Sunday, December 7, 2008

Florida Trip - Day 3

As we drove south out of Montgomery this morning, we saw our first signs of waterbirds with a small group of a dozen or so Great Blue Herons flying over the freeway. The temperature this morning was 32 degrees and all the vegetation was frosty though none of the water was frozen. We also saw a sign of the deep south, Spanish Moss draped all over the trees. We made our way into the Florida Panhandle, and drove around in the vicinity of the Choctawhatchee River, which is where there have been possible reports of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers recently. We didn't get so lucky, but did stand at a boat ramp that gave views off into the swamp. Even if the Ivory-bills no longer exist, standing in an area near where they once existed is still something I feel worthwhile doing.

From here we drove northeast to Florida Caverns State Park. We had information that the Georgia Blind Salamander was found here, so we thought we'd give it a try. Once there, they told us that it was in their cave system but only rarely was seen in the cave as the water table is usually too low. We tried our luck on the surface, finding one tiny Southeastern Slimy Salamander on a rock wall under some leaf litter, and this Green Anole (they're sold as "chamaeleons as they can change color) under a log.

From here we went back southeast to the Apalachicola National Forest where we had brief looks at two Red-cockaded Woodpeckers as they came in to roost for the night. No photos but I did manage to get a brief recording of their vocalizations. The temperature rose to 60 degrees today, we're definitely in Florida! We drove quite a ways in the dark to Medart, Florida for the night.

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