Thursday, September 06, 2007

Out the Office Window

Today was spent in front of the computer learning the new ArcGIS software (geographic information systems), which is a complex and powerful mapping tool. A huge upgrade from the 3.2 version that was being used by the office at the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest. Any movement outside the office window provided an opportunity to connect with the natural world.

The Yellow Passion-flower (Passiflora lutea) fruit continued to be eaten by Red-eyed Vireos (Vireo olivaceus), Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (Polioptila caerulea) foraged along the branches prepared to consume any prey that might be flushed from hiding, and a female Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) stopped by for a quick look into the building. A male American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) (see image) moved rapidly from branch to branch fanning his tail in search of meals to provide energy for his continued migration south.

There is always something happening in the woods outside the office window, including a young couple skirting the nature center and the admission fee to slip seemingly undetected onto the boardwalk. It was 4:05 p.m. and we close, including locking the gate at the end of the driveway, at 5:00 p.m. Besides the obvious safety issues of having people on the boardwalk without our knowledge, those individuals risk being locked in for the night as there is no way to drive a vehicle off the property except through the open gate. Additionally, as a non-profit, the Francis Beidler Forest relies on donations, grants, and admissions to maintain and protect the virgin, old-growth forest the young couple felt compelled to visit.

Come and experience the swamp, but please allow us the pleasure of meeting you first.

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