We spent a week at Key Largo enjoying the beautiful sunrises over the mangrove islands. We also had another beautiful full moon in the clear, warm skies.
We had quite a few of the Curly-tailed Lizards around the Key Largo Kampground.
|Short-tailed Hawk - dark morph|
On Ty's birthday, we drove south on the one road through the keys to our destination at Key West. We stopped at Big Pine Key and the National Wildlife Refuge for the endangered Key Deer. We found a doe and yearling along the road in exactly the same place we found them 5 years ago. It's amazing that they survived Hurricane Irma as well as they did when we see the damage that was done in this area.
We arrived at Boyd's Campground and the next morning had this beautiful sunrise. We walked a mile to the Tropical Botanical Gardens that display the many Cuban Palms such as this Petticoat Palm. There were many plants and birds to enjoy along their boardwalk.
|Brown Pelican takes off|
We took the Key West transit bus to Zachary Taylor State Park, of course the bus didn't stop at the park so we had a long walk too. The beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean enhanced our birding experience.
Of course there is a historical fort to explore, this was built during the Civil War and also used in World Wars I & II.
|10" Rodman Cannon|
|Timing is everything - a Northern Gannet does a fly-by|
|Female Magnificent Frigatebird|
When we left the park, we stopped at the Eco-Discovery Center with displays, movies, and aquariums that covered the surrounding environment of Key West. When talking to a volunteer about how to get to a bus stop to return to Stock Island, this wonderful lady offered us a ride back as she was finishing her time of duty. We thankfully accepted, not wanting another long bus trip.
|There were at least 65 Iguanas sunning in the Mangroves by our campground|
On March 13th, we boarded the Yankee Freedom National Park Boat for a trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park and a few hours of exploring at Fort Jefferson.
|Everyone was thankful to see the Fort as we had a very rough ride with 5 to 7 foot waves in the Rebecca Channel|
(many sick passengers, thankfully not us)
|Royal Tern and Laughing Gulls|
|Inside the huge Fort Jefferson|
|From the top of the fort looking toward Bush Key where thousands of sea birds nest|
|Brown Noddies, Sooty Terns and Magnificent Frigatebirds|
|Brown Noddies argue over perch|
|Sooty Tern checking out nesting sites|
|Male Magnificent Frigatebird|
|Magnificent Frigatebird picking up nesting material|
|We asked the Captain to go by Hospital Key on the way back for a closer look at the Masked Boobies that nest here.|
There is one Brown Booby in the middle of this flock, you will need your binoculars to find it.
Love & Prayers, Ty & Ida