Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Swamp Shadow

Today, our shadow had a name, Meghan from Sangaree Middle School. Meghan arrived at 8:30 a.m. as a flock of a dozen Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) walked calmly across the driveway at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest.
Carolina Chickadee at Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest by Mark Musselman
After yesterday's rain, today's clear sky and sunshine were welcomed, but the drop in the temperature and blustery winds were not ideal for wildlife observations from the boardwalk. The Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) were out at #104 and beavers (Castor canadensis) had been busy chewing on a Spruce Pine near the swamp's current edge at #114. At the Meeting Tree (#120), we saw a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) enter a circular hole, possibly a nesting cavity, and saw a Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) foraging low in the trees.

Unidentified stuff at Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest by Mark Musselmanby at #121, we noticed a pile of what appear to be worms associated with some scat. They have been there for the last three days and may have passed with the scat from the animal. Further investigation is warranted, but we did not have on clothes suitable for the chest-deep water current flowing by the boardwalk. Also still in the swamp in its previously observed position is the dead White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Vultures still have not been able to penetrate the hide, but even the cool water and air temperatures will not prevent the eventual decay of the carcass. Today, the hide had changed from white to red and looked ready to burst.
White-tailed Deer at Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest by Mark Musselman

After some tremendous help with editing the Beidler Forest boardwalk-specific app and planning for the herp-themed summer camp, Meghan helped scout sites for summer camp cover boards that will attract amphibians and small, non-venomous snakes for campers to observe. Wow! Not only did we get out of the office for half of the day, but we received valuable 7th-grader insight as we plan for an exciting summer camp.

As we exited the upland boardwalk, a male Wild Turkey made an ungraceful landing high in a Loblolly Pine. As turkeys had begun the day, it seemed a fitting way to end the day. Sure hope nobody thought that there were any turkeys in the middle of the day!
Wild Turkey at Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest by Mark Musselman

Images by Mark Musselman

1 comment:

KaHolly said...

That was quite a day for Meghan! I certainly would have enjoyed it! ~karen