After spending this morning reviewing the literature on the Southeastern American Kestrel (Falco sparverius paulus) in prep for upcoming field work designed to find nest cavities and foraging habitat, I walked outside to stretch my legs and eyelids:
Then ever so softly I crept over to a marina bulkhead to look down where a week or so ago I had spotted a juvenile cottonmouth (Ancistrodon piscivorus). At first I didn't see a serpent, but as my eyes moved slowly over the tangled marsh vegetation, lo and behold there was an adult moccasin! Unlike the distinctively marked juvenile, this adult was dullish dorsally, dirty yellow below and with a hint of opaqueness to the eyes, so it may be shedding its skin soon:
As I reached out my hand to steady against a utility pole, I looked over and spotted a yellow rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata) an arm's length away amongst my hanging bromeliads:
Aaaahhhhh, with all the rains we are having after so long doing without, the snakes are back in force at Orange Lake. No wonder the red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus) are doing so well here at Sportsmans Cove.