Returning from Florida, the difference in temperatures was 20 degrees and the weather was dry. This was a huge difference where there is rain showers every day.
Diana Bright and I head toward Florida for a week of birding and some pure rest and relaxaction. Driving down Interstate 75, we come to a standstill outside of Atlanta Georgia. We had planned to take the direct route instead of the Atlanta Bypass. Traffic was backed up for miles and the bypass was flooded with large semi trucks, bumper to bumper. To make a long story short, we took over two hours to get through Atlanta. An overnight stay in Valdosta, leaves us a five mile drive to the Florida Welcome center.
Staying in Ormond Beach, we are about four blocks from the famous Daytona Beach. Looking out over the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, the bird life here is abundant and much different than back home. Several pair of Boat Tailed Grackels are fussing right out beyond our balcony. I thought that maybe I could apease them with an end piece of whole wheat bread. That does the trick. A couple days later, someone brought pizza for a birthday party and there was plenty crust to go around for the Grackles.
Watching around the surf, we spot a group of Ring-billed Gulls waiting on the tourist to toss them bread. I did see a few of them catching fish, but most of them were waiting for a quick handout.
Let me interupt my story for just a minute. I am writing on October the 16th and just had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird stop for a quick drink at the feeder in the kitchen window. This is the very reason that I keep a feeder out for them up till the first of November. It was a first year male and he will be headed to South America for his first long trip.
I am amazed at how many Rock Doves, (Pigeons) are living on the beach here on the eastern shores of Florida. They seem to wait out amongst the Sea Gulls trying to get their share of what ever people toss out for them. Their numbers seem to be slightly dwindling since there are also Cooper's Hawks out and about. Diana saw one actually catch a Rock Dove.
Another beautiful wading bird we found out around the surf line was the Snowy Egret. This bird was almost pressed close to extinction just because women loved feathers in their hats. Thanks to the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918, these beautiful firds are fully protected. They have also been called, the Egret with the golden slippers, because their black legs give way to their bright yellow feet.
There are many plans to consider while down in Florida. Diana's oldest daughter Rosanna Kramer, who lives about 60 miles away, made plans to join us at the motel. It was really good to finally get to meet her and take her out to eat with us.
A nice drive out to Ponce Inlet out past the sleepy community of Wilber by the Sea brings us to where the Halifax River converges into the Atlantic Ocean. . I have always admired this small spot on the map. There is a tall brick lighthouse there that was my Mother's favorite place to see. With the lighthouse for a background, that was a great place to shoot one of my Our Feathered Friends videos.
This area also has a bird sanctuary where many other birds call home. Here the White Ibis will be wading looking for his next meal. They have a long down curved bill that makes them look like they have a frown on their face. You might find them knee deep in a mashy area hunting for small fish, insects and in certain places crawfish. They are also a white bird with black in the wingtips.
There is so much to do while on vacation and we have several more things that we would love to do, but Matthew has other plans for us. We have been watching the Weather Channel for daily updates. We were in hopes that it would stay in a westerly direction, but our hopes were shattered when it started a northern turn for Florida. I am going to put this story on pause and finish it up next week.
I would love to hear from you as to what's lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can write me at, 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at, email@example.com