Neuse stuff

wide angle shot of head of Neuse River
One of the exploring trips we took while my brother was here was the Falls of the Neuse area, where Falls Lake empties its excess into the head of the Neuse River, which then tries to pretend it really has no interest in the ocean by taking the most circuitous route possible, passing through Virginia and Wisconsin to get there. Okay, it’s not that bad, but seriously, I think it hits every possible compass bearing in its path “east,” multiple times, and extends about ten times longer than it could have if it didn’t rely on gravity.

We did not, however, follow it that far, or indeed more than a few hundred meters, because there’s enough of interest right at the head. I know; I’ve been visiting for 24 years now.

trio of Carolina anoles Anolis carolinensis on fencepost
I mentioned before that after the cold snap, the adult Carolina anoles (Anolis carolinensis) seemed to have greatly increased their activity, and this was more evidence of it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen three of them hanging around in close proximity, and there appeared to be no territoriality in evidence – this may be common at this time of year and I simply have never been someplace with enough anoles to see it. Or we may have thwarted another sinister cabal. Remember these faces.

Speaking of herons (were we?)…

great blue heron Ardea herodias in tree
… this guy flew up from some hidden spot to perch in a tree roughly forty meters off, and the foliage necessitated switching to manual focus. This is a tight crop just to show off.

My brother’s fond of collecting finds, just for the moment – I’d do it more often myself but it means not wielding the camera, which is usually my primary purpose in such locations. But here’s a little crayfish that he snagged right near the water’s surface.

unidentified crayfish species from Neuse river
I’m not even going to try and determine what particular species this is – there are 49 in the state. You’ll just have to cope – you’re an adult now.

And another find – I don’t think this one was part of the gang, given the distance and much smaller size, but who knows?

juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis on hand of author's brother
This one gave us both a run for the money, and I thought we lost it in the leaves at least twice, but eventually my brother snagged it, gently. That mottled appearance is the last vestiges of its molting stage, almost blue in the sunlight. Both were of course released right after I got a few frames.

On Tuesday I mentioned trying to pin down the exact location (as in, the very same rocks) that appeared in an old favorite image of mine, and this might indicate where it was:

Neuse River near previous shooting location
The taller, shadowed rock at extreme right might be the same one seen at upper left here – which could mean that I was standing on the rock that appears in the foreground of the earlier shot. I finally loaded a couple of key images in my phone so that I could compare them while on location, rather than going from memory. I suppose I could pull up my own website while out there, but my connection is often bad, and the interminable wait for things to load tends to annoy the piss out of me – I almost never open my phone’s web browser anymore, finding it healthier to just wait until I’m on a grownup computer.

Another heron. Well, maybe.

great blue heron Ardea herodias on rock in middle of Neuse River
This was definitely the same one as seen in the previous post, and possibly the same as seen above – that one flew off while we weren’t looking, and this location was a hundred meters further upstream. Whatever – it’s a nice pose, though it was late afternoon by this point and only patches had direct sunlight. Not the most productive trip I’ve taken down there, but it kept us occupied for a few hours.

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