Friday, June 4, 2010

ah, the field...


First day
Sunny, beautiful clouds, sterling blue sky.
Warm. Lovely breeze.
Windmills spinning.

Second day
MUCH more humid.
Just as gorgeous.
Windmills are a still life painting.

Unaccustomed to the extra weight, the wet air is sluggish. Climbing up and across steep, bumbly hills for hours, we sweat ferociously.

Our reward? Wildlife encounters. And wildlife rescues. (Well, that and a paycheck.)

Yesterday, approaching a board we know a rattlesnake (Crotalus viridus) frequents, we find our sunbather.

Later that day, a baby rattlesnake rests on a dirt road (check out the flower for scale--red-stemmed filaree). Despite it's youth, it already has that impassive, steely gaze.

And this species has mastered motionlessness. Spectacular stillness.

I can't even begin to imagine being like that--I'm a rather antsy sort. Or, as a Scottish friend once pronounced, I'm "a fidgety bugger."

Today, we enjoyed some quality time with an amenable gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer), ably handled by a co-worker who's done wildlife work around the world. He's our gopher-snake-finder-and-handler extraordinaire.

They have the most amazing skin/scales. Feels SO cool. Snakes really are awesome creatures. And, no doubt, they were diggin' the toasty weather. And the 50 million voles we see every day. =)

And, what post would be complete without a bug picture?? This looked to me like a crane fly, but was HUGE huge huge. The biggest I've EVER seen. It's GOT to be a different species from the ones I see where I live. According to Wikipedia, "At least 4256 species of crane flies have been described...." So, sounds like the odds are good.

Milkweed, blooming its heart out. Friend to so many invertebrates; indirect protector of same.

The view from under a bridge; our protector today. Enjoying the blissful shade, cool rocks to lie upon, the charming, quirky view so characteristic of our site, and at last, a delicious breeze.

I shed about 4,000 degrees of body heat in 20 minutes. Ahhhh....

Sometimes I love my job.



  1. What a great post and I LOVE LOVE LOVE those rattlesnake photos. We have timber rattlesnakes on one of the farms my husbands family owns. We are going to be doing a study on them this year with one of the herpetologists at a local university. I am so excited and can hardly wait to get started.

  2. So glad you enjoyed--I certainly did! =) Yes, rattlesnakes are the coolest creatures. I should thank my patient co-workers for waiting while I promise "It'll only take a second" and whip out the camera again. Oh, and my BOSS for gainful (and so cool) employment. Aren't timber rattlesnakes big fatties? That's very exciting you'll get to hang with a herpetologist. What fun! =)

  3. Hey, bb, I've been looking for and can't find your impaled insect on barbed wire post (by a shrike?) from around this time. See Dipper Ranch Cindy's latest post for the reason why I was reminded of your old post.


Cool people write inside rectangles....