sprawled out inexplicably in an amorous tangle in the middle of the trail. ("Must be a tick collection experiment," noted a curmudgeon in our group.)

On Sunday afternoon, our local bird bard sent out his weekly e-mail, reporting that he'd seen several Bobolinks and Orchard Orioles, as well as Purple Gallinules, along the La Chua Trail, northeast of Bolen Bluff in Paynes Prairie, that morning. So after a painfully tedious afternoon of grading term papers and other work-related bureaucracy, off I went. I'd gotten some good looks at Bobolinks that morning, but no respectable photos. And I really needed another bird break.

Well, I didn't get any photos. I wanted to, and I headed down the trail to the spot where they had been seen regularly over the past few days; Then I saw a park ranger and a cluster of visitors, and figured they were part of a guided tour. But then I realized there were blocked from moving ahead on the trail by a slight obstacle:

(The dude's head on the right side of the photo is cut off on purpose: it's bad art, but it's worse ethics to post an identifiable online photo someone without that person's permission.)

The obstacle wandered off after about 10 minutes, and I forged ahead--then I realized I didn't have my phone with me, nor any way of contacting the rangers should yet more obstacles of this sort should cross my path. It's mating/baby season for the gators, and perfect sunbathing weather as well: More heat-seeking gators could well wander up onto the trail, and the ranger looked like he was heading home. So I chickened out and turned back.

But I'll be back...


dAwN said...

I would have turned around as well...mating, baby season ..those critter can be a bit more aggressive..

Felicia said...

So I've heard! And they move a lot faster than one thinks they would, too...