I was scheduled to rove this morning, and as I set out it was a chilly 44* and overcast with a breeze from the north. No problem, I thought, I’ll just get the Chevy Impala refuge vehicle this morning and crank up the heat. You know what they say about the best laid plans…
Remember that open air electric cart I used on a nice sunny afternoon a couple of weeks ago? Yep, it was the only vehicle available for volunteer use when I got to the maintenance area. Okay, I made a quick trip back to the rig to get a pair of gloves. My first trip along the Swamp Island Wildlife Drive was taken at a very slow speed. I hate being cold, and the faster you go in an open vehicle, the colder it is.
There were some new overnight avian arrivals that I spotted. It’s hard to decipher because of the dreary day, but this is a nice flock of American goldfinches.
There were hundreds of goldfinches flitting through the marsh. It was very similar to the arrival of the robins that I saw about a week and a half ago. Notice how puffed up they are? They don’t like the cold either I’m thinking.
I had to go back to the VC to defrost my fingers for a while, but then I headed out again. A few people thought I was nuts for going back out, but I’m sure glad I did. As I drove along, I came upon a gentleman standing outside his car looking at birds through his binoculars. I approached very slowly so as not to scare away what he was looking at. I asked if he had seen anything good, and he replied, “Anytime I’m looking at birds it’s good.” Nice attitude! I waved as I drove past him and continued down the drive, but something was nagging at my mind. He sure looked familiar for some reason.
My mind was working overtime as I slowly made my way down the road. Why would this extremely tall (6’6”+) man trigger something from my memories? Eventually, the name of Jeff came to mind with thoughts of the time I lived in New York. During that time, I was a federally licensed bird bander that ran a spring and fall migration bird banding station. One of my activities during the spring of each year in the late 80’s and early 90’s was to go up to Braddock Bay on Lake Ontario to band the spring migrating raptors. What an exciting time that was!
Those memories made me turn around and head back toward that vehicle. This time the man and a woman were standing in the road looking at birds. When I saw the New York license plates, I slammed on the brakes, got out, and asked if his name was Jeff. As we looked at each other, he said, “Judy Bell???” It was Jeff and Joan Dodge standing before me! They had established the Braddock Bay Raptor Research group back in the 80’s, and I had parked my little trailer in their driveway each spring for a number of years so I could band hawks. We had not seen each other for about twenty years! We kind of lost touch after I had to move to Minnesota. What a shock this was to see them! Especially in the middle of a swamp on the back roads of Georgia! Cool beans!!!
We visited for a while, and then I had to get back to work and they had to get on with enjoying their vacation. As I sit here tonight reliving this morning in my thoughts, I’m still flabbergasted. After twenty years, who would of thought we’d cross paths again so far away from Upstate New York and so far off the beaten path in Georgia. All I can say is that is was an amazing blast from the past and has brought back so many wonderful memories…
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy