Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 2 (continued) - Ivory-billed Expedition 2010

After checking into the Ponce De Leon hotel and tossing the canoe onto the lawn, we headed south toward the beach!  You go to Florida to beat the cold Indiana winter, right?!  Wrong!  34F and breezy!! First stop was across the bridge over Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton County, FL.

Only a crazy birder would stop on the side of a highway and make himself the next available roadkill!  Luckily, this area is full of birders, and the drivers we kind enough to swerve away from us.  I took this picture of a Royal Tern through that scope above.

I don't think I've ever seen a Royal Tern, but I don't have my life list with me.   Although, I'm sure my husband, the "lister" remembers if I've seen it.  I don't mind not remembering life birds, because then I am always thrilled when I see a "new" bird!  No matter how many times I've seen it!  LOL!

As we continued our drive to the beach, we meandered our way through the massive condominium complexes of Destin, FL.  The place reminds me of the hotel zone in Cancun.  One massive structure next to another...and across the street, every high-end retail shop you can think of!  I was imagining retiring in one of these lovely, beachfront, low maintenance residences, when the truck came to a skidding halt, throwing me into my seatbelt and sending my binocs flying into the dashboard!  The cooler slid from the backseat onto the floor and Dave yelled, "Those are Ring-necked Ducks!"  Once I had retrieved my glasses from the floor of the truck, I did indeed confirm that he had seen a cute little group of Ring-necks swimming among the landscaped waterway between condos.

We finally made it to the absolutely breath-taking white beaches of the Florida Panhandle.  It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, and I think I could definitely live here!  Probably not in one of those fancy condos, but definitely by the water!

We found Topsail State Park and took a hike out to the lake.  No birds on the water, but the woods were full of Kinglets, Cardinals, Downy's, Red-bellies and Flickers.

Back at the hotel, the other team members we assembling and we packed our gear for our first day in the field searching for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

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