Happy Christmasy hubub has been slurping up my expedition time ... you may have noticed the dearth of posts.
Today, I grabbed an hour and zipped off to Devil's Hammock for a few warbler shots and maybe a sunning gator. With so little time, I zipped directly to a spot where an old logging road slips through a swampy area. The road itself is grassy and elevated, but it has water on either side with lots of warblerly bushes and gatory holes.
I parked the JEEP and started walking quietly, stopping to pssssst the warblers from time to time. They came zipping in, but not near enough for a shot and I was aware of my limited time, which was making me antsy.
Maybe getting to the gator hole would be a better use of my time. Even that usually sure thing, was iffy today. The swamp water levels were high and the gators were probably dispersed. I walked quietly, peering through the willows, hoping for at least one gator shot.
I had one chance as it turned out, a six footer sunning on the bank. Only problem was, a screen of willows separated us and I needed to get closer. Up ahead was a hole in the branches. If he would just hold for a second .... SPLASH!!
Oh well, scratch one gator shot.
The logging road I was walking abruptly ends in a willowy thicket that signals the end of dry ground and the beginning of a log strewn swamp. A narrow game trail leads off the road and into the mucky swamp at that point.
With time and road gone, I decided to follow the game trail just into the willows to try psssssting for another shot at the warblers.
That's when I almost stepped on the girl below.
Not being dramatic here, but this was as close as I've come to getting a dose of hemotoxin in long, long time. With my eyes on the warblers and still being on relatively high, dry ground, I was totally unaware of this very large moccasin until she hissed ... in just the position you see above ... locked and loaded.
I really, REALLY, appreciate that hiss as her spot was the landfall of my very next step. As it was, the land fall of my very next step was about two feet behind me immediately after the hiss.
And ... WORDS were said , ... words I won't repeat on this family safe blog.
Of course, as soon as my feet did return to Earth, I started shooting pictures ... got a little video too and if I can, I will post it later this evening ... after soccer practice.
Perfect moccasin habitat ... this is where the game trail led ...
Watch your step out there.