We were tired when we pulled into the campground. Our reserved campsite was bordered by a few slash pines with a swampy area at the far end. The site was a little homely. Not the greatest place to spend a few days, we thought. We set up the tent in silence, swatting at insects before we plopped down at the picnic table for a snack. As we nibbled, the site was magically transformed before our eyes. We were in an aviary with so many different birds that lived here and now were at ease, welcoming us to their home. We counted over 20 species.
We were intent on seeing birds on this trip and had been going out of our way to find them, following many Florida Birding Trail signs. Now here we were at this campsite with front row seats! We laughed as we hustled to grab the camera and binoculars. The bird guidebooks soon followed. We checked off 20 bird
We had read that St George State Park, where we were camping, was one of the best for night sky viewing in the US. We eagerly anticipated nightfall only to have clouds interfering with our view. What bad luck! We went to bed early, the cold and the bugs driving us to seek shelter. At 5am Beth woke up and crawled out of the tent to make a trek to the bathroom. She negotiated the very still and dark campground with her little Petzl light. On the way back she turned off her Petzl as she approached the tent and something happened: the whole night sky, salted with stars and planets, magically lit up. The clouds had disappeared in the night. What a glorious sight!
Sometimes places are more than they seem and watchful waiting will bring an unexpected gift.