Okay, so the plan to record all my dining experiences for the week kind of fell through. To be fair, that wasn't the only plan that fell through; my initial hopes of logging life birds in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma collapsed owing to two main issues: one, the timing of the trip, which was too late for the winter waterfowl gatherings in the southern part of the Mississippi valley, but too early for most of the neotropical migrants to have arrived, and two, the arrival of a big system of thunderstorms stretching from east Texas to roughly Kentucky.

There wasn't much to be done about the former, once Dad and I had realized that Yazoo NWR, while full of a remarkable number of species--we logged 62 on the day--simply didn't have any of the unfamiliar birds I was hoping to log. The White-fronted Geese had already left, the Purple Gallinules had not yet arrived, and the next thing we were likely to get a close view of was a good old-fashioned Turd Floater.

Thus, when we arrived at our hotel in Texarkana (on the Texas side, if you were wondering), we had a choice: hunker down for a major rainstorm or alter our travel plans. We opted for the latter, abandoning our plans to visit Oklahoma and instead making a lightning trip down through Louisiana to the Gulf Shore. Unfortunately, the rain followed us, ruining a morning's birding at Mississippi's Grand Bay NWR and sending us to our evening stay in Tallahassee in something of a funk. (Admittedly, we were in a somewhat better mood thanks to UNC's victory over Maryland in the ACC tournament.) The next day we took a spin by the Okefenokee swamp on the way to Brunswick, GA, stopping at an Applebee's to watch the UNC-NC State game. Aside from the LARGEST SOFT-SHELLED TURTLE EVER, there was little excitement from the nature viewing available there.

That left us one more spot for birding (Harris Neck NWR, just north of Brunswick), and the next morning we hit it hard--53 species total, including several birds I hadn't seen in years, such as the Yellow-throated Warbler, Anhinga, and both Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night Herons. In addition, Dad found us a Glossy Ibis, and we saw rookeries of hundreds (if not thousands) of egrets, herons, and storks, but the lifer-in-Georgia plan was not successful. We trundled up the interstate to a Mellow Mushroom near Florence, where we watched UNC fall short against Florida State before continuing to my folks' place in Pittsboro, NC.

That night, Kelly arrived, and yesterday the two of us went back down I-95 for a few days' vacation on the Florida coast with some friends. We are now perched on the edge of the marshy sound, just north of the Castillo de San Marcos fortress (a/k/a Fort Marion) in St Augustine. We have been visited by multiple species of herons today, and the view of the water has yielded everything from Willets to Ospreys to Semipalmated Plovers to Common Loons. It's a wonderful house, with huge windows and plenty of shade, and the breeze off the marsh is soothing in the extreme.

I suspect there is little likelihood of doing anything complicated today. Which is as it should be.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on March 13, 2012 11:33 AM.

Road Food, Part 1 was the previous entry in this blog.

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