I encourage all birders, skeptics and true believers, to visit the Choctawhatchee River. You can find recommended sites on the Auburn IBWO website. There is a lot of good information on the website on some guidelines that we respectfully ask birders to follow such as refraining from the use of playback or tapes. In addition there is some good information on their concerning your safety.
When the Choc is running high it has a powerful current even deep in the swamps and it is very easy to get disoriented in a flooded forest. Most of all I think it is worth a visit simply because the forests there are so beautiful. In certain areas especially in the Dead River & Tilley landing vicinity the forests are as inspiring as the great forests of the Pacific Northwest.
A great time to visit is in April as the forest lights up in an almost neon green. The numerous Prothonotary Warblers will be blasting their songs and Swallow-tailed Kites will be swooping over the ancient cypress. I think it is important to remember that no matter how amazing Ivory-bills are, they are just one part of this fascinating eco-system. There is so much life in these primeval forests and I think it is an eco-system that few birders get to experience or even know exists. These forests can be found throughout the South from the Carolinas to Texas. So bust out your paddles or waders this spring or just stop by and take a look.
Have a great fall migration everyone.
OK, we still cannot understand why no one can get a picture of an IBWO if they still exist. That bothers us big-time. But it's clear that the Auburn group is not a bunch of flakes or weirdos or zealots who are obsessed by conspiracy theories and bird-whisperers. They're legit birders who have taken careful notes and have put their evidence out there for all of us to analyze and criticize. They have done what so many people have asked Cornell to do. They clearly learned from some of the mistakes that Cornell made, and their openness and honesty is refreshing. Geoff Hill even seems to have a decent sense of humor about the whole situation.
Will that amount to a Hill of beans in 2-3 years if no photos are obtained in the meantime? Who knows. It is doubtful that this new evidence will change the minds of any hard-core skeptics. But there are a few people that have changed their position already, and there is still hope...and that hope can still be fully realized as long as somewhere out there there might, just might, be an IBWO that is waiting to be photographed for the cover of a magazine...