Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus Principalis)

Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus Principalis)
by Logan Parsons

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Our season is over

I didn't find the bird!

Here's a link to the season's end report from my team leader, Dr. Hill, of Auburn University.


I'm busy reacclimating myself to life in the world outside the swamp, so may not be able to deliver on my own report promised some time back on this blog. I still may try to post some of my thoughts on the search and the status of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker before too long. If anyone has any questions, they are welcome to post them to this thread.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The best way to see an Ivory-billed Woodpecker these days?


These cute toys make great gifts for bird lovers and for practical jokers like me.

Not over yet!

Some of the best detections over the past couple of years occurred in May. We still have some crew members posted to some of the hot spots in the river system, so hopefully we'll come up with something over the next week. I'm more hopeful than optimistic, but still have no difficulty finding motivation to get up and out into that beautiful river valley.

I will be posting at a later date on some possible hypotheses as to why we weren't able to come up with definitive proof of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's existence here.

Season wrapping up

I'll be leaving in 10 days. Most of my colleagues have already left, and all but two will be gone by the time I fly out of Pensacola on May 30th. I'll still be posting to the blog, though, so please continue to visit. If anybody has any questions about the results of our search, I advise they visit the Auburn University site I link to on the home page of this blog.

Here's a photo of our remaining crew of 10, the toughest holdovers from a high of close to the 30 at the apex of our search:

{Photo by Wally Rendell - click to enlarge}

Front (l. to r.) Brian Rolek, Mark VanderVen, Lizzie Goodrick, Wally Rendell, Karan Odom

Back (l. to r.) John Diener, Justyn Stahl, Lawson Yow, Jean Olbert, Grover P. Gordish (missing : John McNeely)

Birds of the Choctawhatchee

If I weren't for a certain phantom bird, we wouldn't be here. Though he/she has proven to be a bit evasive, I probably ought share some of the other less cagey feathered critters we've been seeing.

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Green Heron
Eastern Kingbird

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Belted Kingfisher
Little Blue Heron

Great Egret
White Ibis
Great Egret

Northern Parula
Pileated Woodpecker

Swallow-tailed Kite
Louisiana Waterthrush

Prothonotary Warbler

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The dynamic Choctawhatchee

Heavy rains north of us in Alabama can render an abrupt temporary change in the morphology of the swamp. Levels fluctuate by several feet. Here are before and after photos of the same blazed tree. I prefer higher water levels, as I can kayak everywhere without getting stuck on logs, cypress knees, or in shallow water.

Herps of the Choctawhatchee (deux)

This young gator thought it was eluding detection.

We have a gator pond right next to camp. Hunters have no compunction about taking potshots at them, so they've become quite wary in our area.

A Brown Water Snake languishing while digesting large prey.

This Rough Green Snake always hangs out by the cut-through to our camp.

Brown Water Snakes are some of the most common herps in the river system. Sadly, this harmless non-venomous species is often slaughtered unnecessarily by persons who mistake them for Water Moccasins. Even Water Moccasins (aka Florida Cottonmouths) are needless victims of pre-emptive murder; they, too, are generally not threatening in spite of their venom and their reluctance to budge in the presence of humans.

A gorgeous Gray Rat Snake.