Pensive yellow-crowned night heron

Fate or destiny, whatever, I was in the right place at the right time. After spending several nights sleeping on the slab (roadside motels) we discovered the Wakulla Springs Lodge and State Park. This area of the state (below Tallahassee) is referred to as the “real” Florida, a cypress bayou draped in epiphytes, misty and mysterious. Some called it a swamp, but swamp does not do this romantic place justice. At first we were just going to stop for the night, a place to stay until we reached the next place to stay, but there was no place we needed to be so we checked in for 4 nights. I took the boat cruise and added eight new birds to my life list. This is also the site where two Tarzan movies were filmed, plus The Creature of the Black Lagoon.

But the real treat was meeting two photographers Lo and Betsy Kellenberger (visit Lou’s gallery in Tallahassee). I was delighted to learn that they are also interested in birds. They told me about the St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge festival taking place on Saturday. I attended and had the chance to meet the Operation Migration and International Crane Foundation folks who were great resources for my whooping crane book. I hope to return to St. Mark’s in the near future, for this is also a prime location to view the young whooping cranes as they fly over on their maiden migratory flight to Chassahowitzka NWR.

Being present for a flyover is on my bucket list, and now I know exactly where to go.

The morning we left, we saw 8 manatees cavorting near the boat dock! Not a bad stopover!