Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The ferry runs between Ft. Morgan and Dauphin Island each day. When we arrived early this morning, we weren't the first at the dock, as you can see. Now that the wind has died down, it was a very pleasant trip. Dauphin Island is another Globally Important Birding site, and we had a great time wandering around the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, exploring the maritime forests, dunes, lakes and marshes.
A Great Blue Heron caught half a fish! Apparently the fishermen catch a large fish, fillet it and throw the head and tail back in. This guy was trying so hard to swallow this huge half fish, and finally got it down. Talk about determination!
Why do people insist on building and rebuilding on the same site after it gets blown away by hurricanes? The Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium showed exhibits about the changes in the water level over thousands of years, and the movement of sand dunes and barrier islands. You can see the dead trees in the dunes that used to be part of the forest. Sure, I know, it's fun to be at the beach, but I think there oughta be a law that you can only camp at the beach! People are such fools sometimes. I guess I just get crabby about this, and leave crabby footprints in the sand thinking about it.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
What bird sounds like a child's squeaky bath toy? Give up? We finally decided that all that racket was coming from 10-12 Bluebirds in a large pine tree. Other noise makers included some bright yellow Magnolia Warblers, and a drabber warbler that looked like a Pine Warbler (and it was in a pine tree, right?) When a Kestrel suddenly appeared, the noise levels escalated, although Kestrels don't eat anything this big. When the Harrier soared by, all the little birds disappeared into the branches!Three layers of clothes and it's still really cold here along the Gulf Coast, but the bright sunshine makes you feel better about it. Following the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail through Baldwin County, we started at a mariculture facility (like a fish farm), but most of the birds thought it was too cold to be out too. We did find one Spotted Sandpiper (another life bird), which bobbed its tail the whole time we saw it, thus matching the identification in the Stokes' Shorebird book. Weeks Bay Estuary has a great observation platform at the end of a boardwalk through the southern forest and marsh. I love the labels on unfamiliar trees and ferns. We also found an unlabeled giant spider - at least 2 inches long - which I have been unable to identify so far. A Kestrel sped past, and caught a dragonfly on the wing as Dick watched. "Maybe that's why the big dragonflies don't land often - they don't want to be Kestrel krunchies!" He flew a couple victory laps, just to show off. An immature Bald Eagle landed in a nearby tree, while an Osprey perched across the bay. The raptors continue to be our favorites on this trip, but that's to be expected, right?
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
On the drive south, we expected heavy rain all day. However, we caught the trailing edge only. The sky was dark, dark purple, with thin white clouds scudding across. So dark, in fact, that the photo looks like a nice blue sky with fluffy white clouds.