Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Drive Home

Well, you are a bunch of nice readers because no one pointed out my "alma mater" mistake in the last post.  If you saw it, thank you.  ;)  I found it too late to edit before it went out to email subscribers.  TYPO!  lol!
Okay, so I can't tell you exactly where I live, but you have definitely figured out by now that I do live in Georgia, but not on the coast.  I will also state for the record that I DO NOT live in Atlanta.
WARNING: Run-on ahead.  Proceed with caution!
When you are from Georgia and travel outside of Georgia and someone asks you where you are from, you can tell them the real name of your hometown, but after minutes of giving detailed directions to help them mentally locate said hometown, they always remain befuddled and give you a quizzical look.  So, despite your best efforts, it always ends with, "yeah, I live in Atlanta."
But I don't live in Atlanta. :)
For those of you who are not familiar with the state of Georgia and do not know exactly where I live, I am about to further confuse you with the details of our drive home from the coast.  If it helps, you can pretend I live in Atlanta.  :)
For those of you who know exactly where I live, you are about to laugh your heads off or decide for sure that I AM a little off-in-the-head.  Let's just say we did not exactly take the direct route home but instead drove in a weird zig-zag pattern to allow us to find as many birds as possible before returning to our humble abode in Whatevertown (a.k.a. Notatlanta), Georgia.
Our first zigzag was off I-16, about 30 minutes east of Savannah and near the town of Statesboro.  We drove about 10 miles north of the interstate to a rural area listed in the Birding Georgia guide.  The farming families in this area maintain numerous feeders and bird houses, and along with a series of ponds and rivers, the farmlands themselves attract a variety of species.  We saw and heard several warblers and other song birds.  We added the Common Ground Dove to our life list, and we heard Bald Eagles.  Sadly, we heard the eagles in very wooded area and the tree tops were between us and them.  However, their song is unmistakable, and we heard it repeatedly.  The most fun happened when we reached the farms reserved for cattle.
Cattle Egret

I have always had a strange interest in cows. We used to visit
my great grandparents' farm in Missouri yearly, and as we would
drive there, I would snap pictures of every cow I saw. I would
seriously return home with entire rolls of film dedicated to bovine.

I guess that explains why these birds are one of my favorites.
Seeing those little white heads popping up above the
tall grasses and bobbing around beside a large animal cracks me up!
They are even funnier looking when their orange tufts come in.
They are beautiful, too.
Watching them soar above the farmland
and perch in the surrounding trees is a treat for the eyes.
There were so many cattle egret present that day!
After I took my requisite 100+ photos of the cows and egrets,
we returned to the interstate.
I love the purple flowers growing in the median of I-16.
It's like a purple runner between Macon and Savannah.

Once in Macon, we stopped at Ocmulgee National Monument.  Sadly, we did
not add any birds to our list and consequently we did not take any pictures.
Our bird total was at 124 when we left Ocmulgee.  Determined to identify at
least 125 birds while on our Birding Adventure, we jumped on I-75 and headed
north toward ATLANTA! One of our favorite birding spots is located in the
south-metro area.  We realized that the European Starling, a bird we see daily,
was not on our list.  We prayed the Lord would send one our way before we
made it to the birding hotspot, but alas, we saw nothing.
When we pulled into the water treatment facility,
we did not just see a European Starling.
We saw hundreds!
Actually, we added 3 more species to the list,
including the lesser yellowlegs
(very poorly) pictured above.
Our birding adventure had reached its end.  We zigzagged again to head to our real home.  Later, as I went through our photographs, I realized we had misidentified one bird, and I found pictures of six birds we could not identify on-the-spot.  With much work, we finally identified those and feel comfortable saying we identified 132 birds in all.  Even though our dedication to birding as a family may impress you, we are not experts, so that total probably includes a few mistakes.  However, we also try to photo-document as much as we can so we can check ourselves and learn. 

That total also does not include Bobby White.  We are still seeking help on identifying him, and if we ever make a positive ID, I will be sure to share it with you all.  I also have not had a chance to add the new life listers to the master list yet.  When I get everything in order, I will update my blog to let you know what the new total is.

I hope you enjoyed our birding adventure!  We sure did.  I encourage you to have an adventure of your own.  You don't have to travel far from home or drive most of your state like we did.  You can even start at home with a feeder in your backyard or at a local park. 

However, if you catch the bug like we have, get ready to travel!  We are saving our pennies toward a birding trek to the southwestern US which we hope to take in the near future- at least before our older son graduates high school.

If you would like help teaching your children how to identify birds, please check out my Birding 101 series.

Thanks for joining us on our adventure.  Come back soon!


1 comment:

Kellie said...

Cracking up about the starlings! And the cattle egret is so cute! I didn't know about your bovine fondness. I might have to get a picture of some cows near our church for you -- they are pretty interesting.

What a wonderful trip -- thank you for sharing!