|Our Feathered Friends|
|Wednesday, November 17, 2010|
By RAY POPE
The cold snap was several miles in front of us and was traveling faster than we could drive. Two days later in Daytona Beach we awoke to 34 degrees which was a shock for the people who live there. I made sure not to admit that we had brought all this weather with us from Tennessee. We might have been run out of Florida on a rail or worse.
Dotty Kim had such good luck on the way down where there was almost no traffic in Chattanooga and very little in Atlanta, Ga. We were able to deliver Sheila Lane safe and sound to her daughter in St. Augustine later that evening. After a few good-byes Dotty was ready to find a safe haven for the night. Early the next morning the motel had a waffle machine to go along with their continental breakfast and it didn’t take too long to get the hang of it. With hunger pains abated we set off looking to see the new St. Augustine which I haven’t seen in over 40 years.
The old alligator farm had raised their prices from many years ago from $2.00 to $21.95. Way too much for me, remember that I’m frugal, or maybe a tight-wad. The old fort there looked as if it had shrunken a bit or now that I am much bigger it didn’t take as many steps to walk around it.
After a few miles we pulled into a small section of the bay there looking for some birds. As cold as it was I believe that the most of our feathered friends were hanging around the heaters somewhere in bird-land.
It was very chilly, but we did find a few Sea Gulls hanging around a small parking lot next to the water. Shorebirds are a different breed all together and wear a more drab outfit in the winter months about the same as our American Goldfinch. I saw several up close and personal, but I am not the best with shorebirds. I have a couple shots of gulls that I will need some professional help with to pin down their species. If you are up to the task, shoot me an e-mail and I will send you a better picture to work with.
Most of the gulls have yellow legs while this one has a black bill and legs. This is where I miss my friend, the late Rev. William Senter, the most -- as he was a real expert.
Early Sunday morning, after more waffles of course, we headed out to the Deltona area in hopes of getting better photos of the Scrub Jays. It was more like trying to find the needle in a haystack. I probably walked about one mile into the preserve looking and listening for our friends from a few years back, only to find nothing there except a Carolina Chickadee that followed me around. The information that I have about the Lyonia sanctuary is that there are 118 birds in 27 family groups, but it was a no-show for me that Sunday. Maybe someday I will return there when the temperatures are more in the normal range.
Also at Daytona that morning I heard and saw Fish Crows flying over our motel. Fish Crows are a couple inches smaller than our American Crow which is more common here in Tennessee. They are scavengers which feed around the shore line of the ocean and inland waterways. Their vocals are a very nasal “car” sound. Next week, I will continue my Florida stories of our trip.
I would like to thank George and Mary Goodall for writing and I will gladly send you the plans for the roosting boxes. Mary says that she has several Bluebirds and hopes to build them a winter home in their yard.