My drive up to Virginia this morning was as uneventful as one would hope. The best part was the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which should actually be renamed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel-Bridge-Tunnel-Bridge, as that's the true order of the structures one must travel to reach the other end. Every single lamp post on the bridges was adorned by at least a single gull. I'm terrible at identifying gulls, so I have no idea what kind they were. I did see a Double-crested Cormorant, 2 Osprey, and some sort of tern on the bridge too, but they're hard to ID at 60mph.
After checking in at Cherrystone Camping Resort and heading over to my tent site I began to hear an unfamiliar bird "talking" nearby. I looked around and saw 3 of these little Brown-headed Nuthatches going in and out of this tree cavity, a mere 4 feet from my car! Add that to the incredible number of egrets, herons, and vultures I've seen since hitting the peninsula, and I think this might end up being a very birdie weekend.
Today wasn't a full day at the festival. In fact, it couldn't even be counted as a half day. The "kickoff" events, hosted by the town of Onancock, VA (pronounced ah-NAN-cock, at least by the one person I heard actually risk saying it), were nothing spectacular. From the look of their "tent", they didn't put a lot into the kickoff, save for inviting the Virginia Beach Wildlife Resources people out for a short flightless-raptor demonstration.
The rest of the events today centered around bringing revenue to their quaint little town, which was actually quite cute.
The buildings have a lot of charm and character, and the residents were, well, characters. I'll put it this way . . the only place you're gonna see more granola is Ithaca, NY. This place is CRUNCHY! No worries though, everyone I encountered was very friendly, including this woman in the red, who interviewed me for the local newspaper. I guess I just looked like an easy mark. Ooh, and I can't forget the humanity. Anytime Mandi and I see something that's just grossly misplaced, we cry out "Oh the humanity!" If she was here, I promise you she would have called this one first. I mean seriously . . you really wore that shirt?
There were lots of kids running around the little park playing during the demonstration, and one in particular made me really miss Lily. She was sick this morning when I left, and as of this posting is still not feeling well. I'll bet you can't guess why this kid made me think about her?
I left the raptor demonstration a little bit before it was over in search of food. I found a Subway nearby in a dilapidated strip mall then headed back to my campsite. My plan was to stop in Cape Charles (I assume none of you need a pronunciation key on that one) before dark to get my bearings, as that is where the events will embark from tomorrow morning. As is the case with most of these towns, there's really just one main area where anything could go on, so after cruising the "downtown" of Cape Charles I headed out to the beach. My intention was to scope out gulls and shorebirds, but it quickly turned into a photography session.
I haven't attempted to ID these birds yet. That obviously was not the point of the first photo. I did see another tern fly right past my head, but I couldn't ID it because I was taking a photo at the time. He was much smaller than the gulls, had the long forked tail, and was mostly white. I'll check out the field guide tomorrow morning.
There was a really cute family picnicking and swimming at the beach. I couldn't resist this shot of the little boy playing in the gentle surf of the Chesapeake Bay. Later, his dad had me take a family shot of them with his Canon. I was hopelessly lost with anything other than my Nikon. He set it for me, and I think the shot turned out well. They were a really cute family, and the dad thanked me for my services with a crisp new million-dollar-bill with Ronald Reagan's face on it. Who does he think he is, the FED?
This group of guys was enjoying some afternoon volleyball on the beach. Aside from the family, these guys, and myself, the beach was empty for as far as the eye could see. You ain't in Jersey anymore!
Before heading back to camp I took what seemed like a hundred pictures of the sun setting over the bay. Apparently it was only 14 or so. Regardless, here are my two favorites. I took a series where the sun appeared to "melt" into the water as it set, but I'm going to put a slideshow together with them at a later date. Enjoy these, and check back for an update tomorrow, after Day 1.
Oh, and in case you're wondering . . I'm blogging from inside my tent. Seriously. My tent site is right behind the "Cafe", which offers free wireless internet. I have had no trouble picking up a signal from anywhere at the site, so I come to you tonight from inside the bug-free confines of my tent. Ain't technology grand?