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Borrego Springs, CA

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today was my Friday

After four days of work, I’m ready for a few days off.  Three of those days were split between roving and working the VC, but that floor in the VC is still doing a number on my hip.  We are entering the busier season for visitors, so that helps with the boredom, but I still prefer the roving assignments.  They not only get me outside, but I also enjoy the interaction with visitors on the trails and nature drive.

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Winds were absolutely calm this morning after last nights thunderstorms and rain.  Alligator pond was very reflective, and if you had a pair of binoculars, you’d see a gator on the far bank.

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I thought I’d include a picture so you can get an idea of how the Honey Prairie fire of 2011-2012 resulted in stands of totally burned out upland forest.  That fire, which lasted a year, burnt through over 80% of the refuge.  While it looks rather devastating here, Mother Nature knows what she’s doing, and the swamp will come back rejuvenated.

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As we near the end of February, the first hatches of butterflies are occurring.  This is a zebra swallowtail that I first noticed yesterday while roving.

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You probably would have chuckled if you had been able to watch me try to get these shots.  I was hobbling a bit yesterday trying to get this creature to sit still long enough to find it in my viewfinder.  The sand was wet from all of the rain, and I almost made myself dizzy wheeling around with that big lens following it’s flight path.  I think, perhaps, it was getting a drink from the moist sandy soil.

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Then this morning, I found this Palamedes Swallowtail near the secret pond.  Thankfully, it alighted and sat still long enough for me to creep up on it.  The Palamedes is the signature butterfly species of the southern swamps, including Okefenokee.  This was the first time I had seen this species, but I suppose now I’ll see them just about everywhere.  That seems to be the way it goes. Sarcastic smile  You search and search for something, and once you find it, it seems to appear every time you turn around.

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I want to assure you folks up north that spring is coming.  The pine warblers are beginning to sing all over around here.  I’ve been surprised that the droves of robins haven’t entirely left yet, but I’m sure they’ll be on their way shortly along with the greater sandhill cranes.  Our local sandhills are already beginning to nest.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for spring!

After taking care of my mundane chores on my next three days off, I’m hoping to visit the Folkston Funnel if the rains hold off.  I don’t know much about watching trains, but I’m open to trying to figure out why people want to watch trains rumble by.  This may be a real stretch for me.  Disappointed smile

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

34 comments:

  1. Back in the industrial plants before I retired if a worker was required to stand most of the shift to perform their job an Ergonomic mat was put at that station. It reduced the wear and tear on their bodies because it was like standing on a cushion. This also meant they were in less pain and not so tired at the end of the day. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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  2. Good to hear you are continuing to improve. After seeing your photos, spring seems a little bit closer.

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  3. A fire lasted a year...oh dear. If Mt. St. Helens can come back after the eruption, your refugee has a great chance of overflowing with beauty once again.

    Oh, I love the photos of the butterflies. The zebra swallowtail is gorgeous. Thanks for hobbling and getting the great shots.

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  4. I work the same days as you - Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun - and when I go back on Thursday, I think its Monday. Hard to break habits, I guess. Maybe your Dr can write a note that the floor is not good for your new hip and you can work outside all of the time.

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  5. Beautiful butterfly pics. I really enjoy your bird and butterfly pics. Most of the ones you photograph I have only seen in books. Your patience in getting the shots is superb!! Keep up the good work!! Do some resting on your days off, your hip will thank you for it!!

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  6. As a 12-year-old butterfly collector in Wisconsin, I dreamed of a zebra swallowtail. They were about as common as hens' teeth so far north that someone once called it "frozen tundra" in winter. But we had a couple of "butterfly bushes" and I had gotten about every other butterfly that my book said ever came to Wisconsin. Of course, my actual observation time might have been 5% to 10% of the summer days, so a bunch of "zebras" could have come and gone without my noticing.

    Thank you for reminding me of this youthful passion...

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  7. I feel bad for you having to deal with an uneven, uncomfortable slate floor. The butterfly pics are really something. In my wildest dreams I couldn't catch a photo shot like that.

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  8. Those butterfly shots were so beautiful! Mother Nature sure did a special job coloring butterflies. I am always amazed at their coloring. Well I am glad you are encouraging us that Spring is on the way. I am sooo ready. We are in for more snow Tuesday, not saying how much yet. We heard Cranes flying over today, so that was good. Won't be long and I'll be spinning around trying to get butterflies again, and I can't wait. Good to see that you are out and about again and enjoying nature.

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  9. Beautiful Butterflies! Take care of that hip, sorry that the floors still irritate it.

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  10. Love the amazing butterfly shots. Be careful whirling around on the new hip.

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  11. Sorry, don't believe you :-)

    Last Thursday about a foot of snow and another foot forecasted for Monday night.

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  12. I have never seen such a beautiful butterfly as the zebra.

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  13. Its so great to see your photos again. That butterfly is beautiful.

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  14. That shot of the Zebra swallowtail is beautiful! I've never seen a Palamedes before... as good excuse as any to head to Georgia one of these days. Rosa (our host family) was saying just yesterday that Spring is nearly here.... I sure hope my friends aren't all fibbing to me!

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  15. The Folkston Funnel isn't much fun in the wee hours of the morning when camped along the road going to Kingfisher Landing. The horns blow long and short all night.

    Beautiful butterfly pictures. Love spring in the swamp.

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  16. Loved the butterfly photos..thanks for sharing! I've seen some very unusual butterflies here in Florida, but they move so fast, it's so hard to photograph them! I'd love to know what kind they are. Can't tell the difference between winter and spring down here in Florida. Sigh! Miss seeing the BIG changes!

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  17. Love the butterfly pictures. And, every time I see that header picture I just have to laugh. That turtle is so cute!

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  18. Beautiful pictures. I love the butterflies.

    Having lived in Southern Cali for several years, I know the devastation that a forest fire can bring. One of my favorite hiking trails was burned three times in the years I lived there! But each time, nature would work its magic and life would blossom again.

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  19. I think trains call out to me because they remind me of travel of yore to mysterious places that were previously inaccessible any other way . I don't know about sitting and waiting for them, though. We did that only once, and that was in the Yoho NP area in Canada ... the Spiral Train Tunnels are interesting because they have some really long freight trains in Canada, and you can see the train still going in one end as the engine is coming out on the other end.

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  20. Beautiful butterfly pictures. It's nice that you can capture their beauty with a camera rather than a net.

    So sorry to hear about your hip bothering you. It seems that as a volunteer you would get at least as much consideration as a paid employee. Most workplaces will accommodate special circumstances, such as recovering from hip surgery, by assigning duties that do not aggravate the condition. I have not been a NWR volunteer so I don't know how that all works, but it just seems to me they should treat you with more consideration when making the work assignments. In the meantime, have you tried any special shoes, maybe like the ones nurses wear...something really cushy and supportive? Take care, you are worth it!

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  21. I just love your header picture....praise to the sun it seems to say. Beautiful picture of Alligator pond. Glad to hear you are coming up on a few days of R&R. It's so nice to hear about you being up and about.

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  22. I have never seen a zebra swallowtail before. It sure is beautiful. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the spring like days!!

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  23. Float like a butterfly..... great shots, Judy!

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  24. I really enjoyed your bird and butterfly photos.

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  25. As always, you are quite the photographer.

    Fridays? Mondays? Saturdays? What are they? Here it's 24/7 for 75 days straight. Such is the life at gate guarding. And staying up to 2 or 3 in the morning I don't even know night from day anymore.

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  26. How can you keep your days straight with your schedule? Hopefully you can know at least what month it is...

    Loved your butterfly pictures, amazing colors!

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  27. Great pictures Judy...the Palamedes is so pretty. I have never seen that one! Teaching 5 year olds about butterflies was one of my favorite times of the year. Not sure if it was really the butterflies or the fact it was spring and a true sign the year was coming to a close.....( it was the butterflies !).

    Hope you are taking care of yourself...
    Have a great week....

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  28. Model railroading was my primary hobby for years but I do not enjoy places like the Folkston Funnel. I want to know what's in the cars and where they are going and to be used for what. Just seeing them go by is no fun. There are plenty of people who care that this box car is built differently from that box car, I'm just not one of them. So, take a picnic with you and enjoy being out there but don't be surprised if you just find it to be a noisy place.

    As to the floor, maybe a pair of boots with the gum rubber soles would help soften the impact? But, I'm with the people who say you should just say no to working the VC while you heal. You have the right to take care of you!

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  29. Come on over to our house and you can prop a lawn chair in our back yard and see a gazillion trains...I must warn you that ear plugs don't even work out there...You could blow an eardrum...That Tiger Swallowtail is amazing....never seen one until now...Spring?? We are under a heavy snow warning for tomorrow...I HATE it here.

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  30. butterbean carpenterFebruary 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Howdy Judy & Emma,
    Sorry about the rough floor hurting your hip!! I built a house once for a 'doofus' who wanted broken-rock faced
    brick floors in his den and couldn't pursuade him not to!! After he moved in they tripped over the points and their sofa & chairs were rockin' & rollin'!!! I wouldn't do anything to the floor, because I'd warned him!!!
    The flutterbys are beautimous and I can see the gator with my naked eyeballs!! Give Emma a hug & pat for us, please!! See if you can find some jell-inserts for your shoes; they work great and cushion your knees & hips!!!
    I have some work boots with them in the soles and it's like walking on clouds!!!
    Hope you can get some relief and don't have to leave your favorite job!!!

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  31. Great butterfly photos. Did you use macro, Image Stabilizer lens?

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  32. Judy and Emma,
    The SPRING PREVIEW is just beautiful !!!! You are such a pro with the butterfly and bird shots ....that is tough to do .... Talk about patience ..... I love color but the black and white swallowtail steals the show !!!!
    Thrilled you have time off to relax and regroup ..... The tile and cement floors will talk back after a shift of work ..... I'm sure your hip feels that test !!!!
    Thanks for sharing.... SallyB and Sir Duke

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  33. wow. . .wow. . .wow.. .those swallowtails are just gorgeous, and you did an amazing job of capturing them.

    Enjoy your recuperation days!

    Janice
    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog
    FaceBook.com/ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing

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