I wrote this post on Friday on paper (yes, I still remember how to hand-write things), so when I say “today” I mean Friday.
Every once in a while I get to travel to cool places for work – today I’m in St. Petersburg, Florida. And yes, I mean today, as in I’m not staying the night.
Quick trips are very common in my line of work. As long as everything can get done in one day, there is ALWAYS a flight back home that you can catch.
Today was an easy job, so I basically got another 3-day weekend (and a 3-day work week to top it off).
At the moment, I’m sitting at an outdoor restaurant on the water, over-looking a marina. Life could be a lot worse right now, let me tall ya.
Last time I was in Florida, it was July. It was hot AND raining at the same time, and there was no spare time for watching the sailboats in the marina while eating a haddock po boy, so I’m making up for lost time :).
Before I came out here, one of the girls at work was very concerned for my safety, mainly because she is deathly afraid of snakes and I was going alone to a state famous for invasive species of pythons, boas, anacondas, and countless other reptile species. Obviously, this combination of wildlife and isolation ensured certain death. then, while waiting for my flight this morning, a couple of the other girls in the office called me, laughing hysterically, to tell me about conversations they had about pythons in Florida, and again wanted to make sure I was safe and aware of the imminent danger that lie ahead.
10 minutes after walking around in the 13 acres of vacant land, I found this:
This snake would have probably been at least 6 inches wide, based on the skin. Not quite full-growth python-sized, but big enough I’m glad I found his skin, and not him!
CAUTION: Somewhat related tangent ahead
I’m definitely not afraid of snakes. Actually quite the opposite. I have seen snakes on several occasions, and in order to get a good pictures of them, I manage to accidentally piss them off. I’m not the person that will go in the opposite direction of them. Hubby is the same way. Once, while in Grad School, we were taking a course called Desert Zoology (I’ve also previously discussed this awesome course here) and we did a lot of “road cruising” at night. This consisted of leaving where ever we were for the day (usually in the middle of nowhere desert) and stopping any time we saw a snake on the road. In the summer, snakes commonly utilize hot asphalt for that last little bit of warmth when it gets dark and chilly in the desert. This is a common way snakes get killed as well, but that’s a different story.
So one night, Hubby and I were heading back to town after a trip to Big Bend and saw a rattlesnake on the road, so we stopped. It slithered to the grassy roadside, and we stood there looking at it with a flashlight. Being on high alert while watching a very venomous snake, Hubby jumped out of his skin when something ran across his foot. It turned out to be a tiny mouse! Then, after running toward us out of nowhere, the poor thing ran RIGHT AT THE RATTLESNAKE. Without hesitation, the snake struck and bit the mouse, but then released, and the mouse ran off. The snake was busy watching us, and was not about the eat something that would slow him down if we turned out to be hostile, so he let the mouse run off and die, and waited us out.
That was the coolest snake experience I’ve ever had, and I DIDN’T HAVE A CAMERA.
So back to Florida:
Although I didn’t see any reptiles while I was in St. Pete this time, I was kicking myself for not bringing my binoculars and my Sibley’s Birds of the Eastern United States. I’m not so great with IDing water birds, but I did see countless numbers of Osprey all over the place! I have always loved birds of prey, but I rarely get to see Osprey at home, so seeing them all over the place here has really made me happy!
This quick trip was great, even though it was just for the day. All it REALLY ended up doing was wetting my appetite for our vacation to the Keys coming up, so now I’m just counting the days.