Friday, October 20, 2006

Notes From a Day In Sabine Pass, TX

As I walked along the rustic boardwalk that snakes through the large stand of willows near Sea Rim State Park I realize at one moment I'm standing in the midst of hyacinth glider dragonflies feeding on a cloud of tiny gnats. They appear unwavered by my presence as they hover within inches of my face feeding ravenously on their prey. I stand motionless observing as their cellophane wings flick in the silence that surrounds me. Suddenly from above a large common green darner drops into the mix, much in the same fashion as a sharp-shinned hawk would dive into a flock of birds, snatching one of the hyacinths. I follow it until it comes to rest on a thin willow branch where it begins to meticulously take apart its prey bit by bit beginning head first. It consumes until their is nothing left but the silky wings that moments before were gliding on the wind. Continuing on the boardwalk I come upon pile after pile of fur-laden bobcat scat. I'm sure it is from the one I photograhed here back in 2005 (see my Dec. 10, 2005 blog entry) and it's nice knowing it still hangs out here. Trails jut out into the marsh from different areas off of the boardwalk denoting where it travels. I sat on one of the wooden benches provided here and blew on a predator call to see if I might pull it into view. I continued this on and off for about 30-45 minutes hoping it would show itself, but unfortunately it didn't. There is a good possibility though it had creeped up silently and was observing me without my knowledge. They can be quite elusive and blend in well with their surroundings.


Along Highway 87 I spot (by pure luck) a large banded sphinx caterpillar that is attempting a suicidal trip across the asphalt. It is the same length and as thick as my index finger. Very smooth in appearance and not "wooly" like the many woolybears I usually sees crossing this swath of highway. After photographing it I set it in the high grass along the highway's edge.
Not far from the caterpillar I find something else interesting on the road's edge- a blue crab. How the heck did it get here? All around I look for a source of water and is none to be found, and the beach is about a mile or so from the road. I reach down and tap it to find it is plenty alive as it rears its claws skyward. The only thing I can figure is that a heron or egret captured it somewhere else and dropped it while flying overhead. Rather than allow it to dry up and die I drive about a mile down the road where I found a shallow ditch filled with water and plunk it in helping it to live one more day.

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