Monday, August 15, 2011

Exploring nearby back roads

On Saturday, my friend Sheila came by and we went exploring. Our goal was to find kites. There is a traditional area for around Glenville Ga. This is a small community just outside of Fort Stewart.
This year the kites are gathering at Skeen's Farm. The family is used to birders stopping by to see the kites. For they just waved as they drove back and forth to their chores. This day there were 5 Mississippi Kites and 4 Swallow-tailed Kites. When the kites started feeding over the field, it was all I had hope it would be. The two kite species have very different feeding styles. The Swallow-tailed Kites would gracefully soar down and pick June bugs out of the air. The smaller Mississippi Kites tended to swoop and grab. Those Mississippi Kites would fly so high they were just dots. Then they would go into a stoop similar to Peregrines Falcons. They would pull up with a June bug. Both species ate their food while flying. My little camera just was not up to the task of capturing these graceful birds. I watched a while and then sketch awhile. Mostly what I was sketching was gestures. But I when I got home I did a full sized sketch.

We watched and "ooed and awed" for about two hours. It was noon. Lunch in Glenville's Rusty Pig barbecue was in order. This was a busy place and I could see why. The food was good and very reasonably price.

We took our time on the way back. On Georgia highway 57 there is a tiny town of Ludowici. In the late 1890's it was famous for it red clay tiles which was used in roofing.

Further down the road we turned on Georgia highway 251toward the Cox, a crossroads, near the Altamaha River. We got curious and went looking for Fort Barrington Park. The fort is no longer there but it is a pretty view of a lake just off the Altamaha. I always learn about native plants when I go exploring with Sheila. Here is an oak that is called a runner oak. Fascinating it just grows about six inches.
Our last discovery was an active Gopher Tortoise colony. I have seen them on state parks but this one was wild and right on the side of the road. Here is Sheila pointing at an active Gopher Tortoise borrow.Thanks Sheila for helping me to explore some back roads near the coast.

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