Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, November 9, 2012

Footprints in the sand

It was back to work for me today, and I started out spending the morning working in the VC.  We had an elementary school visiting today with 88 exuberant young students invading the refuge.  They were divided into four groups that rotated between four different activity stations.  One of those stations was the VC where Edythe and I tried to harness their energy into a learning experience.  By 1:00, I was pretty well worn out, and barely able to walk. 


I made a quick stop back at the rig to let Emma out and inhale lunch before heading to the Chesser Homestead where I was to be oriented to being a docent.  There was a slight mix up in assignments, and no one arrived to show me the ropes.  Sad smile  So, after sitting on the cabin porch in a rocker for an hour, (I know, tough work but somebody has to do it!) I headed out to rove for the afternoon.  I took the electric cart down Phernetton Freeway to see what I could see.


It’s not your ordinary run of the mill Freeway.  It’s actually a lumpy sandy refuge back road that parallels the wildlife drive.  It ends up back on the Chesser Island paved road eventually, but I took it hoping to see some wildlife that avoids the main drag.  Not much was out and about at that time in the afternoon, but I discovered that this sandy road is actually a freeway of sorts for wildlife.

71 Okefenokee NWR 2012-139

My biggest surprise was to find these fresh bear footprints!  See the dimples in the sand surrounding the prints?  They were caused by Wednesday’s rain, so these prints really are rather fresh.  The hair on my neck prickled a little as I got out of the open air cart to get these photos.


As I was taking those photos, I found the print of a fox nearby.  It’s hard to tell size in these pics, but this print was too small to be from a coyote, and the nail imprints eliminated the thought of a bobcat for me.


As I carefully looked around, I found many deer tracks as well.  Some were a pretty good size, and some were rather small.


Last but not least, I found the print of a wild turkey.  All of these animals had been on this back road in the last 24-48 hours.  I guess freeway is a pretty good name for this road, at least as far as wildlife is concerned.


On my return trip down the wildlife loop, I spotted this young alligator posing as a small log in one of the roadside pools.  I was glad I stopped and backed up to verify that this wasn’t a big stick in the water. Smile  Some German visitors saw me taking pictures and stopped behind me.  I was able to help them spot this youngster.  That’s one of the fun parts of roving; helping the visiting public to ‘see’ what they are driving past.


Of course, in the back of my mind while I’m roving, I’m always looking for places to take visitors on the bird tour I’m developing.  The more I’m out and about, the more familiar I get with where to find the birds.  After this afternoon, I’ve added one more place to try to find the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker to the tour.  This bird had two green over one yellow bands on its right leg.  I really need to talk to the biologist about my sightings of these birds.  Knowing the history of specific birds can add a nifty touch to the tours.Winking smile

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Man! you amaze me with your wildlife knowledge. I learn something new every day from you great photos.

  2. Those German visitors were lucky to come upon you and enjoy some of your knowledge.

  3. You just keep on "keepin on". I probably would have been back at the MH taking a nap after running herd on a bunch of elementary school kids. Great pictures, as usual.

  4. Just be careful out there. Don't want to see your tracks stop where a bear's tracks overtake yours... ;c)

  5. When we were hiking at Crater Lake we saw an area along a stream that had soft mud and was crowded with tracks. It was interesting to try and guess who made what!

  6. You are one great detective. I love the picture of the young alligator.

  7. Neat blog. I don't know my tracks as well as you do. Hope you soon get that hip fixed.

  8. Jim is good with tracks but I wouldn't know one from another. A deer I might recognize but not sure. I'm glad they didn't show up for your orientation. Gave you a chance to take us on another great tour.

  9. Great tracks in the sand.
    I hope they let you stay while you recovery. I hear the hip recovery is pretty good and not as bad as knee. But I only know about the knees since I have had them both done. I know the hips aren't far off.
    Take care.

  10. I love finding tracks. But I'm never sure, other than deer, who they are. Guess I need to study up. Love these shots. I'd love to take your bird tour. Is the water up or down now for kayaking?

  11. Electric cart? No noise, right? What a great way to slip right up close to critters without scaring them... kind of like canoeing quietly down a river. Nice that you had that extra time to explore.

  12. Coyote, deer, turkey tracks - no problem. Bear tracks? Another story. We were hiking in Maine and came upon fresh bear tracks. Decided to head back to the truck fast.

  13. Bear tracks in Okefenokee?? YIKES!..Reminds me of watching the Salmon in Alaska while looking over our shoulder the whole time..HEADS UP!!

  14. Great photos of tracks...glad it wasn't a blog about scat! :-) But if you did one, it would be tastefully done, I'm sure! :-)