Saturday, May 03, 2008


thursday i took off on the road. it's not anything like roughing it and in fact i won't be really roughing it ever, i guess. it's pretty posh living in the back of my car, which i'm not doing yet even.

so far i've been staying with the flyingfishers, which is familiar and good. flyingfisher makes a very good turkey soup. yesterday i actually went caching with flyingfisher, my first caching in a looong time.

on the way to one cache we came across a vernal pool where there was a huge -and i mean huge- mass of frog eggs, in two clumps and the tadpoles, very, very teeny, were just emerging from the eggs. and then we saw other movement in the pool and we happened to catch newts mating.

of course we aren't -or weren't- up-to-speed on the particulars of that act, at least as it applies to newts, so when we got home of course we had to go look it up.

you can go look it up if you want. what was interesting was that we weren't exactly sure of what-all the steps were, and which players were which. we speculated as to the behaviors and the mechanics of this species' fertilization, and whether those were additional males and whether they would compete for mating rights.

turns out that after some courtship (which may or may not occur, depending on the laziness of the male and the receptiveness of the female), the male drops a packet which the female picks up (or doesn't) and manages for herself.

there are some available articles about this arrangement and how since the female not only has total control, but that she typically will accept packets from three males, there isn't any significant competition among males for mating rights.

as for diet, we learned that these guys will eat anything that's living and mouth-sized, which explains why the whole thing took place amount the hatching frog eggs.

who among us hasn't ever been toasty for a snack afterwards?

so everything we saw down at the pool was explained for us very nicely and flyingfisher got some good pictures and i got a few seconds of video.

and we had a lovely dinner of take out indian food.

i slept too late in the morning, but it's rainy and i'm not in a very big hurry to get to my campsite down south.

even so, it's time for me to get on the road, maybe get a haircut and find a place to go to church in the morning.

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