The team had spent many hours planning and mapping out their route from Athens to the coast and studying reports on where certain birds were likely to be. Just after the calendar turned to April 25, they piled into a four-door Toyota Camry Hybrid to begin their quest. The gas-saving hybrid, Simmons noted, meant they didn’t have to waste time to refuel. They obeyed speed limits and other traffic rules: Getting stopped for speeding would have wrecked their schedule.
During the pre-dawn hours, they looked for owls and other night birds in the Athens area. At dawn, they were at the State Botanical Garden, where they tallied 75 species, including a surprise — an uncommon Lincoln’s sparrow. Near Savannah, they ventured into a pine forest on Fort Stewart Army base and heard endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers. Coastal areas yielded several species of shorebirds and wading birds.
By day’s end, the team was exhausted but ecstatic over breaking the record. “I’ve been dreaming (of this) for a long time,” Simmons said.
IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon will be new on Tuesday. Mercury and Venus are low in the west at dusk. Venus will appear near the moon on Wednesday night; Mercury will do so on Thursday night. Mars is low in the southwest at dark and sets in the west a few hours later. Jupiter and Saturn rise in the east around midnight.
Charles Seabrook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.