Sunday, February 10, 2013

3 Days in Florida

Limpkin and White Ibis

I now can see why northern people like to migrate like the birds to the warmer climes of the southern USA or beyond. I was in Florida for only 3 or 4 days in the first week of February where it was in the high 70s and low 80s. At home, we left behind -25 with a wind chill. Florida was beautiful even if I had to work for 8 hours of each day. I still had a couple hours per day to bird watch and just wander around enjoying the sunshine and scenery. I managed to put more than 30 new birds on my list ranging from herons, Ibis, warblers and cardinals as well as a couple new hawks. I found a Limpkin and a wood stork which can be quite tough to find. I saw a turtle, or rather a turtle head poking out of a water run. Almost got a photo but too slow. I even found a crocodile that was trying to sneak up to a little blue heron. Much too obvious for that heron to fall for. I was once again amazed with a great blue heron whose eyes were too big for his gullet. He had a fish as large as his belly that would have to go through his beak and down that long skinny neck before arriving at the gizzard. The fish was not only large but seemed to be quite bristly with fins and teeth. Florida was also winter home to several species that we have here which I saw. Mallards, yellow-rumped warblers and hooded mergansers all winter in this area.

Little Blue Heron and Crocodile

Next year if I go back, I will spend a few days after our training session and rent a car for some touring. I have always had on my bucket list a drive to the end of the Florida Keys. I would also like to take a look in the everglades, ride and air boat and swim with the manatees. There are also several species of birds that I would like to see but need to go to their particular habitat to find.
The one complaint I had for the trip was a screaming child on the plane. I did manage to control myself but it was intolerable. A couple travelling with 2 kids about 4 and 2 years old who had no control. The youngest one cried for 4 of the 5 hours of the flight from Toronto including the delay of over an hour on the ground waiting to get de-iced. This family were sitting right in front of me. There are times for a good swat on the ass and that would have given that kid a reason at least to cry. Next time I fly I will be equipped with ear muffs and a water pistol.
Eyes are Bigger Than His Gullet

I should mention that the reason for my trip was to see and play with all the new John Deere lines of machinery that I sell. Several new models of lawn mowers, gators and utility tractors are out this year. We also got to drive and compare with some competitors machines. We have them all beat, hands down.

It is nice to go for a tour but is always great to get back home.

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