Asa Wright Nature Center

Published: August 1st 2019
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Wednesday July 31 - I went to bed too late last night, chatting with my friend Niki, and did not sleep well all night. I finally got up at 6:30, despite setting my alarm for 7:00. I had breakfast, chatted with Jeroen and got ready for the day. Ally and I were supposed to leave at 8:00 but she was running a bit behind and we left at 8:30.

We drove up to Asa Wright Nature Center, and on the way Ally showed me where I’ll need to get out of the bus when I head to another destination on my own in the near future, which was really handy. It took a while to drive there, and we had a good chat along the way. When we arrived, we both changed our shoes, and I put on Ally’s old boots that she let me borrow for the hike. There can be poisonous snakes, so you have to have closed shoes.

Before the hike started, we watched hummingbirds come to the feeders and I tried to take some pictures. They are super fast and amazing with their coordination, and they can be very aggressive and territorial with each other. We saw hummingbirds trying to knock others right out of the air. It was nuts. But they are so pretty.

The hike started at 10:30 and it was just me, another woman, her adult kid and his girlfriend. Ally stayed behind to watch birds in a different spot. The family wasn’t chatty, so I just took some pics and listened. The guide told us about the plants and the birds and showed us the white-bearded manakin lek (a breeding area) and a Bearded Bellbird, which you can hear from a distance. It was ok but I guess I thought it would be longer than an hour. After the tour, Ally and I stayed until almost 2pm, looking at the birds that came around the main porch area, since the trails are closed when there is no tour. Then it was time for a swim in their natural pool. Ally doesn’t like cold water, so I got in alone. She had forgotten to tell me to bring a suit, so I borrowed the one she keeps in her car for the beach. It felt good to get in the cold water, once I could get myself in all the way, and I appreciated that there was no salt to wash off later. Quite refreshing. We stayed there for about an hour, and then I changed and we left.

Around 4pm, we stopped on the way home at Orange Grove, a small unofficial wetland area. At first it seemed quite dead, but we had a lot of birds in the end. I saw several birds that we have in Florida, but also new ones, like yellow-headed blackbirds and wattled Jacanas. I saw several baby jacanas and a baby gallinule and even baby birds in a nest. Quite a good end to the day.I was feeling quite tired by this time, and when we got home, I hit the shower and even washed my hair. I did notice that my butt is covered in mosquito bites in a perfect row from the boat ride yesterday. Bastards. I had leftovers from yesterday’s lunch for dinner while I chatted with my mom. It took ages to sort pictures and I still included more than I should, but I love them, so they stay. Ally also explained how to get to a couple destinations on my list by public transport, in case I go to one tomorrow. I write it all down just in case. My legs were itchy so she gave me some calamine lotion. Now I am even whiter.

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