|My general route home from Sarasota, FL to Portland, OR.|
|A Bottlenose Dolphin was spotted from Venice Pier in Sarasota, Florida. Often times dolphins will patrol a pier in search for free handouts, which puts them in danger of entanglements and other concerns.|
On the way there, I got to see amazing sights; new birds, old family friends, a recently moved friend and lots of nothing (I drove though Texas). I was amazed by the lack of vegan options in some places (even hummus) and was surprised by others. I surprised myself with the ability to drive all day and not feel considerable fatigue or loneliness.
|I found this kitty (who I creatively named Moo) when on the road to Sarasota, just a few hours away. He had obviously been abandoned and through the power of networks, I was able to find someone to care for him by the time I reached my destination. He was super friendly and I am sure found a loving and happy home.|
The internship itself also surprised me for so many reasons! The living situation was tight (I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with 5 others, 3 of which I had to share a room with). Fortunately everyone was really nice and we spent a lot of time talking about biology and comedy. All my intern buddies were great! And the fact that I was over 10 years older than all of them was never really an issue (unless I let it get to me- which I admittedly did at times).
|I was fortunate enough to watch this Loggerhead Sea Turtle be released from rehab from Mote Marine Lab and swim to her freedom. She was huge and magnificent and it was a powerful moment.|
|This is a Wood Stork. I had never heard on one before and was pleasantly surprised to meet many in Florida!|
I got to be introduced to dolphins in the wild, along with the fish, rays and sharks that also share the water. I learned new scientific study techniques and so much knowledge! I got to spend a lot of time on boats on the beautiful Florida water and even got to drive one around a little bit.
|This was my first sight of the Atlantic Ocean and beach. I was surprised by how orange and flat the beaches were. I originally escaped for a weekend in hopes to see an endangered Northern Right Whale, but no luck.|
|The sunsets in Florida were always different and amazing. I could actually watch the sun set from my apartment, but this one if from Venice Beach a little south of where I was staying.|
It was tough to leave Florida, but as I made my way across the states back towards home, I felt a freedom I had not known before. I got to spend my time doing what I wanted (when I wasn't driving) and stop for wildlife and snap photographs and really take in the world around me. It was so great! I saw bird species I always wanted to see, some I didn't even know existed, and in places I never thought I'd be in. Who knew Texas would be one of the most diverse areas to find bird (and baby alligators too)!
|Baby alligators! There were so many of them in one area found in Anahauc Wildlife Refuge (TX) along with many adult alligators seen along their 2.5 mile driving wildlife viewing loop. Many more seen than in Florida!|
|Black-necked Stilts foraged in the water in Sabine Woods, a great birding area.|
|Avocets along a gulf coast beach a little east of Galveston, TX. I was so excited to see them!|
I also got to see friends I hadn't seen in forever, family I hadn't visited since I was a kid, played laser with 10 one-year old kittens, saw more wild dolphins outside the internship, survived long roads and strange people, got through tornado weather and wind storms, met new people, got to see prairie dogs, a weasel and an armadillo, and so much more!
|A Green Anole tells me to leave him alone by puffing out his pink throat pouch. So cool!|
|A wind storm shut down part of I-40 in Arizona causing a few hour detour. It did allow me to find the Montezuma Castle National Monument and see what a forest in Arizona looks like.|
|The Big Sur coastline on the Pacific Ocean. I was so excited when I first reached the Pacific that I started to cry. I knew I was home. I loved Florida, but I really missed the big whales and the diverse topography.|
|I stopped in Point Reyes to meet up with a good friend and camp and go birding. We also fit in kayaking in Tomales Bay where we watched rays and sharks in the water. Watching them swim around was amazing!|