Catching Creation Adventure Playlist

Catching Creation Adventure Playlist

I have decided to make a playlist on YouTube to make it easier to find our adventure episodes since I post a variety of clips and teachings on the site.  This is around 20 videos and approximately 5 hours of creepy crawly good stuff!  Check it out!

 

 

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Adventure Is Calling! Will You Answer?

From the inception of my Catching Creation blog I’ve had the tagline of “Adventures In All Things Created.”  I guess I’ve never really needed to clarify what exactly that meant before now but the more I think about what it means to be on adventure the more I feel this little phrase of mine will need clarity.  It has always seemed to me that to be completely alive one must always be in the middle of, or in search of, an adventure.  I’ve been thinking about that philosophy for quite some time now.  Lately the adventure seems to be one pitted in the very center of my faith.  Adventures aren’t always easy and certainly in the moment they can often be uncomfortable, but an adventure is only as good as the bruises and scrapes you get along the way.  The hardship and bad weather seem to frame up the best adventures and overcoming some obstacle or adversity makes the stories worth telling. I think when we start looking at our faith journey as an adventure it helps to make those bumps in the road seem all the more worthwhile.  When things don’t work out and we’re left scratching our heads and asking God, sometimes even yelling, “which way do I go” or “what have I done wrong?”  We fail to realize the importance of the adventure at hand.  These are the moments that build faith, or so they tell me.  These are the times that we can look back and say that we were truly refined by hardship and we persevered.  We survived!  We lived to tell the story and wow, what a story it will be someday.  James, the half brother of Jesus, assures us that our trials will sharpen and polish us in his first epistle and if you’re feeling lost in the woods on this great adventure just let the words of James comfort you.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Our adventures can lead us to mountain highs and valley lows but beauty is always in the faithful and sometimes fearful walking with God in the dark nights of our souls.  In the stories of how God came through or how we learned that our compass may have been upside down and we got off course a bit.  Through His grace, God is there, listening to our complaints, laughing at our child like tantrums and all the while loving us through the process.  Where is your adventure leading you?  Have you gotten off course?  Trust Jesus, dust yourself off, and lean into the wind.  You’ve got an amazing journey ahead and one heck of a story to tell!

compass

I Love Nights Like These

Nights like these.

The wind was softly blowing ever so slightly, as if by dancing through trees only to remind me of its presence.  The water rippled with every careful step I made into the heart of the vernal pool and the fog wafted over the surface of the murk just enough to cause the refraction of my headlamp to push my light beam to and fro.  I love nights like these.

I decided to take a trip to my newly discovered hiking trail near the house Jess and I recently bought.  This was my first nocturnal adventure here and I have to say although I was delighted to be alone in the woods in a new place, I was a bit unnerved a few times just thinking about how close I was to people’s houses that may not initially understand that I was merely there for the amphibians and nothing more.  I have to admit that I almost screamed when I startled a rabbit and he tore off into the undergrowth after we locked eyes.

On my first visit to this piedmont NC paradise a few months back I saw in the topography of the land that it dipped almost to a valley and flattened out at the bottom.  On that inaugural visit I found the ephemeral wetland fully lit with late summer sun and it was a sight that I had been longing to see.  It was pristine habitat.  An ephemeral wetland is sometimes called a vernal pool, ephemeral pool, or wetland and it is usually temporary and routinely dries up thus not supporting fish but great for amphibians.

I don’t think anyone else had discovered my newly found haven and if they had I imagine it wouldn’t have been considered the treasure I thought it to be and likely would have been avoided.  To the untrained eye this area is just a swampy muddy mess but I see so much more.  On my first few visits spanning a few months I found a plethora of amphibians much to my surprise and delight.  I have found Chorus Frogs, Spring Peepers, Marbled Salamanders and Eastern Spotted Newts so far. Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 3.58.04 PM

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 10.26.24 PMThe reason for my trip tonight was to capitalize on the unseasonably warm few nights that we were having this week.  For the first week in December we are seeing daytime highs in the mid 70’s and nightly lows in the 60s.  This week has also been very rainy and overcast which creates the perfect storm for amphibian activity and gets my heart pumping.  The main motivation for tonight’s wet hike was to check on the vernal pool itself, to see if it had begun to fill with water and to also check on the marbled salamanders to determine if their eggs had hatched yet.

Tripping off the beaten path down to the muddy area where the pool is situated I was almost immediately met with water, lots of it.  The pool not only filled up but it’s actually much bigger than I imagined it would be.  So far in my observations the pool has ranged from depths of 6-12 inches on down to almost completely dry, so I wasn’t prepared to see the pool quite this full.  It was a welcomed surprise.

I didn’t have to go far to confirm the health of the pool because the first time my light struck the water I saw the leaf litter almost explode with newly hatched larval forms of marbled salamanders.  This made me very happy considering there were a few times over the last month or two that I questioned whether or not if the pool would even fill up and I feared for my little aquatic friends.  Thankfully nature’s much more resilient than I even give it credit and the marbled salamanders did exactly what they were designed to do, survive.  The best part of the entire night was the beautiful volleys of Spring Peeper calls.  There were even a few faint Chorus frogs calling as well but the night air was heavy with the calls and peeps of the tiny Spring Peeper above anything else.

 I decided once I discovered the depth of the pool was knee deep according to my soggy jeans that I would head in the direction of the frog calls and see if I could see one of these elusive nocturnal anurans.   After crossing over the pool stealthily and occasionally stopping, cutting my lights off and listening for the audible offender I made my way to the opposite shore and scanned with my headlamp and there he was.  The light of my headlamp glistened like diamonds on the crossed back of a Spring Peeper chest high on a small sapling next to the pool.  Success!  Even if it was almost by accident that I found the little guy I was pleased beyond belief.  I love these little frogs; they are one of the many native NC amphibians that truly give me joy. Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 10.26.09 PM

These guys defy the odds by being able to breed, thrive and survive when most other amphibians are nestled deep in the ground below the frost line.  They are designed with somewhat of a biological anti-freeze, glucose builds up in their cells and allows them not to freeze to death and allowing these petite frogs to occupy a niche other frogs are unprepared to inhabit.  After taking a few blurry pictures in SITU with my Iphone of my new froggy friend I started back up towards the trail and made my way to drier ground.  All in all tonight’s trip was short in duration but I don’t think it could have been much better.  I love nights like these!

Meerkats, Tortoises & Penguins Oh MY!

Jessica and I spent a few hours at the Greensboro Science Center, Zoo and Sciquarium and got to see all sorts of amazing animals.  Jess REALLY loves the meerkats and penguins, check it out! 

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Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 12.16.27 AM
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Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 12.17.27 AM

Hanging Out In The Rattlesnake Den

Did you ever play that game when you were a kid that required you to pretend the floor was made of lava and the couches and other furniture were little islands impervious to being consumed by said lava?  Now imagine being grown and having a similar situation while out observing wildlife, except now substitute lava for deadly pit vipers and the couch for loose crumbling boulders.  Now that I have painted that beautiful picture, welcome to my most recent adventure.

My first Cottonmouth capture circa 2002

After a late night phone call and Facebook chat with a good friend and snake mentor of mine I got invited to go observe some rattlesnake dens in an area I hadn’t been before.  I jumped at the chance.  My friend Zach Orr has been showing me the wonders of the serpent world for the last 15 years or so.  I met him while in high school when he came and did a presentation on venomous snakes for our natural resources class.  It was one of those presentations that stuck in my mind since I was already quite passionate about snakes.  A few years later I linked up with Zach again at a reptile show and he gave me his contact info and we began a friendship that has been priceless to me.  I have learned so much from his hands on experience and seen so many things in nature that I wouldn’t have had the chance without him.  I held my first venomous snake (a large cottonmouth) with him behind the camera when I was 18 and fresh out of basic training.  I saw my first pygmy rattlesnake with him and countless other snake firsts.

Photo Credit Zach Orr

This adventure would be no different.  This particular journey began rather early for me as I waited at a local Starbucks for him to pick me up since I live at the approximate halfway point to our destination north and west from where we normally hunt for snakes.   After a dizzying ride through curves and back roads I stumbled out of the car wanting to vomit from motion sickness.  We had arrived.  I ambled up the steep incline to our destination taking many rest breaks along the way.  Partially because I’m out of shape and partially because the mountain was so steep you almost had to climb and scramble upward and had it been any steeper ropes might have been necessary, just to give you an idea.

bouldersOnce I finally reached the top, where Zach had been patiently waiting, I saw what looked like massive piles of rubble.  The ridgeline we were on housed hundreds, maybe thousands of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus).  The piles of boulders ranged from gravel sized on up to car sized rocks.  Weathering and erosion over time created this habitat that proved to be the perfect winter resting place for cold blooded serpents.  I had been to rattlesnake dens before in other mountain ranges further south and east and this area’s topography was almost like an alien landscape to me.

zachThe boulders, no matter how big or small, weren’t exactly stable to walk on.  You really couldn’t tell whether the large rock you were standing on would support your weight or would slide and roll down the steep incline promoting a rockslide.  It was quite deceptive and each step was calculated but sometimes even when you were cautious the rocks would slide.  The terrifying part about this, aside from falling to an untimely death and being crushed by rocks, was that under most rocks contained a hiding viper.  I stepped on several moving boulders only to be shaken to my core by the telltale sound of an alarmed rattlesnake.  There were a few moments where the rock would shift, the snakes would rattle and I had to frantically deduce where the sound was coming from.  Was the sound coming from beneath me, beside me, where I’m about t put my hands/feet?

I'm starting to get a bit concerned after seeing so many snakes

After we had seen and heard approximately 25 rattlesnakes, which according to Zach was a “bad” day, I began to get quite nervous about this adventure.  As I was looking up the hill at Zach and seeing the rattlesnakes coiled under the craggy rocks above me, my cooler sized boulder began to shift without warning.  As the rock slid downhill I lost my balance and fell face first down the hill crashing chest first, then knees then hands into a pile of boulders.  I didn’t even give my body a chance to register to pain before I was up, catlike, balancing on new boulders after my fall.  My heart was pounding, my knees were shaking and I was praying, “Lord please don’t let me have landed on a viper.”  Once I was able to catch my breath and dust myself off I saw that I only sustained a few scratches and bruises, thankfully there weren’t any snakes ready to defend themselves and in my eyes it was truly a miracle that I didn’t get hurt worse than I did.

©2013 Zach Orr

Rattlesnakes will typically congregate in the fall in rocky outcroppings to den for the winter.  They will often communally hibernate together in these areas and utilize this seemingly perfect spot together twice a year.  You will see them out en mass in late fall as they are coming from miles away to find shelter and again in spring as they emerge from their wintry sleep.  Although I ran the very real risk of being greeted by an angry bite from a pit viper this trip I couldn’t have blamed the snake.  I was in his territory, his house and invading his space.  It’s only natural for him to defend himself and even though the risk was great, seeing these amazingly beautiful animals in their natural habit trumped any threat involved.  Rattlesnakes are a vital part of the ecosystem and their partnership with other predators in eating rats and mice carrying Lyme’s disease ridden ticks is vital to the health of an ecosystem.  They are one of natures systems for checks and balances and if we can truly see their beauty and try to understand them then perhaps our children will have the benefit of seeing these amazing creatures.  Remember that all created things were originally created good as it says in Genesis 1:31 and we shouldn’t villanize things we don’t understand.  Snakes are great!

Peek-a-boo

Testimony in Upala, Costa Rica

I got to preach and do a short presentation with my testimony in Upala, Costa Rica.  I talked about the transformation that takes place when Christ makes us into a new creation like 2 Corinthians 5:17 says.  In my Catching Creation style I also used a couple local toads to illustrate the point.  God is so good!  This was my first time preaching to a full congregation with an interpretor AND I got to do a Catching Creation presentation on top of it all.  Again, God is so good!  -- Side note -- the guy in the cape in the background is actually the pastor of the church, they were getting ready to act out a dramatic skit for us, I realize now how weird that must look if you didn't know that already... 

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Cold Weather Camping @ Hanging Rock State Park

I decided to take a trip up to Hanging Rock State Park with some friends and camp and hike this past weekend. I did not plan on getting extremely sick halfway through the trip and coming home early.  It was quite the adventure.  Check it out.SUBSCRIBE @ youtube.com/Catchingcreation

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Vacation At Sea

As I sit here to reflect on my recent cruise to the Bahamas I can still feel the boat moving.  My body has apparently become accustomed to a life at sea and now is taking time to adjust to life back on dry land.  This trip was my 3rd Cruise and my first one with my wife, Jessica.  It was quite a bit of fun and more than anything it provided us with much needed rest. We sailed out of Charleston, SC for our 5 day cruise to Nassau and Freeport Bahamas and were lucky enough to have our friend Bailey drop us off and pick us back up from the port.  This was so awesome because parking at the port for a week would have been super pricey.  We boarded the ship and made our way to our tiny room, dropped our bags and started exploring.  Although the cruise ship was massive it seemed so much smaller to me this trip than it was when I was a kid. 

I decided to take this opportunity to finally read Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species” and I tried, I really did, but I only got around 5 chapters into it.  Every page seemed to take me ages to read because of all of the information saturated on each page.  This made me sleepy more often than not and I found myself taking shifts of reading on the deck, eating ice cream and then turning in for a nap.  It was amazing.  Neither Jess nor I were overly thrilled with the overall party atmosphere of the boat.  It was still quite fun for us just to chill and watch the rise and fall of the sea.

Our first stop was in Nassau, Bahamas.  This was my 3rd time in Nassau and it seems to go downhill each time.  We took a taxi from the port across a bridge to an amazingly beautiful hotel called the Atlantis.  They had a free beach access and so we walked through the elaborate lobby and connecting hallways.  There was an aquarium that ran the length of the entire bottom floor.  Our house will look like this one day if I ever win the lottery or something of that nature.  We finally made it out to the beach and immediately were being approached by eager salesmen.  The men asked about Jet Skis and the women about hair braiding and bracelets.  I got asked around 100 times if I wanted a Jet Ski and when I would say no I would get the follow up question of “do you want to party, I’ve got green mon.”

 

 I guess my tattoos put a label on me as a pot smoking partier but much to the dismay of my Island salesmen, I am not.  I did flip the script on one such salesman and tried to evangelize to him and that stopped his persistent salesmanship.  It did strike me that he seemed almost unaware of the Gospel, he was wearing a cross on a rosary and had no idea what the cross even represented.  Although he really didn’t want to talk with me about it, it really made me think.

I tried snorkeling just off the shore while Jess laid out in the sun and I successfully saw a bag of chips and lots of sand.  We walked down the beach to a look out point and were able to see a large crab on a rock and then a couple of manta rays danced through the water closer to where we were.  Those creatures look like they are flying through the water.  Aside from a handful of pigeons, doves, sea gulls and other birds that was really the only wildlife we saw in Nassau much to my chagrin. 

The next day we docked in Freeport, Bahamas and this day was quite an adventure.  I somehow found out the Island had a national forest with caves and I got more and more excited the closer we got to the taxi drivers.  Eagerly I walked up to the first man and confidently said “How much to Lucayane National Forest?”  He immediately shot down my hopes of going out there and told us it would be $100 dollars just to get there and back.  It was like someone stole Christmas from me and I hung my head and walked away and scanned a map.  Apparently the National Forest was around 30 miles or so from the port and gas was extremely expensive on this small island.  I believe one of the taxi drivers said it was around $5.70 there a gallon.  Jess and I decided to ask another taxi driver; maybe we could get a deal if we ask around.

 

The next guy said the same roundtrip would cost us $120.  Ouch.  This time I just sat down hopeless like a spoiled child.  I was so upset and angry because to be honest I really didn’t care much for the ocean, the parties, the ship or any of that, my only real desire was to see animals I hadn’t yet seen.  I decided in my mind that it wasn’t going to happen and even though I was extremely upset I decided to suck it up and drive on with the vacation.  We took a taxi to a nearby beach and on the walk towards the ocean we intermittently stopped and chased curly tailed lizards.  My mood changed as I tried to catch these lizards in the city.  I got to see a few males bobbing their heads in territorial displays.  I saw one male Bahamian Anole lizard flexing his rites as a male by bobbing and extending his bright dewlap as a display of his dominance.  To be honest these little lizards really helped to change my mood. 

 

We finally got to the beach and I made my way to the water with snorkel and goggles in tow.  I found myself quite terrified by the possibility of what I would see in the ocean this trip.  It was weird because for some reason I was really leery of the ocean even though I was neck deep in it.  I was pretty much completely alone in the water and only around 50 or so feet from the sandy shore.  I felt this really strong anxiety the whole time about what I could see, between sharks, jellyfish, stingrays or even the fear of stepping on an urchin.  I have no idea why this fear was so strong but I tried to fight through it.  I saw a few anemones, some small drab colored fish in the pieces of reef and seaweed near the shore, and a couple dinner plate sized fish that made me jump from fear each time one would cross my path.

 

I looked up one time and saw Jess buying bottled water from one of the men on the shore and then saw her having a conversation with him.  I emerged from the water as she motioned for me to come near.  Jess told me the man said he would take us to the National Forest for $30.  We were both a bit confused and surely he meant $30 each, which would have still been a deal but still out of our budget.  I walked over to him and asked him to clarify and he said he would, in fact, take us for $30 if we would also pay his way onto the National Forest.  It was only $3 a person so we agreed to take the trip.

 

I have to admit this may not have been the most intelligent decision I have ever made as we made our way alone into his personal van.  We drove for around 45 minutes in a direction opposite our cruise ship on an island I had only visited once as a kid and never to the extent of our current excursion.  We pulled into the National Forest and paid the attendant in the tiny parking area $9 for the 3 of us and then made our way to the first cave.  These limestone caves are mostly underground and fed by seawater.  We snaked our way down a spiral staircase into the first cave and the pungent perfume of bats filled my nostrils much to my enthusiasm.

 

I was so excited to be descending into this hole in the earth.  There were tropical fish of all sorts in the water under the small unstable bridge we were standing on.  We looked out across the small living room sized cave and saw scores of bats clinging to the low ceiling.  They weren’t close enough to us to get a decent picture but close enough to see them clearly by eye.  I was so eager to catch a bat but I knew it was impossible and just admired them from around 30 feet away.  We walked into another cave that was very similar, much darker and no bats, or at least none we could see.  I was so excited just to be in these primeval places.  We hiked through the forest and our guide showed us various plants that were good for this remedy and that ailment.  He then asked us if we wanted to go to a secluded beach.

 

We again reluctantly agreed and as we took our van off roading down a sandy road Jess and I were both a bit sketched out, that is until we saw the sea through the trees.  We walked out onto a beach that seemed like no one else knew about.  That was somewhat shattered when we saw the remnants of a campsite where we were but even that were amazing to see.  The beach was pristine.  There wasn’t another person for miles except Jessica, myself, and our shady new friend.  Jess started lying out under the quickly clouding sky and I walked into the water and tried to fake it like I wasn’t terrified of this newfound ocean habitat.  Again I have no idea why I was so afraid to snorkel alone, partly this time because my wife was on shore with a strange man and partly because of all the real possibilities of sharks.

 

We were told the beach we were visiting was the location that the first Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed so that was cool.  All in all I only seemed to see amazing habitat for sea life, some small reefs and urchins.  I am certain that if I hadn’t been struck with fear and swam out only a few more feet from the shore I would have seen much more diversity.  I am ashamed of myself for letting fear take away from my desire to explore the wild but it is what it is and next time I won’t let my head ruin what my heart wants to do.

 

We loaded back into the van and with the tradition of the islands, according to our guide, we filled jugs of water up at the ocean and poured them on our legs and feed at the van so as to not include the beach into his van.  The storm that had been brewing over top of us hit around the time the vans doors shut and lightening and thunder were flashing and booming all around.  We saw countless strikes that went straight to the ground very close to where we were.  One thunderclap seemed to have popped and boomed right outside the window of the van, it was quite loud and made Jess and I jump.  The trip overall was amazing and my fear of being zip tied and forced to wear a black hood never seemed to come to fruition so our guide wasn’t as shady as we may have projected onto him.  We got back to the cruise ship, hit up the lunch buffet and went back to relaxing for the rest of our cruise.  

Frog Calls, In-Laws, and Someone Call The Law Yall.

Today was one of those days that was awesome in almost every way except one, Hebrews class.  This is my second class in a literal crash course in Biblical languages and I could feel the anxiety welling up in my throat as my breaths became shorter and shorter with every unexplained new concept.  It hit a crescendo towards the end of class when the teacher called on me and the audio wasn't working to reply so she joking said I was pretending that it did not work to get out of answering the question.  Well it was a half truth, my audio did not work but I didn't know the answer anyway.  I had to be reminded this would be the second class out of 11 that I have knocked out so only 9 more to go.  That is at least a positive way to look at it.  

I decided to take my class from home this afternoon because my wife had been fighting off a gnarly cough and just felt drained overall so I wanted to be here for her.  As class was wrapping up I felt my throat tighten a bit with a tickling cough as if something was irritating it.  Almost as soon as my mouth produced the coughing noise my nose smelled the pungent smell of incense, that hellish smoke designed for non-bathing hippies and new age gurus.  Although my wife fits into neither of those categories, she still loves that nasty smelling stuff.  This made me crack the window in my office and in a moment of pure bliss I heard my favorite springtime noise.

 

Almost piercing through the relative silence of the outdoors I heard the sweet sweet sound of Upland Chorus Frogs calling from the marshy area behind our apartment complex.  I sprung out of my chair and ran full stride into the living room to where Jess was sitting.  "Guess what I heard outside" I said to Jess.  Knowing my childlike love and excitement for all things wild she aptly guessed the right answer.  I put on my critter getting clothes grabbed a couple big zip log bags, a flash light and my cell phone; and headed out the door.  I found an easy path down to my first obstacle, the large creek that runs between me and the swamp, and I crossed it with sloshy ease.  Making my way up a steep embankment, right into a thick briar patch, I scratched and unstuck my way to the marsh.

 

This area is essentially run off from various apartment complexes and to say it was a pristine habitat would be a huge stretch.  Actually this is probably one of the most polluted waterways I have ever hunted in but when I get the frog fever nothing really seems to stop me.  I strategically walked through the sucking mud towards the sounds of the calling frogs just as my phone began to ring.  My father-in-law called me back after I butt dialed him on the way out to the swamp and I abruptly answered and said "hey dude I'm in a swamp, can't talk."  Knowing the kind of man his daughter married, my father-in-law chuckled as we hung up our phones.

 

I decided after several minutes in this spot and an almost run in with a raccoon that I would try to move towards the other volleys of calls I heard.  I followed the river and checked every low spot with water and made a few observations.  For starters, there seemed to be significantly less biodiversity in these pools than the pristine pools I have studied in years past.  There were no copepods, amphipods, egg masses or salamander larvae to be found anywhere.  I did see a few tiny wolf and nursery web spiders and one or two small black swimming beetles. I noticed the amount of noise here was significantly greater than pristine spots as police cars, fire trucks and ambulances seemed to scream through the silence every 10 minutes. The one thing I did see en mass was copious amounts of mosquito larvae.  It seems that the animals that normally inhabit vernal pools (sometimes called ephemeral wetlands) were unable to survive in such a polluted environment.

 

It always amazes me to see God's creation working the way it was designed to.  God has created everything with such genetic diversity and adaptability that animals can find ways to survive in even the most unlikely habitats.  The early breeding amphibians are designed in such a way that, although they are cold blooded, can still manage to successfully reproduce even when their pools are frozen.  The conditions typically have to be perfect, the dew point, barometric pressure and temperature have to be just right for the males to start calling.  When it is too cold outside the frogs will secrete a glucose substance that is essentially biological anti-freeze.  You can't tell me our God is not creative and uncaring.  He designed these little frogs with such a complex adaptability so that they can survive and mate even when logic says they will just freeze in place.

 

As I finished up surveying smaller pools quite a bit away from the main pool I noticed a young boy across the creek and around 100 meters away from me just staring in fear at me.  I started to move towards him and he sprung up and jumped on his bike to ride away as he told an older lady of my whereabouts. I called out from the woods that I was just looking for frogs but neither of them really seemed convinced of my intentions.  I really didn't think much about it and started making my way back to the loudest volume of frog calls.  I stayed in this area for somewhere near an hour just sitting on small logs in the water with my light off.  Occasionally  the chorus of frogs would start up, peepers peeping in the distance and chorus frogs closer to where I was sitting.  It seemed as sporadically as the calling would start it would just abruptly end.  I stayed crouched in my watery stakeout waiting to shine my dim light on the closest calling male.  I could never pin point one and I convinced myself that they were ventriloquists putting on a show to confuse me.  In a final attempt to not admit defeat I decided to look at the base of the tufts of vegetation sticking out of the water where I last heard the calls.

 

After searching two or three spots I finally found a lone male clinging for dear life just above the water level behind the overhanging grasses.  I snatched him up and put him securely into my large ziplock bag and started to make my way back out of the stinking and nasty swamp.  Success!  Just as I made my way back to somewhat stable ground I saw another flashlight peering at me from the apartment complex behind mine.  I was asked to walk closer and as I made my way through the brush I heard the chatter of Police radios.  The police officer asked me if I were looking for frogs and I assured him that is exactly what I was doing and thankfully I had a recently caught specimen to prove my claims of innocence.  Of course I had no identification on me so I explained what I did and where I lived.  I talked to him about my animal ministry and after answering several questions he seemed satisfied with my purposes.

 

I told him that I would most likely be back in the coming weeks/months as the temperatures began to climb and more frogs began to breed and he seemed ok with it.  He advised me to just go home tonight because several people had called the police after seeing me and my flashlight lurking in the swampy woods for the last two hours.  He told me that since there weren't any No Trespassing signs and there weren't any laws against looking for frogs that I was cool.  I made my way home to Jess covered in slimy mud with a frog in my hand and a huge smile on my face.  Today was a good day.

"Chorus Frog Male"