Friday, October 14, 2005

Midwest Birding Symposium 4

The morning field trip to Andalusia Slough began with a quick bus ride to Sunset Park & Marina. The crisp air felt good as we boarded the johnboats and began motoring toward the Mississippi River.

Our boat included three birders and Joe, a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers forester. He talked about the Corps’ work with the river and other highlights of the area and its history.

The beautiful weather provided a wonderful backdrop for a pleasant excursion. It included two deer swimming across a side channel, Turkey Vultures sunning on a powerline tower with their wings outstretched, and various species singing or calling: White-throated Sparrow, Carolina Wren and White-breasted Nuthatch.

Tammy, a birder in my boat, spotted an adult Bald Eagle over the river. It looked magnificent and was the highlight of my morning. What an awesome bird!

After an afternoon of chatting with vendors in the Birder’s Marketplace at the RiverCenter, I boarded a bus to the Celebration Riverbelle riverboat for the dinner cruise. The delightful evening included an almost-full moon shining on the Mississippi, a pleasant view from the top deck, high-spirited conversation and fun musical entertainment.

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