On our last day on Jekyll Island we visited the banding station (JIBS) on the south side of the island where warblers were migrating south and getting caught in the mist nets. Hundreds of birds had been banded here in the last month.
|Isopods at Jekyll Island ( over 1 inch long)|
|Tree Swallows migrating|
We then drove to the Okefenokee Swamp NWR where pine forests are being managed for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. We found three of these elusive birds along with Brown-headed Nuthatches and Bachman's Sparrows. We stayed near Callahan Florida for the night then drove to the coast.
|Fishing Spider - Okefenokee|
|Carolina Wren - North Beach|
We found a nice RV Park at North Beach near St. Augustine. Walking the beautiful white sand beaches scattered with Willets, Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones.
|Armadillo at North Beach RV Park|
|Ruddy Turnstone (winter plumage)|
|Bold Jumping Spider|
We then spent a couple days at Anastasia State Park. The large sand dune peninsula is sanctuary to Wilson's Plovers, Am Oystercatchers, Red Knots, Piping Plovers and other shorebirds and waders.
In between the dunes and the barrier island is a salt water marsh with Clapper Rails and Seaside Sparrows.
We drove south to the "Space Coast" and the Canaveral National Seashore walking some of trails and driving the northern beach area. Lots of Osprey fishing, Roseate Spoonbill and Egrets, with both species of Pelicans flying over the inlet. We stopped for this large gopher tortoise slowly crossing the road.
|Large Baby Manatee|
|Florida Scrub Jay|
We drove to the Merritt Island NWR and found at least 20 Manatees at Haul Over Canal viewing area including this baby. We found four Florida Scrub Jays near the entrance to the National Seashore's south end.
We stayed near Titusville for a couple days and enjoyed the pool in these summer-like days.
|Great Egret ballet|
Spent one more day on the coast at Melbourne Beach where we watched a Northern Gannet migrate by at a distance. Lots of Osprey and Brown Pelicans catching fish in the breaking waves. Doing much better than the people trying to do the same.
Shorebirds, gulls, and terns plus many Ghost Crabs were finding food with the incoming tide.
|Limpkin with Apple Snail|
We headed west to Central Florida looking for more of the bird specialties. We saw Crested Caracaras in the open prairies. We stopped at Kaliga Park in St. Cloud and felt blessed to see several Snail Kites and Limpkins both feeding on large Apple Snails. We then drove to the larger Lake Tohopikaliga in Kissimmee where there were more Kites, Limpkins, Wood Storks and Roseate Spoonbills.
We drove to the Merry D RV Park to spend the weekend. We walked the boardwalk of nearby Environmental Center at Reedy Creek Swamp where our best find was a mother alligator watching over her 11 tiny babies. They were less than a foot long, colorfully striped and crying out when losing sight of mom.
We are now heading to Southern Florida for the next 3 and a half weeks until we settle into Port St. Lucie for two months.
Best regards to all.
Love & Prayers, Ida & Ty