Dr. Jay Bushnell, a former president of Friends, has written reviews of two conservation books. You can access them here.
On several summer Saturdays, Friends members volunteered to staff a Refuge Welcome Desk on the porch of the Cedar Key Chamber's Visitor Center. Summer visitors to the area often are unfamiliar with the refuge and looking for additional side trips to enjoy in the area. The Welcome Desk is a great opportunity to help people learn about the value of the refuge to them as visitors and to the overall quality of life in our region.
Bob and Barbara Hudson reported that the first Saturday in August had started off slow. Then the sun came out and so did the people. They ended up having 65-70 visitors between 10 am and 2 pm. The sunny weather definitely made the difference. About 40% were couples with children of all ages. They loved the brochure that overviews the refuge and the ones on bats and butterflies. Friends membership dollars are at work making those available!
Like the Hudsons, the others of us who have already volunteered are eager to do it again. If you would like to give it a try, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's work out a Saturday for you to work with one of us who has done it before or on your own.
As in previous years, this summer has brought flooding rains to roads throughout the Lower Suwannee Refuge on both sides of the river. For safety reasons, as well as to prevent significant erosion and other damage to the roadways, several have had to be closed. When possible, they are reopened. When flooded again, they are re-closed. The situation changes quite often. Before heading out for a refuge visit, you can call Refuge Manager Andrew Gude on his cell phone to learn the latest on road openings and closures. His number is 703.622.3896.
Our researcher friend, Dr. Gina Kent, at Avian Research and Conservation Institute reports that we have heard from Suwannee. His transmitter is still working. Hooray!
In response to a question after we last posted about Suwannee in July, Gina tells us that these birds fly about 18-25 mph in a straight-line, migratory-type flight. They are, however, greatly influenced by both head winds or tail winds.
Right place. Right time. Right photographer!
Deputy Manager Larry Woodward captured our favorite Swallow-tailed kite Suwannee, and his tracker, as Suwannee foraged with a large group of other kites over agricultural fields adjacent to the Lower Suwannee Refuge. Gina Kent from the Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) checked the signals from his tracker and confirmed both that it is still working and that he has been in these fields. She sent the map below to show where he has been. Although his battery is still transmitting, it has outlived its time and is expected to fail any day. We hope to be able to fund a new tracker for another bird in the future. Donations are welcome and can be made on Friends website.