Saturday, February 22, 2014

Feb 22 (Day 53) - Florida arrival, more on Le Conte's, Tripod special at Hunt's Photo!

I was hoping to make it to Jacksonville today, but a major wrench was thrown into that plan by a big detour. This detour added ~27 miles to my route and made the total distance for the day 92 miles. I had been planning to continue down Route 17 to reach Jacksonville, but the bridge on that road that crosses the St. Mary's river was out (The St. Mary's demarcates Eastern Georgia from Florida). This left me with 3 options: a ferry, 5 miles on I-95 to cross the river, or the 27-mile detour. Since the ferry is clearly out, I was left to decide between the last two. I chose the last one which, although very painful, was the safer of the two. It was also the only legal option since bikes aren't permitted on I-95! The Route 17 bridge that was out was just south of Kingsland; I looped to the west north of Kingsland, crossed the river at Folkston, and then cut back to the east (into a headwind!) to reach Yulee where I am spending tonight. Tomorrow I will again take a longer route to avoid another ferry crossing. This will mean a 77-mile ride to St. Augustine where I where I will stay tomorrow night. 170 miles in two days would be a great achievement. I am looking forward to the challenge!

Big detour!

At least they signed it!

The beard is coming in nicely
(this is to aggravate my mom who HATES the beard)

I was able to add two birds to the list today. The first of these was King rail (#194). I had been tipped off to a spot right off of Route 17 near Woodbine where the rails could be found. I heard the 2 rails in the half-hour I spent at the spot, but I was unable to pull them out of the marsh with the tape. These calls were spot on for King rail and very different from the Clapper rail calls that I had been hearing in the salt marsh behind the house where I had stayed the previous 2 nights. I am fully confident in this ID. Hopefully, I will see one of these when I bird the freshwater control areas farther south. I also heard a single White-eyed vireo along the roadside this afternoon. I was in such a good pedaling rhythm that I didn't bother to stop to look for it. Its getting chalked up as a heard bird for #195. I'll see one of these in the next few days anyway.

I have also decided to count the Le Conte's sparrow (#193) that we caught while banding Henslow's sparrows 2 days ago. In reviewing the ABA listing rules, Rule 3.C.iv states that "Banders working on licensed projects under proper permits, may count, for their personal lists, the birds that they band...." The complete rules can be found here. That I did not identify the bird before it was captured does not matter. That we caught a wild bird, identified it, and released it during a legitimate banding session means the bird is countable.

Lastly, as many of you know, Hunt's Photo has furnished me with some equipment for this trip. One incredibly helpful piece that they have provided is my travel tripod, the MeFoto Globetrotter carbon fiber tripod (#C2350). Hunt's and I are proud to announce that they are offering readers of this blog a special on all MeFoto Tripods! Use can use promo code DA10MEFOTO at checkout for a 10% discount on any MeFoto tripod. There are a variety of sizes and styles, all of which are available at Hunt's. These are just fantastic for travel. I have added some of my thoughts on my particular tripod below. If you have questions about camera gear feel free to contact me or Hunt's. I know a fair amount about photographing birds (, and they know about everything else!

Prior to the MeFoto Globetrotter carbon fiber tripod (#C2350), I had a very heavy set of Manfrotto legs with the very good Bogen 3130 head. At close to 10 pounds, this was sturdy but way too big and heavy for this trip. The MeFoto Globetrotter that Hunt's provided has been just fantastic. I doubt I will ever travel with another tripod. It is quite sturdy, and at 3.7 pounds it doesn't weigh me down. It also folds down to around 15". This is very important as it does not stick out from my bike which would be a big safety hazard. It does have 5 leg segments, but the screw-style locks are of high quality and take only 1/4 turn to tighten or loosen. The tripod comes with an integrated Arca-swiss ballhead. Admittedly, ballheads are generally better suited for cameras than spotting scopes, but I have had little trouble making the adjustment. I am particularly excited to take this tripod abroad where I like to do night architectural photography. I know I won't get hassled on the airplane since its so small. You'll need a good travel tripod to get shots like this!

St. Basel's Cathedral, Moscow
(to close out the Olympics!)

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on reaching Florida and good luck with tracking down all the birds you listed yesterday. I just entered my donation.