Friday, May 04, 2007

Mangel Muckabout Part Two

Meanwhile, out in the Gulf ...

See! I told you something went bebopping along the mangrove branch. You missed it? Well, it's probably because once I mentioned stingrays you never looked at anything but your feet.

You can stop shuffling now, I don't think stingrays come ashore.

So our mystery critter is a rat.

Now, is it some kind of Mangrove Tree Rat and we should be excited to see it, ... or is it just a rat?

No, I don't know the answer to that question. Let's keep moving.

The water here is only about two inches deep, but the mud under these trees is soft and sticky. If you stop moving you WILL sink. See my left foot? It's lightly resting on the bottom. My right foot has my weight on it and I'm down to my knee.

Huh?

No, I don't know how deep you could sink here, but I've been up to my neck in marsh mud with my cousin Rick down at the San Sebastion River. It's a weird feeling which I don't care to repeat.

Let's keep moving. Keep an eye out for moccasins. They get enormous on these islands feeding on fallen seabird chicks and rats.

No, I'm not kidding. The giant moccasins are legendary on the next key over, Seahorse Key.

Wowsers, it's getting kind of thick. At least the mosquitoes aren't out yet. You can thank the drought for that. Couple of horseflies though.

We can push on through this mangel or we can work our way out to the beach for a walk down the shore. The recent hurricane summers have reshaped the island and it's pretty neat to see their handiwork.

What'll it be?

Okay, the beach it is.

There, the light at the end of the tunnel.
Let's hit the water first and rinse off some of this mangel mud before we walk the beach.
What?
Yes, you can start shuffling again as soon as you hit the water.
We'll do our beach walk Monday. I have some bird photos I can not sit on any longer. MUST.SHARE.PHOTOS!
Possibly the coolest bird shots ever for me.
Manana.
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15 comments:

roger said...

i do have beach envy, but no mangel envy. tho if i were there i'm sure i'd be fascinated by the swampy stuff.

those last words in blue text are rather hard to read on the, uh, whatever color the background is. sumpin about birds?

robin andrea said...

Walking in mud up to your neck? Oh that does not sound good at all. The swamp looks pretty interesting, but I'm glad you're there taking the pics, and I'm here just looking at them. Even sinking to your knees is a little bit creepy. I'm not overly fond of rats or snakes, so I guess mangels are not my perfect place for fun.

Your bird pics have been spectacular, so definitely looking forward to tomorrow.

threecollie said...

Hmmm, I love the beach and the close in, shallow waves...things like picking up fossil shark teeth at Venice Beach have wildly delighted me in the past. However, I am just going to sit here at my nice warm, (dry) desk and enjoy your photos of walking through all that poison-thingie-infested swampy stuff. Cluck, cluck
Looking forward to bird photos!

rcwbiologist said...

Thanks for the tour. It was interesting to see what a mangrove forest looks like inside. I've seen pictures from the outside of them and read about them before, but this was more intimate.

pablo said...

Maybe there is something about the tropics that would be worth seeing. Nice walk you've been taking us on.

Deb said...

That muck sounds like the stuff that builds up behind a beaver dam on a stream...not fun to walk through when you're carrying a backpack electrofishing unit! Oh well, it keeps the riff raff out.

Cathy said...

This was great fun and as I read this post and Mangel Muckabout to my hubby we both shuddered vicariously. We get our thrills by watching our backyard Mallards squaring off with the squirrels over bird seed. Borrrring.

Floridacracker said...

roger,
i understand. hey, you were right about the blue, i changed it.

Robin,
I'm not sure if walking is the right word ... more like swimming, crawling ...

ThreeCollie,
Some things are best viewed from a distance :)

RCW,
Glad you enjoyed it. There's more to say about them, but we'll mix it up some.

Pablo,
Subtropics.
You are welcome in this mangel any time ... you own it.

Deb,
I suppose deep mud is deep mud wherever you are. I'm glad all I was carrying was my camera.


Cathy,
Squirrels vs. Mallard ... My money's on the squirrels.

SophieMae said...

Nothing like a deserted Gulf beach! The rat would've WAY creeped me out, though. I can handle snakes, but rodents... *shudder*

Can't wait to see your new bird pics!

pablo said...

Loathsome goo. I thought you said all of that was up in the state capital.

vicki said...

Better late than never- it's 517 am in chicago so you'll pop up your post with birds shortly- hurrah! Back in Chicago, fighting through 3 months of junk mail but yes! It's a Mangrove Rat (aka Malaysian Wood Rat)- distinquished by his white undersides. Usually, nocturnal.
Great walkabout thus far. Back shortly, looking for birds.

Loathsome goo is right. As a left over from Dan's childhood, we call that "Aah-gusting!" And then someone says, "God Bless You."

vicki said...

I mean Marsh Rat. We have both in the Small Mammal house, but but your guy, I think is a Marsh Rat aka Mangrove Rat aka Eastern Wood Rat- aka Pack Rat! Seriously. That's my final answer.

John Cowart said...

I enjoy taking your virtual tour without getting stuck in the mud.

Thanks.

Hope Katie is doing well now.

Floridacracker said...

Sophie,
I agree 100%, nothing like it! Rodents do have bright shiny eyes tho. I'm grasping at straws aren't I?

Pablo,
You have an excellent memory sir. It's less loathsome now, but there's still plenty of goo.

Vicki,
Okay, the Malaysian thing threw me, but your second comment is what I was hoping it would be. So much cooler than some Norway rat that swam the bay.

John,
Glad you came along and thank you for asking about my girl. She's back to her sweet sassy self.

JunieRose2005 said...

WOW!!


I am enjoying checking out all of your cool Florida pictures!You get some great nature shots!!


Junie Rose