Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On the Road--Down South: Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge to Selma Alabama (June 17, 2013)

I arrived near the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge in the early afternoon, in a deluge of rain. I was afraid I'd have to miss the place altogether, simply continuing to drive west, but the sky began to clear not long after I found the place and I ended up spending an enjoyable couple of hours along the "wildlife drive" that winds through much of the refuge. Perhaps because the rain had just ended, there was a lot of activity in the trees and low brushy areas I passed through. Almost immediately I saw Red-headed Woodpeckers--a bird I haven't seen since I rode my bike from Dayton, Ohio to Oxford, Ohio to visit a long-distance girlfriend, probably around 1974. I noticed an Eastern Towhee. I saw a first-year Orchard Oriole, and a Yellow-breasted Chat. American Goldfinches everywhere. Indigo Buntings singing. The usual Mockingbirds and Mourning Doves. Bobwhites calling nearby, but invisible in the dense brush. A white Ibis flew over. Yellowthroats singing on the tops of tall weeds. I even got two new birds. I saw what looked like a Mourning Dove flush, but it had no white in its short tail and the wings were the color of Cinnamon--Common Ground Dove, life bird No. 21 for the trip. Not long afterward, I spotted a pair of sparrows that I was able to get a good look at and photograph. They turned out to be Field Sparrows (below), life bird No. 22 for the trip.

I ended up in Selma, Alabama, having skirted Montgomery to the south. I followed the trail of the 1965 civil rights marches to protest white resistance to black voter registration drives in the area, crossing the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge. I was hard pressed to find a hotel. Selma is a much smaller place than I imagined. I was reduced to eating fast food for dinner. This morning, I head further west, aiming to stay in the Vicksburg area tonight before turning south along the Mississippi and then heading for the Gulf Coast again.

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