Off to Europe!!

Hey everyone! I have a bit of a surprise for you guys…

I am going on a missions trip with my church to the country of Moldova! Me and my team will be running a Christian youth camp to teach kids about Jesus and, basically, hang out with them and have fun! I am first going to Myrtle Beach in North Carolina for a week. I leave tomorrow. I then will have two days to rest and then I leave for Moldova.  I am bringing a camera to both the beach and Moldova, so I hope to have some pretty sweet pictures from around the globe (even if they aren’t nature themed 🙂 )!

So, it will be a little while before you guys can read some new content. I will get back June 21st by the way. I will probably post sometime near the end of June.

Here’s just a little more extra information :). There is a 7 hour time zone difference so it will take me several days to get into the flow of time in Moldova. Phew! I can’t imagine how hard it will be to sleep for the first few days there :D. I will also get to make a brief stop in one of many Paris airports when I am flying to Moldova, and then I will head to Kiev, Ukraine! However, at the end of the mission trip, we will get a whole day to explore Kiev and sightsee!!! Or we can just sleep 🙂 . I don’t know why ANYBODY would sleep over exploring Ukraine, but hey, everyone has their own goals in life 🙂 .

I can’t wait to write some more, but I am also looking forward to swimming in the beach and playing some volleyball and hanging out with the Moldovan kids! If you guys want something specific for the next post, whether it be some random candy bar picture from Ukraine or a cool bug, please comment and I will try my best to get a picture of what it is you want.

Just remember, while I’m gone around the globe,

Keep calm and track on!

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Snapping Turtle Thursday!

Hey everyone! I have decided to dub this day: Snapping Turtle Thursday!!! Lol.

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So uh, this is the huge snapping turtle I found in my creek :D. There was NO WAY I could not show you guys. If I had to guess, it was probably around 37 Inches long, including the tail and head, and 14 inches wide. It was huge!!! Get a tape measure out and see for yourself just how big it is.

I was just wondering around near our creek, and saw this thing. This was the only pic I got before it got scared away. Glad it’s a decent pic 😀

On a side note, here’s some pictures of my family’s chickens! We have 6, but one isn’t in either of the pictures.

CHICKENS!!!

CHICKENS!!!

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Chickens are wonderful creatures. We feed them our food scraps and they always eat it! Finished weeding? Throw the weeds to the chickens. They literally eat anything! Except hot dogs….

Keep calm and track on!

The Answers!!

Hey everyone I had many people vote on my two polls and it is now time to reveal the answer!

For the first poll, I had this picture:

Tracks

The track was two depressed pieces of dirt in the center of the picture. I gave many answers for you guys to choose from. The correct answer was a deer track! Congratulations to all who correctly guessed! And congrats to all who didn’t get this! This was honestly a intermediate-difficult track to decipher, without actually being there or zooming the picture.

One clue, that was not easily visible to you guys, is that when I was there in person, I could see the dew claw marks that would come from a deer. This deer was running very hard and fast to show some dew claw marks! If you wanna try and find the marks, one is just to the left of that three leafed plant on the bottom half of the picture. Look for a small depression in the ground. Try clicking on the picture and then zooming it. It’s a LOT easier to find that way. Good job to everyone who participated!

The second track was, honestly, easier than the previous one.

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I wanted to see if I could throw anyone off by getting all serious 🙂 . The answer is a deer track, again. When I said to look at what isn’t obvious, I was wondering if you guys would notice the bit of boot tread in the bottom center of the picture. This looks like it would make the deer track the front of a cowboy (don’t know what else to call it :D) boot. Then in the bottom-right corner, with the other boot print, I wondered if you would think because that was there, that meant the main track had to be a boot.

The reason it’s deer is because 1: it’s a tad bit too small to be a boot print. And 2: It’s too rounded on the corners to be a boot print.

But everybody got it right! Every single person said deer on the second poll! That is absolutely amazing. I can tell you guys have really learned a lot about tracking, and in less than three months, many of you can decipher deer tracks from armadillo, rabbit, and human :D.

Really impressed with you guys! Y’all don’t know how happy it makes my heart to know that you guys can actually do this stuff, even without me being there to guide and teach you personally. Even if you got the answer wrong, you still have learned a lot, I’m sure of it!

Congrats to all, and like always,

Keep calm and track on!

Stubborn Turtles and Curious Bears! (Plus Some Other Stuff)

Hey guys! I hope y’all haven’t gotten too impatient with me, but *bear* with me, cause I’ve finished! This is gonna be a great post so let’s get going!
First off, can you find the track in the picture? If so, then let’s see if you can recognize what track this is. This is an intermediate level track to identify. There is a poll below so I will let you vote on what you think it is, then in a day or two I will reveal the answer.

Tracks

Now let’s get to the featured animal since we’re in the mood to reveal some mysteries! I had a poll with many animals that could’ve been featured in this post. But only one made it. The story begins at Vogel State Park in Dahlonega, Georgia. I was camping with my brother and my dad, but I was playing UNO! at another campsite when this incident happened :D.

It was our first night up in the mountains camping and my dad was hanging out by the campfire with some friends. At about 10:30 at night only 50 feet from the campfire, my dad heard a noise. It was the noise of something extremely large, but not human. It stirred up the leaves and the campfire suddenly flared up, casting shadows upon the trees and slowly revealing the large being. Immediately picking up the flashlight, my dad shined it upon the giant beast to reveal a mother black bear and 2 of her cubs! Looking at my dad and his friends, the bear pondered what these people were doing up in the high clutches of the mountain. It then gave a grin and continued traversing through the landscape. I was not there to take a picture, but I figured that I could at least share the story :). Either way, here’s a picture of a black bear, all credit to http://bchuntingblog.com/  for the picture:

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A Black bear.

While I was exploring in my woods one day I was headed back home and decided to take a detour through the (not so) Dead Marshes. As I kindly tramped along through the meadow grass untroubled by the time and bugs, I came across a turtle shell. The first thought that came to my mind was: “OOH, A TURTLE SHELL!!! Maybe there will be a turtle, or maybe if there isn’t one I can take the shell home and make it into a pouch!” So I went to take a peek, excited like a little boy on Christmas morning, and discovered a turtle inside. Quickly looking at the head before the turtle tried to run away from me, I realized it was an Eastern box turtle.

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An Eastern box turtle. Notice the interesting shell pattern; no two patterns are the same.

After I snapped that picture, it immediately began bounding away eager to get back to its nap. Slowly realizing this could possibly be a nesting ground, I stopped the unaware tramping I had been doing and began taking each step slowly and carefully. Funny enough, I only had to take two steps to find a baby turtle. I do only have 3 free gigabytes of media uploading memory so I will not post a picture of that one, besides the fact that I couldn’t get a good one, but know that it was only about half the size of the one above. However, instead of letting me pick it up and get a good picture, the baby was stubborn and went 2x the speed of the one above and began to dig a small burrow under the grass to hide under.

As I was exploring the area I call the Desert (pretty much nothing but dry dirt, dust, some sand, more dust and dead, black trees) I found a really cool dragonfly!

A twelve-spotted skimmer.

A female twelve-spotted skimmer.

After doing some research, I have concluded that this is a female twelve-spotted skimmer. I found it resting on a wildflower and just couldn’t help not taking a picture! This is a really cool bug and if you get the chance to observe one in the wild, I would by all means spend a few minutes watching it.

One of my favorite things to do in my free time is watch birds! They are fascinating creatures, always extremely quick and alert, never hesitant to fly away at a moment’s notice. One of my favorite birds are the Carolina chickadee. They are one of the bravest of birds, flying in the harshest of rains and always looking for someone to play with or something to do. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen very many lately, so I decided to get a cardinal instead.

A female red cardinal. Ironically, the female red cardinal is actually brown with an orange beak.

A female red cardinal. Ironically, the female red cardinal is actually brown with an orange beak.

Finally, to close the post, I have one more track for y’all to figure out! This is also an intermediate level track to distinguish if you know what to look for. If you guys have been paying attention to some of the tracking tips I have been giving you guys, then you should probably be able to solve this. It shouldn’t be too hard. Here’s a tip: DON’T ponder over the obvious. Figure out what you think the track in the top could be and then move on. Look at what isn’t there (and should or could be there), and figure out what you can from what you know or assume. Be a detective. Also, this track is probably only about 3 weeks old. Just FYI.

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A deer or a human boot. That leaves a very narrow margin for error. Two choices. One answer. Let’s see if your tracking knowledge has grown 🙂

Thanks guys, and I hope y’all are enjoying this! I think this is a new and exciting post, so I really hope you guys think so too! Be prepared for the answers to both polls in a day or two.

Keep calm and track on!

P. S. By the way, did you notice the faint shoeprint from four weeks ago in the bottom right hand corner of the picture? I did that 🙂

Only a Little Bit Longer…

Hey everyone!! Here’s the poll I promised you guys! I’ve been working on the next post lately and it is gonna be a really cool one 🙂 If you guess the right animal and comment what you voted, you could be featured in the next post as one of the few winners!

An Update

Hey everyone! Sorry I have somewhat neglected this blog for a few weeks. I would like to let you know that I will not be continuing the book review on Animal Tracking Basics. This is for many reasons…

First, it takes a bit too long for what it’s worth. Second, I do not have as much time as I used to that I can devote to this blog. With end-of-the-school-year tests coming up, I have to study and that is taking a lot of my time. Finally, I will just be honest with you all. It’s boring doing a book review :). I thought it would be this fun, exciting thing. Now I know better.

So, let’s just say that was a free trial of the book :D. It is still an awesome book and I still highly recommend it, but reviewing it just isn’t the best use of my time, plus I’m sure you guys would rather read and see other stuff.

I practice basketball every day, unless I’m too busy to, for about 30 minutes. This is part of the reason why I can’t post as frequently, but basketball is very importantly to me.

So here’s the plan. I will resume posting after school is out, which is the 15th of May, and it will be a GREAT post. There will be cool plants, tracks, and a cool story to go along with it. Also be prepared for a poll. The winners will be featured in the post after the next.

Thanks so much for understanding everyone!!

Keep calm and track on!