Sunday, April 24, 2011

RIP Porcy

I'm not one for stopping on the side of the road to inspect some roadkill, but this one was special. I usually try to avoid catching a glimpse of the mess. The animals I've seen hit and still partially alive throughout the years will forever haunt me, but this one caught my eye. I've never seen a live porcupine in or outside of NJ. I've seen its quills and I've seen other people's photos of them in NJ but I have never seen one. So I left the car running and jumped out for a quick peek. Poor thing was intact (thankfully) and didn't smell (also thankful). Then I drove for a minute or two and thought that I really wanted a pic. So I turned around, properly parked, and ran back with camera.

Which leads me to my new questions, how fast was porcy going when it was crossing the road? Seems weird that it would be intact...all internal injuries? How fast can they go on foot? Do they make noises? All new questions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The happiest and most stressed time of year.

For most, it usually is the major holidays that involve presents or around tax time. For me, it's spring. Let's see what's on the spring agenda. Spring entails hawk and owl surveys, vernal pool surveys looking for frogs, salamanders, and friends, and various turtle surveys and turtle radio tracking. Plus we are just getting started with real spring weather that's conducive to such activities....aside from this non-stop drizzle that seems to never end. Hours upon hours are spent planning our weekly schedule and it usually goes to hell quickly. Weather changes so we all have to adapt. No point in doing those surveys when it's pouring, cold, and everything we are looking for will be hiding.

We are only a couple weeks in and the hijinks have started. It's pretty well known that if you leave me alone in the field weird things happen. Turns out that even means leaving me alone for 5 minutes. Like when I was radio tracking a turtle and thought I had found it but that it's transmitter had died. I was looking for one of our turtles that we knew the transmitter had recently died but she's a homebody so she should be easy to find. Turns out it was not her but a poor turtle with a 10 year old dead transmitter. I realized this when I asked my coworker when and why this turtle had gone from being a girl to being a boy. Then phone calls had to be made in an area with now cell reception. But in the end, we ended up removing his transmitter and now he's living the happy life with a weight lifted off his back.

I stayed late after radio tracking to try to find some bears. I met up with a friend and spent over an hour searching in what was supposed to be prime time and area. Nothing was seen so I was started the long drive home after the long field day and spotted a mama bear and her two wee cubs basically in a brushy area by the highway. I love seeing things in the wrong spot after searching the best areas.

Then there's the owl survey from the car that illicited a pack of coyotes to respond. They did their locational calls and it was far away and faint, but definitely interesting. I'm just happy they weren't closer and that I was in the car. Or the almost coyote incident my co-worker had on foot that same night where he progressively encountered 7 pairs of glowing yellow eyes in woods where he's heard that same coyote locational calls. Alas it was just deer.

So I leave you with several shots of turtles I've found in the past couple weeks. Those are the good days where I'm solo with nature and can really enjoy spring.