Friday, February 15, 2008

You Never Know 'Til You Go

Got home early from school, so we went to St. Marks. It wasn't a "St. Marks Day" (cold, clear and windy) but the opportunity was there and we are glad we went.

We started down Old Plank Road, but the washboard washout was proving a very rough and slow-go, so we went back and drove the paved road. Once at St. Marks, we discovered the final stage of a control burn on the west side of the road. Stumps were still smoldering here and there. On the way out in the almost dark, that smoke had settled densely on the road. We looked then for glowing embers, but were not rewarded. There had also been recent fire on the east side further down the road.

There was water in the Stoney Bayou #1 pool for the first time lately. We guess that means the dike repair is complete for that pool.

There were hardly any people down there, but lots of birds. We saw a beautiful northern pintail duck that was too far to photograph with our camera. A black-necked stilt was in the same situation, though the sun shining on his pink legs was stunning. A flock of mallards had their green heads shimmering in the same light. There were northern harriers and osprey and white ibis and greater and lesser yellow legs and the million little sandpipery birds in at least 3 sizes that still elude our identification. And sand gnats (no-see-ums)! On the return, just after the lighthouse, we saw a big raccoon rambling through the salt marsh in a high step. (Does that keep the sand gnats off of him?)

The sun was beginning to set and the pines turned pink.


Just as it was getting too dark for the camera to work well without the tripod, B. spotted a spotted bobcat, hunched down and hunting. It was right at the edge of the pavement and watching the brush intently.


We inched forward, taking pictures as we went. Then it stood up, showing its large size, and walked toward us.


And then it crossed the road in front of us and was instantly swallowed up by the tall, brown vegetation, though we could hear its rustling for a while.


It was the best observation we've ever had of a bobcat in the wild--and it was pretty cool! It was as exciting as seeing the black bear on Old Plank Road last summer.


Daniel said...

Very cool :)

Bruce Ritchie said...

Nice shot. I saw a bobcat last month no Southwood Plantation Road at Old St. Augustine Road. It was the second time I had seen one in that area.