Birds of a Feather

Wednesday, May 05, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

EAST COAST ROAD TRIP, CHAPTER 5:  
IN WHICH WE PULLEY OURSELVES TOGETHER
  
Day 4:  Chesapeake, VA.  Although we weren't particularly seeking them, birds seemed to flock our way today. We started the day at Dismal Swamp Park looking for another letterbox by "X Marks the Spot", the clever planter whose box we raved about yesterday.  It hardly seems possible, but this letterbox was just as ingenious as the one we found yesterday.
  
The clue led us to a wooded area and a spot on the ground where we were to move the pieces of bark and leaves piled up. Underneath the pile was a wooden knob with a wire string attached to one end and a bungee cord attached to the other. When the bungee was released, the knob moved toward the pole where the birdhouse was mounted and the bottom of the birdhouse lowered to the ground to reveal the letterbox. Brilliant!
  
Our next bird encouter occurred when we went to search for a couple of boxes at Great Locks Park on the intracoastal waterway. Having seen many osprey nests along the Gulf coast, Ken immediately spotted something familiar at the top of a retired crane.

The osprey nest is a large heap of sticks, driftwood and seaweed built in forks of trees, rocky outcrops, utility poles, artificial platforms, or wherever they can find a suitable spot. Generally, sspreys reach maturity and begin breeding around the age of three to four years. But if there is a shortage of tall nesting sites available, young ospreys may be forced to delay breeding. Before we moved on to look for the boxes, we were treated to a demonstration of osprey fishing techniques by the male. 
  
Birds making their homes where they will
Traveling on a six lane divided street on our way back to the hotel in the midst of rush hour, we spied a pair of Canada geese with two goslings in the median. Clearly they intended to continue their trek across the street.  We stopped, of course, as did other drivers, and, unlike most opossums, they made it safely to the other side. 

Since we arrived in Virginia yesterday, we have noticed an unusually large number of personalized license plates-- vanity plates, as they have traditionally been called: FLOOD ZN, CHOC TOO, DRK & SXY, POOPCE, ACC REF, GUNR MAC, to name a few. A little research suggested why there seem to be so many more of these in Virginia than we typically see. The added cost for personalized plates in Virginia is only $10. In comparison, Tennessee charges $35, North Carolina $30, and Delaware $40.

Our favorite plate today had to be one we saw on a convertible: RANESUX.  It certainly must when you're driving a convertible and want to put the top down. While we were taking this picture, the owner returned to his car and was delighted that we liked it enough to photograph it.

Tomorrow we'll depart Chesapeake and head across the bay bridge to Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Weather today: hot, humid 83 ° (felt like 93°)
Letterboxes found today: 6

WEDNESDAY, 5 MAY 2010