Saturday, September 23, 2017

COROLLA NORTH CAROLINA TRIP - 7TH DAY - 9-7-17 - PINE ISLAND AUDUBON NATURE TRAIL



Corolla, North Carolina Trip 
Seventh Day
Wednesday, September 7th, 2017
Pine Island Audubon Nature Trail



It is 12.14 p.m. and Gregg and I are walking along the Pine Island Audubon Nature Trail.  We come to a gate but it is closed.  We go down the road that is open to the left of the gate, and we come to a large building, which is the Pine Island Raquet Club and Fitness Center.  A little further on we find the trail.  It is lovely and quiet (I am recording today's journal to my note app on my phone while walking along.  It is easier remembering a few basics rather than wait until the end of the day, and then the photos jog my memory for the rest).



We encountered only one jogger as we began our walk, and he was heading  towards the gate we just came through. There was no one else, just us and the trail of butterflies.  I have never seen so many along the path.  There are a few wildflowers but I would not have thought there were enough for the many I see.  It is a butterfly rush-hour.   Very hard to get a decent photo because they are always on the move, fluttering over our heads, past our faces.  



But one or two settled for a while, not for long but it was enough to get a memory.



"Happiness - a butterfly, which when pursued, seems always just beyond your grasp, but if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you."

~A Chapter of Definitions~
Daily Cresent, June 23rd, 1848


One perched on my hat and stayed long enough for Gregg to take a photo.  It only moved when I continued walking.  


All different types and maybe some might actually be moths. I didn't recognize them.  



The trail is a little muddy in parts, it rained the night before.  I shouldn't have worn sandals.  My walking shoes are in the boot of the car.  I must remember to wear my walking shoes next time. Sandals are not good for this. I keep collecting tiny pebbles and my toes have been jabbed with small branches. I stopped a few times to jiggle my shoes free of these annoyances. Gregg was much more sensible with his footwear.



I have lost Gregg around the bend.  We go at our own pace and I have been fascinated by what I see and stop to take photos.  He is taking his own.  



We eventually catch up with each other.  At the end of the trail was a platform overlooking the Sound.



Gregg arrived first and he saw a Great Blue Heron, but on his approach it flew away.  He came back and yelled down to tell me he had found the water, and where he would be.  I was still taking photos of those wildflowers.



As far as I can tell from looking online, these are Leafy Elephants Foot Carolina Tobaccoweed, also called Devil's Grandmother!  Where do these names come from?  It belongs to the Aster family.  You can look here to see if you agree with me.  I would love to get a correct ID.



Below is Meadow Beauty.  On my online search I found this page.



We stayed for almost an hour on the platform.  It was very pleasant and peaceful.  There weren't any birds to see but I think the more experienced might know the best time of the year to view migrating birds.  It didn't detract from our enjoyment.  



There were two levels to the platform.  We were sitting at the top where there was seating.  One level down it was for the birder to stand behind cover, an open 'blind'.  There were slats on hinges which could be lifted for binoculars or camera lenses.



And the views were outstanding.




I could have stayed there for another hour but it was time to get moving.  This was the sign on the platform and I am adding it for the birders out there.



On our way back, not more than a hop, skip and a jump from the platform, pardon the pun, Gregg spotted a rabbit, bigger than the small cottontails I normally see.  On looking at its photo on my laptop later, I was surprised to see he had very small ears compared to other rabbits.  



He was a cute one!



Gregg took several photos before he scampered away.  



I took one of his footprint in the mud with my cell phone.  



(Those short ears intrigued me so I did a google search and found this.  Our little friend was a Short-eared Marsh Rabbit.  As you read down the page at the link, you will see that when alarmed, these marsh rabbits leap into the water.  It is said they can outswim a large dog.  They have been seen to swim strongly 700 yards from shore.  



They can also elude predators by floating motionless among water plants, ears tucked down, with only noses and faces above the water.  They will stay like that until the threat has gone away.  Or if they are seen they will swim away as fast as they can which, if they can outswim a dog, must be pretty fast.  Such a neat little guy, one we were both happy to come across.



We are making our way back to the car now and still walking the trail.  Gregg spotted something on the ground.  When I looked closely, it was a tiny turtle and it looked like a newborn, a hatchling.  It had a fine coating of sand all over it, so I don't think it had been out of the nest for very long.



It is a baby snapping turtle.  







Took our photos and left it in peace, to continue its journey to wherever.  A couple of paces along there was another tiny turtle. Took photos of that little darling and also left it in peace.  



We didn't see any more but now I am walking along looking at the ground, wondering if any more will be on the trail, but this was the only spot we found them.  



If you want to take a look at what they are like fully grown, you can go here.  If you ever decide to help one out, say if you saw one crossing a road, it is important to know how to pick them up, as mishandling can cause irreparable harm.  You might not want them to harm you either as they have a powerful bite. The following YouTube video will show you how. 


If the video doesn't open up for you, you can watch it here.  One last look at our turtle who has a very important message.


unless you are trying to outrun a predator that is!


The only other thing we found on the ground was this, and I gave him a wide berth.  He is a Bald-faced hornet.



One last look at the trail and we head to our car.



5.40 p.m. We have been home for a little while.  Our son and daughter-in-law called, and so did my niece in Germany.  Lovely catching up with them, as always.

6.10 p.m. Gregg and my brother-in-law left to pick up pizzas and a salad for dinner tonight.  We spent another pleasant evening with the family.  



50 comments:

  1. This rabbit is a totally new species for me. I would have loved to have seen it.

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  2. Add me to those who had never seen (or heard of) a short-eared rabbit. What a wonderful excursion. Thank you so much for taking us along. I would have dawdled along (and probably would have been in sandals too).

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    1. Thank you EC. There was so much to take in and I love a good nature trail.

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  3. Oh, the butterfly on your hat is a very special catch! And about the sandals … toes in such close proximity to the snapping turtle seemed a bit risky to me. :)

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    1. Thank you Penelope and you are wise as well as wonderful :) Bare toes in the same vicinity as snapping turtles, even as small as they were, is not good head work ;)))

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  4. That is a nasty looking hornet! The baby turtles are so cute. You have managed to identify everything! Interesting info about the rabbit, I have never seen one like this. I have never seen flowers like this, either. I believe the butterfly on your hat is a Red Admiral.

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    1. Thanks for the ID of the Red Admiral Ginny. I forgot all about the butterflies and looking for what they were.

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  5. WoW, what a great spot for a nature walk, I am surprised at the number of butterflies you encountered!! Very fun to see Mr. Rabbit and the snapping turtle as well. You would not want to walk here without a camera!!

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    1. I was surprised too, the only other time I have seen this many was inside a butterfly house. No, I would have not wanted to be here without a camera :)

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  6. Delightful photos! Love the butterfly on your hat! I know what you mean about sandals. My podiatrist says to keep wearing my BIrkenstocks but they are not for all weather and terrain.

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    1. Thanks Linda and yes, those sandals are one of the most comfortable I have. Like walking on a cushion.

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  7. Ahhh that is what holidays are all about. Walking nice trails, finding abundant wildlife and a few wild flowers then home for pizza with family. Lucky you. (next time wear walking shoes silly girl)

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    1. Yes it was a great day and yes I know, next time this silly girl will put her walking shoes on, lol!

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  8. The butterfly on your hat was a lucky shot. I don't know how true it is but I was once told that moths only come out at night. Perhaps you can enlighten me on that.

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    1. I think you are right Valerie, thanks for the reminder.

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  9. Hi Both and what a beautiful walk, never heard of such a Rabbit that can out swim a dog. Some lovely Butterflies and the snapping turtle, so small and as you say probably not long hatched. All the best, John

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    1. Thank you John, all the best to you too :)

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  10. I like your sandals and agree they are not what you need in all this beauty. love the trail and the TREES are wonderful... a place I would love to wander. I have walking sandals for trails down here

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    1. Thanks Sandra, this trail was one of the prettiest I had ever been on.

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  11. Hello, looks like my kind of place to walk. I love the butterflies, turtles and the rabbit. I did not about this rabbit and that it could swim. The wildflowers are beautiful. Great captures and post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

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    1. Thanks Eileen, so glad you liked it Happy week to you :)

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  12. What a lovely place for a hike! The two level platform reminds me of something similar in a park here on the Quebec side of the river.

    The baby snapper is quite a beastie even at that side. I've only once escorted one across a road, and gave it a good berth, just standing on the road so that cars would see me and be able to slow down .

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    1. How kind of you to slow the traffic down for the little beastie. They can be a little scary as my daughter-in-law told me she did help a relatively sized one and they have long necks which can swivel their heads around fast to try to bite. They are just going into protective mode so you can’t blame them. Thought the video was a good idea to put out there for other good samaritans.

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  13. Such a beautiful trip in the middle of nature with butterflies and rabbits!

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    1. Thank you Shon, I am glad you enjoyed my post :)

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  14. Lovely nature walk, I hope the little turtle doesn't get stepped on, it camouflages perfectly with the walkway.

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    1. It had a quiet place to cross safely Christine, thankfully.

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  15. You are a great chronicler of your walks. Lots of work in this post and I appreciate it.

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    1. Thank you very much Yogi, sweet of you to say so :)

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  16. Cute photos of Mother Nature.

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  17. I loved the video of the snapping turtle crossing the road, Denise! I absolutely love taking long walks in places like this, thank you so much for sharing! Here in Montreal for the past couple of days it has been dangerously hot and humid, and is 39 right now (about 102 fahrenheit) and so I cannot do my walks on days like this so I do them inside. Thanks to your lovely photos, I got to see what I love to see on my walks.

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    1. Thank you Linda. Walking is fun when the conditions are right :) 102 strikes me as being way too dangerous to walk in. I would be tucked inside the house waiting for cooler weather. Glad you liked the photos, have a great week!

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  18. What a great virtual walk. Love the butterflies and interesting about the snapping turtle. Have a great week Diane

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    1. Thank you Diane, they were very enjoyable. Have a great week also :)

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  19. This looks like a great place for a leisurely stroll. so many pretty butterflies

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    1. Yes indeed, walking among all those butterflies was a tremendous experience :)

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  20. lved the buterflies adn the whole area. Also watched the video although I will never need this info here in N.I Have a great week ahead.

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    1. Thank you Margaret :) No I guess you don't have any snapping turtles in N.I. :)

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  21. Replies
    1. Dear Francisco, thank you and a hug and a good week to you also :)

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  22. Such great butterfly and wildflower photos! I love the views of the Sound. And what adorable rabbit shots and also baby snapper! I didn't know there was a short-eared rabbit.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed them Marie, the short-ear was a new one to me too.

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  23. So many interesting things to see on this trail! I love the photo of the butterfly on your hat and those baby turtles are adorable!

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  24. You two hike like we do! Separately and then together -- we figure we see more that way when we put both our experiences together. Incredible number of butterflies -- and you did get great pictures. They usually flit too fast for me!

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    1. I love it that we are kindred spirits in the hiking department Sallie :) and thank you for stopping by.

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  25. We missed this trail during our vacation.

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