I think it was best that Ashbell lit the firepit, because, having never done it before, I was the last person qualified to be wielding the grill torch. Oh I have lit my share of firepits before, but those were home firepits, tindered with old credit card statements and spam offers. THIS was the much larger, gas-powered firebeast of Residence Inn Amelia Island, with metal pipes circling the rocks and a large protective screen that promised safe viewing of the dancing flames. I’m sure the couple enjoying their chili appreciated Ashbell’s pyro prowess (I know I did). When the fire was lit, I was just standing there enjoying these guests’ company. Shortly, the lady drew my attention to a faroff tree: “Isn’t that an osprey? We were just thinking that it must be an osprey.” My eyes found the majestic bird, and after studying it, I determined that it must be an egret. A few swipes on my trusty smartphone, however, proved her right, and we marveled at how the theme of my experience thus far with the Residence Inn has been that you learn something new every day – and clearly today was no different!
I came back to the office and pondered the egret and the osprey. A bit of research revealed that fish and seafood dominate the diet of each bird – however, besides their physical features, one additional difference between them was their presence in North America. The egrets seem to be ubiquitous across the United States, but the ospreys tend to breed in the north and migrate south for the winter. After learning these base facts, I had to admit that the birds weren’t all that different from the locals and visitors to our Amelia Island hotel!
A lot of our guests inquire about great local seafood. A vast majority of our guests are from all OVER the United States. Many fly in. People are drawn to this area for the coastline and the nature tourism – I mean, have you BEEN to Cumberland Island, Fort Clinch State Park, and down around Amelia Island Plantation?! Some of our guests even breed in the north and head south for the winter! And of course, ALL of them are majestic and beautiful to behold (please send all checks to Casey Johnson, c/o Residence Inn Amelia Island). Not to mention, most of them, like this woman who bested me in aviary recognition, are smarter than I am!

So this question goes out to any and all who reads this post (don’t everybody answer at once, now!): who do YOU identify with? Osprey or Egret? Leave a comment below with your answer and the author with the most creative response will receive a handshake and a song performed by yours truly ;)
Happy flying, Residence Inn Amelia guests of all species!
(you may click the picture below for a larger view of the ROARING FIREBEAST!)