Sunday, February 24, 2013

Trips of Contrast

 Troy and Carmen flew into Orlando from the cold north for a few days vacation taking in Universal Studio's Harry Potter Adventure, Sea World and a trip to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  They followed the Atlantic coast - racking up a nice list of birds and viewing Manatees.  They spent the two nights at Daryl & Vicki's and we drove back to Orlando for one fun day at Disney's Animal Kingdom

We were very impressed with the zoological, botanical and architectural design and development.  Our favorite exhibit was the African Safari aboard the authentic jungle trucks, (seen to the right facing off with the White Rhinoceros).

From the intensionally designed rough roads to drive-through water holes and the Serengeti Plains, we experienced close-up encounters with giraffes, wild cattle, antelopes, big cats, and these young elephants with mom (roaming along the artificial Baobob Trees).

This photo at right is looking into the Asian section seeing the beautiful Mt. Everest in the distance.  We especially enjoyed the African and Asian walk through aviaries, the live bird show with free flying birds with a great environmental message.

In a matter of hours this Douglas Turbine DC3 transported Daryl & Ty into the Caribbean.  However, the sights sounds and smells were altogether from a different world.  This adventure immersed us into the life and culture of Haiti.

Our mission trip goal was to meet with the teachers, pastors, and children of the four schools that New Hope Missions Intl. sponsors.  We delivered a lap-top computer and electric guitars for church ministry.

We picked up 89 boxes of school supplies from the seaport warehouse and began hand sorting items into handbags for each of the 800 children and teachers.

The extreme physical poverty was evident all around us, like the homes on this litter-strewn polluted river.  The river serves as drinking water, laundry, transportation and septic system and fishing grounds.

In contrast, new church construction with strong and growing attendance, and the Christian based school curriculum is a testimony to God's love and grace for these needy people.

This visit has left a lasting impact on me personally.  Ida and I count it a privilege and a blessing to be involved in a small way in this important ministry.  Although I spent little time birding on this trip I managed to identify 37 species, 20 of which were life birds.

Blessing & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Interesting Florida Habitats

As we close out our winter stay in Port St. Lucie, we visited several local wildlife areas.  Near the RV Park we walked daily to the Wood Stork Trail, finding different birds and wildlife every day.  This Great Egret did a close fly-by over the crosswalk.

This Cuban Tree Frog was discovered in a Catclaw Acacia Tree, almost hidden until a few leaves were moved to photograph it.

This Green Heron is a "reflection" of the numerous herons and egrets encountered along the trail's wetland.

A visit to Hutchinson Island resulted in some beautiful shell collecting for us as well as this Willet doing his own collecting in the surf.

Royal Terns rested on the beach after diving for fish in the surf.  We drove the island from Fort Pierce to Jensen Beach.

We took the River Lilly Cruise up the northern branch of the St. Lucie River.  When we were in Maine at Acadia National Park at one of the campgrounds, we met the couple that give this guided nature tour.  Our family and friends joined us - the three kids especially loved all the alligators - 16 in all.

Small world note:  We met this family at the RV Park from Wisconsin, when we told them we had worked and lived at the Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay for 40 years, Jessie asks, "Are you Daryl Baumann's brother?"  She had Daryl for a teacher at the Baptist school in Antigo.  Her husband is working on the pipeline in West Palm Beach.  We were able to get everybody together for some fun and visiting.

The rare find of the day was this 5 foot long Red Rat Snake (to the right) - some of the people in the boat didn't even want to look.

Because it was a sunny day, all the reptiles were basking in the warmth.  Even this Soft-shelled Turtle stayed above the water as the boat drifted by.

We took day trips to the Oxbow Eco-Center, Savannah Preserve, Allopattah Flats and the east side of Lake Okeechobee.  We heard and saw Limpkins in 3 out of 4 of these places.  This one found a nice sized Apple Snail for lunch.

Next blog will include our Disney Animal Kingdom adventure with Troy & Carmen who vacationed in Orlando for Valentine's Week.  Plus Ty's upcoming mission's trip to Haiti with Daryl. Please pray for their safety and good health on this three day trip.

Love & Prayer's
Ty & Ida Baumann