Hi! My name is Ms. McCullagh. I will continue to post nature related photos and videos on this great outlet - thank you, Earthwatch! I traveled with Earthwatch to Maryland to study Climate Change and Fragmented Forests at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Bald Eagles and amazing Wakulla Springs and its fauna


What a wonderful day in the Big Bend area of North Florida's panhandle!













Today, we traveled back to Simmons Bayou to find the Bald and Golden eagles wheeling over St. Joseph's Bay.




We drove east to Wakulla Springs for a boat tour during which we spied many manatees, birds and gators.

Later, we made it to St. Mark's Wildlife Preserve to catch the sunset, and happily arrived just as the Bald Eagle flew over us carrying fish back to the nest and waiting mate!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunset on Simmons Bayou, St. Joseph's Bay


I went back to where we observed the Eagles earlier in the day to enjoy the waning sunlight over St. Joseph's Bay.


The Eagles were not present, but the Herons and Egrets were plentiful, and I could hear the warblers in the brush.


The sunset was lovely, but the wind was chilly!





Off to St. Mark's Wildlife Preserve tomorrow!




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Eagles, Golden and Bald, and lovely scenery on St. Joseph's Bay


We were stunned to find four Golden Eagles and Bald Eagle on St. Joseph's Bay this afternoon! So close and a few flew overhead to our awe and amazement.

We stayed to observe these high fliers for almost half an hour, and we have plans to return this evening at sunset.


Lovely views of the bay from the bayou...










Cape San Blas Lighthouse has been restored and moved to higher ground; its original location has long since been swallowed by the Gulf of Mexico.




We also spied a sandpiper scavenging the edgewater for food - I was happy to capture the bird and its reflection and shadow in a photo.

We enjoyed a walk along the beach where many skeleons of cypress trees rest in the sand.

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Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area

We explored the Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area yesterday, and discovered amazing history and beauty.


The Fort Gadsden site on the river was wonderfully quiet and green, even on the cold December day.


The elevated earthworks ramparts are still walkable, and the views of the river make it evident why this location was chosen for the fort.


The Cypress along the river's edge were accompanied by the forest of Cypress knees in abundance.


The Spanish Moss hanging from the Live Oaks and the Sweetgum trees gave an ethereal quality to the landscape scene.

















We also found Sand Beach, a picnic area with an observation tower from which we surveyed the East Bay at sunset - what a sight!




Even as the breezes blew the 35 degree air, we are warmed by the beautiful colors of the fading sun in the west.

We even spied bear scat on the observation tower, so we kept sharp eyes out for wildlife of the ursine variety!

The deer hunters were on the roads all day with their radio-collared dogs. We were inclined to think that wasn't the most sporting way to hunt, but we didn't tell the hunters our opinion...

We are bound for St. Marks Wildlife Preserve on Thursday, so more great photos of the area are to follow!

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