Today’s wildlife encounters started at the entrance gate. I hopped out of the truck and climbed through the big iron gate to reach the lock box. There, on the ground, was a lifeless osprey. I reported the bird to Refuge HQ and later heard the law enforcement ranger and biologists were investigating cause of death. Critters die in the Refuge all the time but it is unusual to find them in such public areas.
I’d been wondering about my bear friend. We saw no sign of him back in July and the site remained undisturbed while we waited out the heat. Didn’t see any evidence of bear last week either. Arriving on site today, though, there was no doubt the bear is still in the neighborhood. Tarps were strewn all over the island complete with a few claw tears. And, the bucket was crushed. Looks like the bear tried to sit on it!
In early afternoon, I noticed increased rustling in the tops of the trees. Soon, dozens of birds (alive this time) came from the swamp north of the island and settled in the trees around the excavation. They moved on after a few minutes but we’ve never been a stop on the bird tour before while working.
The last encounter of the day came on the walk out when a very, very tiny eastern kingsnake (not venomous) was in the path. It was alive, too, but didn’t seem anxious to go anywhere.