Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wildlife Along the Boardwalk

With few visitors enjoying the cool, sunny day in the swamp and with our necks getting stiff from sitting in front of computers at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest, we decided to take a stroll along the 1.75-mile boardwalk to count birds for our weekly entry on the eBird web site.  What birds we saw or heard are listed below.

Although the time of year and the breezy conditions were not conducive to great birdwatching, we were able to catch glimpses of some other swamp residents.  Near #136, we were observing three Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) soaring just above the treetops unable to find any rising warm air.  As we were about to continue our walk, we detected the subtle motion of a White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) browsing quietly 20 meters north of the boardwalk.  The first section of the video below shows a portion of our time with the deer.

As soon as we reached Goodson Lake, we noticed the water rippling along the far bank.  A quick look through the binoculars revealed a Raccoon (Procyon lotor) using its extremely sensitive paws to probe for food in the shallow water.  As the small animal was too far away to effectively video with the iPod Touch in our pocket, we made a video through the binoculars.  The second section of the video below shows the foraging raccoon.

Finally, we used the iPod Touch/binocular combination to show the main threat to the raccoon in and around the holes (deep spots) like Goodson Lake...the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)!  It may be cool enough now that the alligator will not eat again until spring, but is it worth the risk?

Video by Mark Musselman

No comments: