Happy Veteran's Day everybody! So I managed to steal away for the day and finally go see the Green-breasted Mango in Dublin, Georgia. It was MEGA! The day began at 3:30am when my alarm clock sparked into life, well actually, the day began at 1200am but I was alseep so I missed it. 206 miles lay between me and the mango, coffee was brewed, snacks were horded and 100lbs of camera equipment was thrown into the truck. I set off at a furious rate and made it to Georgia in no time at all, which isn't that great an achievement since the State line is only a few miles north of Tallahassee! I felt pretty good in Florida but something didn't feel right once I crossed into the Peach State. I couldn't put my finger on it until I was a few miles north of Thomasville. It was severe paranoia! Yep it built up into a mother Tsunami and hit me like a sack of doo. I slowed right down watching every side road carefully, looking behind trees, a Red Fox looked suspicious as it ran in front of me. I was paranoid for a good reason. Georgia Fuzz! Bizzies, Filth, Cops, Bobbies, Rozzers, Puhleece, Evening Sir is this your car? Yep Georgia is full of Cops and they lie in wait (like a crafty ole Gator) waiting to pounce on out of state speeders. They got me once, in Richland! Yeah there is a place in Georgia called Richland but it ain't rich looking and they only have one traffic light. Despite the fact that two cars were overtaking me I got pulled for speeding in that hole and ever since I have been acutely paranoid whenever driving in Georgia. Aw whats the big deal? I'll tell yer the big deal shall I?Georgia ain't the sort of place you wanna be stopped for speeding, especially at 4am. My accent, sharp looks and attire as well as a cab full of high tech spy equipment could easily be miscontrued by your average Georgia Cop...and I do mean average!
Now what in tha' heeelll are yuh doin' speedin' in mah town BOY?I'm terribly sorry Officer, I didn't realize how fast I was going.What kinda accent yuh got there BOY? Where yuh from?I'm from England.Well yer speak perty good english fer a ferner. It is mah God's honest duty to inform yuh that I have caught yuh speedin' in the fine state of Geogah an' Im a takin' yuh inta custody where yuh will be beaten within an inch of yo life. D'ya hear me BOY?Yep the Paranoia was extremely acute and the caffeine and lays chips weren't helping! Well you may laugh but my paranoia was for good reason as upon my approach to the small town of Tifton a Cop was goin' about his work. As I drove by, very slowly, I could see the innocent speeder gripping his steering wheel in sheer terror. His car sported Florida plates as well, which only added fuel to the already raging inferno! It struck me odd that the Cop was wearing sunglasses at 5am, especially as most rural cops have the mirrors on the inside! It just makes them look that bit more sinister. I began to wonder whether this bird was really worth it but I was already deep into Georgia...there was no turning back.Three hours of nail biting terror were endured, I counted no less than 14 Cop Cars, 7 of which had apprehended speedsters BUT I finally arrived at my destination. The home of Mrs Rhodes in Dublin. This sweet old lady had put out chairs for visiting birders to rest their weary butts on and watch for the mango. This reassurred me that the majority of people in Georgia are really great...the Cops suck! Well there wasn't much anticipation as the little bugger came in 5 minutes after I sat down. What a cracking little bird. Beautiful. Over the next 45 minutes he came to the feeder on 4 occasions and I managed a couple of grainy shots due to the light conditions.
Green-breasted Mango
In between visits I couldn't help pondering on the name and color of the bird in relation to the town it was visiting. Green, Orange, Dublin! I decided to call him Padraig after this years Open Champion, Padraig Harrington! He approached the feeder with a kind of unsteady hover much like the champion golfers approach shots! What a cracker! I think I already said that didn't I? Well what the hell he IS a cracker to be sure.At 10am a nice old lady arrived, her name was Nan. We sat and chatted enjoying close views of Dark-eyed Juncos and a Red-tailed Hawk eating a Squidgy whilst waiting for Padraig to revisit the feeder. Two hours passed by and he hadn't returned although I heard him somewhere off to the right. Padraig has been visiting several yards. This is quite cute actually...When the neighbours found out about this rare tropical stray they all went out and bought shiny new hummingbird feeders! I would've done the same...try and get him on the yard list. This has given Padraig plenty of choice in places to feed, probably why he is seen sporadically. Mrs Rhodes carport though still remains the best place to view him especially before 9am. Hopefully the missus will feel up to twitching Padraig next weekend. I hope this next cold front doesn't throw him a cropper.So I headed back home to Tallahassee with a big smile on my Chevy Chase. All thoughts of dodgy rural Sheriffs were cast aside, I put on the stereo...ah excellent The Rolling Stones..Jumpin' Jack Flash. .... Flashing lights! A monster Tsunami engulfed my brain, banjoes played in the background. Luckily though he was chasing a car going the opposite direction. Phew! By the time I got home I had lost count of the number of Flashing lights. There's a few lighter wallets in the deep south tonihgt thats fer sure.Just north of Albany I noticed a small flock of sandy colored birds flying over a ploughed field by the road. I stopped and was not surprised to find that they were Horned Larks, 9 of 'em. Splendid. Unfortunately they were 50 miles too far north. Jackson County will be checked asap as I am sure this species is much more common in Florida than we think.So there you have it. Species #446 for the ole ABA list has been accounted for. I have actually managed to partake in two twitches this year! I am already yearning for the next one.