A Rest Stop Surprise

We spent a nice day cruising up the Natchez Trace Parkway after spending the night at Natchez State Park. You drive the Trace at 50 mph which in itself is calming and the lack of trucks (or traffic) with everything green, flowering trees, windows down, 80 degree temperatures made it a lovely morning cruise. There are many pulloffs fro natural and historic sites, like this one.

The dogwood trees were more and more prevalent as we moved north on the Trace. There were pink blossoms like a wild plum and periodic swaths of bright yellow canola fields. (Here is one that I did not photograph but which we passed in Alabama.)

Mary posed beneath a flowering dogwood along the Trace.

We stopped for a lunch break at a picnic site along the creek and as we pulled in, I saw a VW camper with NY plates and asked Mary if we knew them. As we stopped, a guy came over and said, "Richard Mansfield, fancy meeting you here." I blanked on his name at first but it turned out to be some Oregon friends we met at Goose Island with their two English friends. I had thought they were headed to Florida but it turns out they are meandering. It was a great coincidence when you figure all the stopping places along the 200 mile segment we were on. Richard and Kris got to meet Mary and their dog Bella and our Penny continued the fued they started in Texas. It turned out that the Englsh folks loved the Vermont honey I had given the Oregonians.

As Mary prepared a sandwich, I took the dog for a stroll. There were warblers moving through the foliage and I saw a Black & White and a couple of Yellow-rumps but kept hearing this call I didn’t recognize. I looked and looked as we moved through the brush when I spotted it, a handsome male Prothonotary Warbler – life bird #426. He has a female with him and I watched them foraging, wondering why I lrft the camera in the truck. (I went back to get it, returned and heard him again and got these documentation photos.)

It was a wonderful stop: seeing our friends and getting a bird I missed in Texas. The rest of the trip up to Tupelo was fun – I couldn’t stop thinking of the surprise of having such a yellow gem pop into my binoculars. Likely the last life bird of this trip – and a great one.

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