Oct. 27, 1943
Though rather overdue this will have to be short since I’m rather tired, my latest trip combined with almost too much flying having caught up with me. They’ve been giving us every sixth day off lately, but I’d rather have two in a row every twelve. Time before last I just went to St. Augustine and hired a bike there. Oyster catchers were the big news there. Shore birds fully as big as marbled godwits, they have long, bright orange bills and black and white plumage, the black predominating except below.
Yesterday I went to Melbourne, taking my own bike along in the train, and bicycled west to some interesting prairie country dotted with streamlined groves of cypress in the wetter places. These were beyond the rather extensive fresh water marshes around the St. John’s, and they actually do taper to the east something like this:
One of the supposedly characteristic birds, the Audubon’s Caracara, an oddly-marked and long-legged member of the hawk family I missed, but I did see four cranes—Florida cranes, as the southern subspecies of the sandhill crane is called. I’ve seen them before, but never got a good look, as was the case yesterday. They are a little bigger perhaps than a great blue heron, brownish in color except for red on the top of the head, and fly with necks stretched out straight. I had hoped to hire a boat on the river on the way back, but my front tire was getting too soft for miles from anywhere (air or pumps at least), and there wasn’t too much time anyway. As it was, I saw gallinules (no purples, alas), coots, herons, egrets, bitterns, ducks, etc., but several potential new birds besides the caracara were not in evidence. Better luck next time.
Love to all,
P.S. Please send that green overseas cap. It cost $3.50 or so. I’ve another Jack can have.