Gee whiz! After shivering for the past few weeks, a warm, 65 degree sunny day called us outside, and we heeded the call by hiking the three-and-a-half mile Leon Sinks (or Leon Spinx in our lingo) trail south of Tallahassee. Been a long time since our last trek here. Lots of winter gray and brown tones seen this time of year, probably due in part to the record-setting cold weather we've endured all year (15 days)! Nice day!
Led by an ultralight, the 2009 crop of whooping cranes arrived today at St Marks NWR, after migrating 1,285 miles across seven states, from Wisconsin to sunny Florida. This morning's temp at 7:30 was two degrees warmer than yesterday: A frigid 27F -- more like WI than FL! After waiting almost two hours for the bird flyover, it may take me the rest of the day to warm up! (wussy girl) It was worth the wait, tho, seeing the birds flash those eight-foot wings in the early morning sunshine was an awesome sight. How often can the average person see the tallest and most endangered bird in North America? It was my privilege!
Poster at info booth. Crowd (roughly 300) at San Marcos de Apalachee Park. Cold St Marks River landscape.
The first ultralight appears at 9:10, followed by the second ultralight with the ten whoopers!
25 degrees at 8:00 am., San Marcos de Apalache Historic Park, south of Tallahassee FL. This morning the whooping cranes were scheduled to arrive; i.e., the Operation Migration people were hopeful conditions would be right for today's arrival. I was there. Cranes were not. Heavy frost and turbulent wind prevented their short flight from Jefferson County FL. Tomorrow looks hopeful. I'll return tomorrow. Maybe it'll be warmer!!
The first day of 2010 was a right nippy day! Factor in a "fresh breeze" (19-24 mph) straight out of Canada, and you know it was darned cold near the waters of the Gulf of Mexico (Apalachee Bay). Nevertheless, we thought we'd take a look around our favorite place: St Marks NWR - to see what was happening.