Friday, May 22, 2009

One Thing Leads To Another

A few weeks ago, Matt and I went to Thompson Wildlife Management Area to see the spectacular spring show of trilliums and orchids. At one point, a really large bumblebee caught my eye. As I watched it, the bee flew to a showy orchis that we had walked right past.

I find this phenomenon happens a lot: stop to look at one thing, and you may just notice something else even better. Later that weekend, we slowed down the car to look at a nice violet -- a violet! -- and spotted a type of iris we'd never seen growing in the wild before.

But here's the craziest example I can think of: a four part chain reaction. Last winter, we were at a wildlife refuge in Florida when we slowed down to look at an anhinga. Not so exciting; we had seen lots of them already on the trip. But as we slowed down we noticed a small alligator perched on the bank near the anhinga. Alligators were also a dime a dozen on this trip, but we stopped because it was a cute scene: the alligator looked like it was contemplating lunch in the form of the bird in front of it.

As we were taking some pictures, we noticed some motion off in the far distance. With the binoculars, we were able to see some wild pigs on the edge of the woods. Now that's unusual. Pigs are actually a non-native species that are becoming a nuisance in Florida, but it was neat to see them anyway.

And then, there was motion much closer to us, in the grass. At this point, our stopping had attracted a few other observers and over the many pairs of binoculars, there was much discussion amongst us. All anyone could see was a pair of ears, and we weren't sure what kind of critter they were attached to. Some people came and went. The ears stayed, and so did we. And eventually, the ears moved to the edge of the grass. Out came a bobcat, into full view.

A once in a lifetime experience. All from stopping for an a bird we had seen a thousand times before.

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