Monday, October 26, 2009

Audubon Guides - When Push Comes to Shove - Purple Gallinule

I pushed my little sister off a roof once when we were kids. It wasn’t malicious behavior. My sisters and I were filming a backyard action movie and the scene required a spectacular eight foot plunge. The youngest sister had changed her mind at the last minute and with fading light, I gently nudged her. I got the shot. Looking back it reminds me of Bald Eagle chicks and the eldest who unceremoniously shoves the youngest hatchling out of the nest. One less mouth to feed. More for me. It’s called obligate siblicide and it’s not very nice.

Leave a comment when you get there!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Audubon Guides - Rattlesnake

It’s hot – somewhere between 93°F and 97°F degrees on the last day before the Autumnal Equinox. I know this because I have an acute sensory organ known as my skin that is covered in sweat and getting browner by the second. The momma Rattlesnake that just poked her head out from her limestone den can top me. She has a two-chambered pit found between the eye and nostril and on both sides of the head. It can sense temperature differences of less than 1/2°F. In this sultry, sub-tropical Everglades environment I must appear as a bright light on a pitch black night. TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST - HEAD OVER TO AUDUBON GUIDES WHERE I AM WRITING A WEEKLY COLUMN!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jelly Belly

And people wonder why I hate the beach.... Nothing gets my attention quicker when I'm floating around in the ocean than someone racing out of the water screaming.

"JELLYFISH! JELLYFISH!" - Suddenly I felt a sting on my leg. I was nowhere near this person screaming so apparently my psychosomatic empathy was kicking in. MaLe and I had been relaxing in the ocean for a while so we decided to head out and as I pushed my way towards shore I felt an electric buzz drag from my bellybutton, around my side and across my back. No doubt what that was.

The photo is the rash from belly to back. Nasty. And the rash is nasty too.

Having an allergy to bee stings - I was immediately concerned with the effects of a jellyfish sting and made my way to our beach chairs to find my epi-pen - a needle-injected dose of epinephrine that prevents severe allergic reactions and potential death. I looked through the bag. No epi-pen. I raced back to the car, side swelling, rash burning. No epi-pen in the car. I ran over to the ranger station - no ranger in the ranger station. Peeing on it won't work. My throat was not swelling but my heart was beating twice as fast as normal. When I finally found a ranger he explained to me how rare it is to find jellyfish here, but I was the 10th victim of the day. He explained I'd have to hang upside down while he attached leeches to my skin as a remedy. Seeing as I wasn't believing that nonsense - he used an After Bite stick - apparently the ammonia neutralizes the sting. No anaphylactic shock to worry about anyway. The burning subsided and we retreated back home.

I wouldn't have needed it but it was only the third time I have been without my Epi-Pen. Must remember - Epi means "upon" in Greek. Must have the Epi-Pen upon me if I ever need it.