If you are of a certain age you may remember a television program brought to you by Mutual of Omaha. Its star and executive producer was a gray-haired fellow, slight of build, and ostensibly a naturalist. His name was Marlon Perkins. Marlon left the action scenes to a park ranger of sorts, a strapping lad known simply as Jim. A typical show might go like this: “Hi, I’m Marlon Perkins with my helper, Jim. We’re in the Everglades and today we’re going to tag a few alligators. Tagging helps us track them over all four seasons, and that gives us an idea of where they live and what they eat. It’s going to take a lot of work like this to preserve this endangered species. Now, a word from our sponsor.”
After the sponsor’s pitchman explained the value of whole life insurance the action would begin. Jim spots and snares a couple of medium-sized gators, tapes their jaws, and Marlon sets a radio tag into their tails. And then … Marlon spies a really big, bad gator. “He’s not going to want us to tag him, will he Jim?” “No Marlon, he won’t like it at all. I may have to go in to tag him while you hold his snout closed with this snare.” Marlon would promptly fail and Jim would be in chest-deep water fighting that gator. “Ooh, that’s a tough camera angle, folks. It looks worse than it really is. I’m pretty sure that between modern medical science and physical therapy Ol’ Jim will retain the use of that arm. Now an important message from Mutual of Omaha.”
On the morning of our last day in Camp Dick I was startled by screams from the Kat. A raven had landed on our picnic table carrying a small snake. This civilized bird had learned by observing people, and had chosen that clean spot to enjoy his breakfast. After she got this picture the raven panicked, and flew away without his prize. I went out for a look, but it was not a snake species I recognized. Its corpse showed all the signs of a fight with a peck to the back of its head likely the mortal wound. As they sometimes say in the country, the raven “bit a plug out of him” before leaving. I returned to my coffee inside the ‘Stream, and the raven returned to his kill. This time he quickly flew off with it for breakfast in a tree or on a boulder.
Earlier in our stay this fellow strolled through our campsite. “Kat, get your camera!” We think this one is a yearling, old enough for mama to put him out of the house, but young enough to still fear people. After all, as we had heard from the locals years before up in Maine, “moose is the best meat there is.” But who could shoot this pleasant young dope?