Friday, March 06, 2009

From North to South and Coast to Coast

For all (three) of you who read this blog, my long silence has nothing to do with the doldrums of late winter, although that would be a good excuse. In fact, we just returned from nearly a month in Georgia and Florida.

Exploring a new area can be overwhelming. My mind attempts to assimilate all the new plants and birds into known categories. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. I pretty much gave up on plants--although I will say that I haven't seen that much mangrove since we returned from the Galapagos.

The forests of Georgia, which I have yet to see leafed out:

I tried harder with birds. Luck and patience combined to make these favorite memories:

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary outside of Naples, Florida. Painted buntings are seen throughout the day coming to this feeder. During our first wait, three raccoons scared away a lone female. Our second visit late in the day resulted in several good looks at the males.

Joe Overstreet Rd near Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, south of Orlando. This fellow's sweet song is so close in quality to our western version that it sounds like the same voice speaking different words.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands near Boca Raton--no birder's visit to Florida would be complete without a stop here. Nearby is Green Cay Wetlands, but we arrived too late in the day to see both.

Herons in several varieties, egrets galore, numerous warblers and alligators, snakes and armadillos--these are the things you can see if you drag yourself away from the Florida tourist traps.

On our final night of birding, we waited at sunset on the possibility of seeing the rare red cockaded woodpecker. Several palm warblers came to say goodbye, but no woodpeckers were in sight.

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