Green Tree Frog

This Green Tree Frog found a cozy leaf on which to snuggle up and blend in among surrounding lake vegetation.

“When I’m home, I like a cozy, comfortable, calming space.” ~Stacy Keibler

The Writing Spider

There seem to be a number of Black and Yellow Garden Spiders making their home among the vegetation around the boardwalk at the lake. These large-orb spiders are also known as the “Writing Spider”, “Zig-Zag Spider” or “Zipper Spider” because of the heavy white silk decorations which are spun into the center of their elaborate webs. The decorations resemble writing, and differ from web to web.

One of the webs caught my attention because of the way the spider was vibrating it back and forth. This is called “web flexing” and is thought to be a defense from predators or a way to entangle prey. Whatever the reason, the action is enough to make one dizzy if watched for very long.

“Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.”  ~Susan Statham

Crossing Paths With Guinea Fowls

While out driving in the country, we were surprised to see three guinea fowls scuttle across a roadside ditch and up into a yard. 

Also surprised by our unexpected presence, they let out a unique and rather loud bunch of screeches as they quickly headed in the opposite direction. 

Being a native of Africa, and previously only having seen them at a zoo, they were one of the last birds that we had expected to come upon. 

This raised my curiosity about why guinea fowls would be roaming around in a yard way out in such a rural area.  It turns out that raising guineas is becoming more common and has several benefits.  They roam free in yards and gardens and are persistent in their pursuit of pesky insects (including fleas, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes), spiders and small animals such as rodents.  They are also excellent at sounding the alarm if predators such as snakes, foxes or raptors or intruders such as unexpected humans are about.  And, of course, they are a good source of eggs and meat. While raising guineas has many positive benefits, it’s also a good idea to keep in mind that these birds tend to be very noisy, are not very domesticated and can harass smaller birds and chickens which also live on the property.

“I’ll see you when the road decides it’s time for our paths to cross again.” ~Ben Maxfield

Dragonfly Perches

Dragonflies use a variety of perches on which to land, and then utilize their large eyes to keep a lookout for both prey and predators.  By choosing a good perch, they have the advantage of resting while being on the hunt. They are also able to use several techniques to regulate their body temperature from this resting position.

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest.  Use both and overlook neither.”  ~Alan Cohen

Grabbing Some Grub

While driving along a road that runs through the refuge, we spotted several different raccoons, including young ones, walking around in shallow swampy water.  With the extremely hot temperatures and sparse rain, the pools were a popular place. At first appearance, the raccoons seemed to be wandering aimlessly around in the water.  However, after watching for a while, it became obvious that they were very methodically scanning the bottom of the pools with their sensitive paws in search of food.  It was interesting to watch the raccoons use their human-like hands to catch and handle the crayfish and frogs that they pulled from the water.

An objective is an ambition, and life without ambition is … well, aimless wandering.”  ~Alfred Wainwright

Swallowtail on Buttonbush

Buttonbush is a wetland shrub whose creamy, ball-shaped blossoms attract many pollinators, including this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

“Tremendous beauty can be found in the tiniest of things… for who has ever thought to rival that of a butterfly’s wing.”  ~Kristen D’Angelo