Friday, November 7, 2008

random final Virginia Beach thoughts and pics

Here's Hazelnut at the Virginia Zoo with what I assume is a black swan. Unlike most of the zoo's denizens, this one did not qualify as "big and strong."

Cormorants in front of the sunrise:

This photo is dedicated to the stalwart souls/freakshows at Whitefish who keep track of the puny little freighters that pass through the straights. This, I believe, is the USS Eisenhower (based on the 69 on the bridge), a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Another 20% or so of the ship's stern extends out of the photo. I tried to get flight pics of the F/A-18's that were flying around (as well as some F-16's - though I didn't think F-16's were based on carriers), but the flat gray coloration just makes them disappear immediately into the blue sky if you take your eyes off them for a second to try to line up the scope. I'm told the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area has the greatest concentration of naval bases anywhere, or something like that. Some days there was a constant din of fighter jets on exercises (mostly the crappy weather/misty/foggy days). Apparently a lot of the beaches around here are owned by the military without public access or significant development.

Finally a view of a habitat you don't often see in Berrien, a cyprus swamp from First Landings State Park. It inspired me to bang out some double-knocks on the boardwalk. A bird quickly flew by and I heard a loud "kent" call. While I did see a blue jay about, I took the experience as undeniable proof of the continued existence of ivory-billeds. Oh and the cormorant sunrise photo obviously has first state record red-faced, pelagic, and Brandt's cormorants in with the flock.

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