In March one is sure to see swallowtail kits in Tate’s Hell State Forest. Here’s one we saw on April 15, gliding across the Ochlockonee River.
Juveniles — teenagers — have a lot to learn. They are more curious than cautious, but in that, for humans, is hope — perhaps a new way to see things around us. For critters, however, without an overarching adult watching, growing to adulthood is risky. Alligator, raccoons, cooters and now, this yellow crowned night heron.
Whatever it was doing when Ed came upon it, it diverted its attention to what was more interesting — us. As it went from muddy shoreline to a short step up a branch to a flight up to a higher branch, it’s eyes were upon us. But it did not fly away.
It’s attention span was longer than our over 15 minutes. We paddled away as it continued to watch from its perch.
Meanwhile on the shore, a juvenile raccoon we had seen in January with its mother and siblings was foraging for a late breakfast, a little after 10am. Then, the mother had given her brood a sharp warning sound, which none of them heeded. She herself headed into the brush, they stayed foraging in the mud for crayfish and other goodies. Now, this one is on it’s own.
The non-venomous water snakes on the creek seem to be a lethargic group — they take their positions and stay there. Adults or juvenile, it doesn’t seem to matter. But this juvenile, after extending its forebody a bit, didn’t move.
And then the caterpillars. Of what species I don’t know. They were too busy eating the leaves of both the cow creek spider lily and the swamp dragon’s head to take heed of anything.
It’s a busy time on the creek and the young ones are doing what they need to be doing to continue their species.
After perching long enough for several shots, this yellow-crowned night heron flew upstream as we paddled upstream. Much like kingfishers like to do, it stayed within visual distance, perching on a tree branch then flying away as we got too close.