Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Black Vultures, FL - 02/05/14


Wednesday – February 5, 2014
Black Vultures
Pioneer Park Campground
Zolfo, Florida

We have extended our stay here through Friday, February 7th and plan to depart on Saturday.

On Monday, the park employees started laying out the Flea Market sites, in the large open field to the west of our campsite, in preparation for Pioneer Days. Volunteers, who will assist the park employees during this event, have started to move their RV’s to campsites located on the west side of the pond. Pioneer Days starts on February 26th and runs through March 2nd. Park employees tell us, that starting next week, activity will increase in preparing the parks grounds for Pioneer Days. Starting next week, RV’s parked in the open areas on the East side of the park (where we are located) will have to leave the park or relocate to campsites by the Peace River or on the West side of the park by the pond.

Pioneer Park is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of Black Vultures. They migrate from the northern states to southern Florida for the winter. Every morning, (around 8:00 a.m.) the vultures, roosting on tree branches, extend their wings, absorbing the warmth beaming down from the morning Sun. At about 9:00 a.m., as if on cue, the vultures begin to take flight, flapping their wings vigorously until they get a little altitude beneath them, then they begin to soar in a counter-clockwise rotation, riding the thermals ever higher until they disappear from sight. In late afternoon, (around 4:30 p.m.) the vultures return to roost for the night on the branches of the trees adjacent to the Peace River. It is quite a spectacle to see a mass of black specks filling the sky in the distance as they circle in rotation, getting ever closer to the ground and their roosting sites. The early arrivals select the highest branches on the trees. Later arrivals are forced to select the lower branches. Some of them attempt to dislodge their neighbors roosting on the higher branches. A frenzy of flapping wings occurs as this frenetic activity takes place. Finally, when darkness arrives, the vultures seem to settle in for the night. We are favored with this magnificent birding event on a daily basis.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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