I was recently conducting a whale survey here in northeast Florida. We are most interested in looking for Right Whales. The mothers come to the area to calf and I am on the Monday team to look for them in Sector 1 (from the St. Augustine Beach Pier to just north of Marineland).
Last Monday, we didn’t see any Right Whales but I keep my camera with me just in case. We had the opportunity to witness two Willets in an altercation. It appeared that they were fighting, but I can’t be sure exactly what was going on between the two. Following are a few shots of the sequence.
Snake update: Sadly, the snake mentioned in the previous post died of its injuries. I took it to the vet, but they could not save it. I am not surprised. Once I took a closer look at the snakes underside, I could see its injuries were more extensive than I realized. I am grateful to St. Johns Veterinary Hospital for trying to save the snake and the GTM NERR for setting up a tank for it to recuperate from its injuries if it survived.
I was out for a walk today and when I returned to within 1/2 mile of the house, I saw a rat snake curled up in the road. I went over to it to attempt to get it to leave the road surface so it wouldn’t get run over by a car. Once I got closer, I could see the snake was injured but still alive. Although I didn’t realize it was a rat snake at the time, I knew it was not venomous and picked it up. It had skin missing from two areas on its body and there was a wound on its head. The eyes did not look good, so I feared the end was near.
But, I wanted to try to save it anyway, so I carried it 1/2 mile back home with it’s head in one hand and the tail in the other. It lightly wrapped its tail around my hand, which made me realize it was still with us. The eyes looked near death so I thought it would perish before I got home, but it did not release its tail. That gave me hope.
When I got home, I rang the door bell since I had a snake in both hands. No answer but Dart went ballistic. I tried to open the door and it was locked. I went to the garage and it was open and I was able to open the door into the house with the snake in my hands. I found that Regis was in the shower. I entered the bathroom and told him to get it over with quick and come help.
We have little in the area of snake supplies, so we repurposed Dart’s fabric dog crate into a snake enclosure. We placed the snake inside with some water and left it alone while I emailed some snake experts to determine what to do. A couple hours later, the snake look much better and the eyes were glistening. I have hope this snake will pull through. Regis thinks it was the victim of a string trimmer.
I’m hoping my snake friends will get back to me, but in the meantime I researched and determined that I needed to provide it a place to hide, check, something to keep it warm, check, and food eventually. So, if this snake is still alive tomorrow, I’ll be looking for a dead mouse. Argh!
If any of my local friends are snake charmers, please let me know. I have never handled a snake before and don’t know how to take care of one. I don’t want to release the snake back into the wild until it recovers from its injuries. It’s a beautiful snake.
If I can get better pictures tomorrow without causing it more stress, I will post.
Description: Linda and Regis Burek and their dog Dart travel regularly in their Jayco Seneca motorhome while towing a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. This book, with over 100 photographs and humor, documents the fourth year of their travels when they went from St. Augustine, Florida to Washington state and back. The first year of their cross-country camping travels was published in The Gifts of the Day: Traveling and Camping With Dogs, the second year being published in The Gifts of the Day: Where’s Dart? and the third year in The Gifts of the Day: Florida to Cape Breton Island.
Linda and Regis believe that life brings gifts every day. A gift could be hearing meadowlarks sing, seeing a baby bighorn sheep with its mother, watching the setting sun tint the top of a snow-covered mountain or glimpsing river otters at play in the waters of Puget Sound. While traveling and camping around the United States and Canada, they look for those gifts.
Regis and I went to the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve today. It is one of our favorite places. The three names (Guana, Tolomato, Matanzas) are the three rivers within the reserve. It is one of 29 national estuarine research reserves in the country. While so much of Florida is comprised of condos on the beach and other development, this is a beautiful, special natural place embedded in all that development. It explains why we spend so much time there!
We saw some nice sized alligators and glossy ibis. I don’t see glossy ibis often, so I was thrilled. It was my gift of the day.
I had a great opportunity today to get out on the water on a pontoon boat on the Matanzas River to scout in preparation for the upcoming Christmas Bird Count. I was accompanied by several folks who will be conducting the official count on Sunday. Today, we wanted to see where the birds are located along the waterway now and we wanted to have an expert birder teach the rest of us tips to improve our bird identification.
It was an amazing day on the water and we saw a nice variety of birds. I think we all feel better about our ability to handle the official count on Sunday.
I found it difficult to capture good shots while moving in the boat, but I was able to capture some. Other photographs were good enough for us to validate our bird identification. I had the most fun watching the pelicans fish.