Friday, 28 November 2014

Deep South (7) - Way up North

Back to the Spring tour.

We left Florida and headed North into Georgia. If you've got a non-birding partner you'll know you have to take an all-round view to holidays! No problem for me as I love sightseeing in the States. Might be for you though so feel free to skip these bits.

We headed for Savannah (one of many fabulously named places). It's 453 miles from Ft Myers and took us around 7 hours with stops. We did the old centre tour...

Live Oak lined streets draped in Spanish Moss
The bus guide was superb with a wonderful slow southern drawl...loved it! She called the place Slooooovannah. As a kid I collected American Civil War cards which also had replica Confederate money...those were the days. This definitely fuelled my love of American history and particularly the Civil War.

I also love the architecture...

From here we headed further North West through South Carolina and on into North Carolina. We were aiming for Hendersonville, making another 289 miles.

Next day I was up early and heading up onto Skyline drive...

Skyline Drive is a 105-mile (169-km) road that runs the entire length of the National Park Service's Shenandoah National Parkin the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

The particular spot I was interested in was the Pisgah Inn. This was the number one site for my code 1 target bird...guessed what it might be yet? I tried the recommended areas and again at dusk...but not a sniff. The sunset was spectacular though...

5,000 ft
I'd scheduled a few days to hopefully connect with this bird...and I had some support! I rang my contacts Marcus Simpson and Marylin Westphal and they agreed to meet me the following evening. We met at a designated car park and we followed them to the alternative site. They told me that they hadn't had any sightings on their last two visits...which didn't raise hopes? At least the weather was good which was always going to be a concern.

We arrived around 30 minutes before dusk and waited. Marcus and Marylin prowled up and down the road listening and looking while I scanned. Still nothing, not a single bird. 20 minutes had passed now and it wasn't looking good.

Then, a sound, then there it was... a low flight across the hillside! American Woodcock (ABA 664) There was a further display flight in the fading light. No photo...but who cares...I'd seen it!

A big relief!! As previously stated I'd struggled to find a strategy to connect with this bird previously, so the long detour had paid off. Now to make it up to Louise.

Next stop Nashville, Tennessee...

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