Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Everglades
 

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Day Two: Water Turkeys

Max Bader—We woke up early on this first day of the trip—a chilly, damp morning; I didn’t exactly feel like I was on spring break in South Florida as I wiped the condensation from the outside of my sleeping bag. However, as we gathered around Dr. Krohne’s sausage, eggs, hash browns, and coffee the sun climbed higher and grew warmer. It was clear that we weren’t in Indiana any longer.

By the afternoon, everyone was ready for a siesta to escape the heat to which none of us were accustomed. The first place we visited today was the Anhinga Trail, which baptized us into the new world of double-breasted cormorants, black vultures, egrets, a rainbow of herons, alligators, and countless unfamiliar plant species. And of course there were the goofy looking Anhingas, or water turkeys. We’re supposed to be recording observations in our field notebooks, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re walking along a boardwalk where everything you see is completely new. I know from experience, though, that the novelty and wonder will wear off after the first few days of the trip, and by the end of the week most of us will be making exasperated remarks about seeing our ninth roseated spoonbill since lunch.

The benefits of a group as small as ours on this type of trip really became apparent today. We were able to see a lot more than we’d be able to with a larger number of guys, and when Dr. Krohne answered a question fielded by one of us, everyone else was within earshot to hear the answer and to possibly ask further questions. Several times today when Dr. Krohne stopped to briefly lecture along the boardwalk I even saw passers-by temporarily join us to listen to the wealth of information beyond what was available from the plaques posted along the trail. His experience and knowledge is, for me, what made today a learning experience instead of just an enjoyable stroll. After today, I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week; I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxed, stimulating way to spend my last spring break at Wabash.

See a photo album here.

In photo: Max Bader with his favorite anhinga, or water turkey, on the Anhinga Trail.