Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lake Okeechobee & Loxahatchee

Our next Florida stop was Lake Okeechobee, the largest fresh water lake and well known for it's spectacular birdwatching.  We used portions of this 140 mile long dike as an elevated vantage point to view large concentrations of wading birds including egrets, herons, ibis, spoonbills and a variety of waterfowl.  Each night at sunset hundreds of birds flew in from all directions to their night roost.  We stayed several nights at the brand new county RV park at South Bay.
 Large plumbs of smoke rising thousands of feet in the air signals the burning and harvest of sugar cane.  The ash fall out drifted for miles raining down on and all around us.  This area yielded two new target birds for our journey - the Purple Gallinule and the larger chicken-like Purple Swamphen (a life bird for us, but not an ABA countable bird as they were introduced to Florida).
All the buildings at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge were completely destroyed a few years ago by a hurricane.  The new Nature Center is very nice with state-of-the-art exhibits.  We walked the trails and found another trip bird - the Limpkin.  This one posed for us high in the tree.
 We camped a few days at Jonathan Dickenson State Park - many acres of Florida scrub which we walked each day.  It took a while but we found the Florida Scrub Jays and this one was very cooperative for a photo.  In this area we also visited the Hobe Sound and Nature Center, walking the dune trails to the Indian River.
We took a guided river boat tour up the Loxahatchee River from the State Park, passing large alligators and egrets.  Arriving at Trapper Nelson's Historical site, a ranger gave a guided tour and narrated the life and legend of this industrious swamp denizen.
We are now at Port St. Lucie RV Park for the next three months.  Located four miles from Ty's brother Daryl and his wife Vicki.  They are with New Hope Missions to Haiti.

Frequent rainbows are a constant reminder of God's provision.  As we approach Christmas we can receive another of God's promises.  The provision of eternal life through God's Son Jesus.

Merry Christmas!
Ty & Ida