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My Life’s Birds: #38-42

December 5, 2007
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JUNE 5, 1993 – to Tallahassee, FL – Our early morning was spent at the aquarium in Gulfport, a small facility but home to a research institute that trains dolphins for use by the US Navy, which at the very least is pretty interesting. Unfortunately for the aquarium and the Navy, Hurricane Katrina did a number on it, washing several dolphins out to sea. Regardless of how one feels about military trained dolphins, a museum junkie like myself dug it. But with the morning over, we had to cruise on to the next leg of our trip which would take us across the panhandle of Florida into the state capital, Tallahassee.

photo from wikipedia

It’s a lovely drive, even on I-10 that runs along the Gulf coast. On the causeway over Mobile Bay, I spotted my first Brown Pelican, still one of my favorite seabirds, along with the gulls and terns I’d seen before. The marshes were filled with Great Blue Herons, as one would expect on any marsh across the southern US. Fortunately the birds so far were of the sort that are easily identified at 75 mph.

The cattle pastures and fields of the panhandle appropriately supported flocks of Cattle Egrets, those wildly successful immigrants who have to be respected for making their own way across the Atlantic, ships be damned!

Common Nighthawk

photo from ashrunner's photo safaris, via flickr

We pulled into a hotel in Tallahassee, nothing more than a stopover on the long drive down the peninsula we’d take the next day. Even a hotel parking lot supported lifers for my burgeoning list. Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks swirled overhead around an invisible vortex only they could perceive as the long rays of the evening sun signaled the end of another day of traveling. I was easing towards 50 on my list and tomorrow we’d head deep into the real bird country of Florida. I couldn’t wait!

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3 Comments
  1. T.R. permalink
    December 5, 2007 2:03 pm

    P.S – Great response on Zickefoose today. I am not a hunter nor do I understand it — but I do know that we can never affect change with the hunter by anthropomorphizing the hunted. Any possible consideration falls on deaf ears immediately.

  2. December 5, 2007 2:15 pm

    I agree. While I can somewhat understand the side that wants to demonize hunters because of a love of animals, I really see hunting as a means of enjoying nature in much the same way birders do. There are alot of hunters around my area, and many do it because of familial ties to the land and appreciation of the outdoors and I totally get that. There’s even a real need for hunting in many places because of the extermination of large predators and that shouldn’t be discounted.

    This, of course, is responsible managed hunting though the auspices of a state game agency. Anything else is poaching and can’t be tolerated. And the very vast majority of hunters feel the same way. Both groups want there to be nature to enjoy, I can’t really find a whole lot of fault with that sentiment.

  3. Greg permalink
    December 5, 2007 8:45 pm

    swirled overhead around an invisible vortex only they could perceive as the long rays of the evening sun signaled the end of another day of traveling.

    Great imagery……

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