Jan 15th - Leon Sinks Geological Area hike

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!

Colorful info board. Jimmy hiking thru the upland pines. Hammock Sink's beautiful emerald-color water.

Long-leaf pine saplings. A nice-looking long-leaf sprout, and its doomed cousin "It."

Looking into Black Sink. Jimmy emerging from the Black Sink perimeter. Gumswamp's calm tannic waters.


01/13/10 - LIFT OFF!

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!

Best shots I could get with my frozen hands. Look pretty good, don't they?  (enlarge photos for best view)

Headed south toward the new four-acre pen that the cranes will call home for the winter in St Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Thanks for the flyover!


Waiting for the Cranes - 1/12/10

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!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 01/01/10

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.

Fresh breeze, indeed. I nearly froze to death! All the prickly pear cactus were loaded with fruit.

A well-camouflaged tricolored heron. Festive Yaupon holly. Lovely St Marks Lighthouse.

LOTS of coots, plus a flock of American wigeons. Cold sky. A photo on the calm leeward side, out of the wind.