Saturday, November 24, 2012

Florida Atlantic Coast

Crossing into Florida we drove around the Jacksonville area and settled into Bryn Mawr RV Park at Crescent Beach south of St. Augustine.  We walked the extensive beaches and birded to the jetty where we found these Ruddy Turnstones.  There were many Willets and Sanderlings, lots of Brown Pelicans, Black Scoters and Greater Scaup on the move.  We then spent a couple days at Anastasia Island State Park - more beach walking where we found Wilson's Plovers resting in the sand.  We saw more Gopher Tortoises in the dunes - see picture in Georgia Blog.

 At Ponce de Leon Inlet south of Daytona Beach, we walked to the fishing jetty where Snowy Egrets were waiting for handouts from those catching bait in nets.  This one posed for everyone to take pictures.  Also saw a Piping Plover and Reddish Egrets on the inlet.

Canaveral National Seashore was our next destination covering the northern shores then south toward Titusville.  At our picnic lunch stop, we noticed the front tire was flat - after changing it we drove to Tires Plus to get it fixed - broken stem, no charge!

We spent 9 days at "The Great Outdoors RV, Nature and Golf Resort".  The place was huge, and had great nature trails and a small Nature Center.  Lots of birds and butterflies like this Zebra Longwing Butterfly were found along the trails.  We attended the in-park church along with about 400 others, most arrived in their golf carts, but as non golfers  we walked the 1 1/2 miles from our site.
 We made two more trips back to Merritt Island National Wildlife Area - the vast wetlands with it's rich wildlife.  We slowly drove the Black Point auto tour where we pulled up behind an Audubon field trip and pointed out to them a beautiful drake Eurasian Wigeon amid 11 species of ducks.  We also added Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills and many alligators, plus Florida Scrub Jays - trip bird #602

Our friends Denny & Sue Dunlop arrived to their winter home across from us and we enjoyed 3 days of visiting and eating out until we left for Melbourne Beach.

There we found more Green Bay friends, Tom & Darlene Swille.  We joined them for church at their large worship center, and went later to Turkey Creek Sanctuary and Nature Center for a beautiful day of exploring.  We enjoyed walking the unusually narrow beach, thanks to Hurricane Sandy that scoured tons of sand from the beach and dunes.  We did have lots of Sanderlings running in the waves as these pictured.  With the north winds and high surf we counted over 800 Northern Gannets flying south and feeding.  We wondered if any of these birds were the ones we saw on the nesting cliffs in Newfoundland.

At the Melbourne Beach RV park we found our first Royal Palms with fruit turning red.  Also saw trip bird #603 flying over the park - a Magnificent Frigatebird.  We are now heading to Lake Okeechobee for a few days and then to Port St. Lucie.

Our best to everyone.
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida

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