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21 March 2007

More from St. Marks

Well, I don't know how the last 9 days flew by so quickly! After a 14-hour day trip to the other side of Brooksville, I was wiped out for 2 of those days. The rest was pretty much a blur. I haven't even given the pictures much more than a cursory glance. I'll get to them soonly, I promise. 8-]

Meanwhile, I hit St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge again this afternoon. I didn't spend as much time there as I would have liked, but thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The first half of the 11 miles to the end of the world yielded the usual gators, grebes, grackles, etc. And this turtle - Yellow-bellied slider? - trying to make it across the road in one piece.

I stopped so some hurrified boaters had to go around. Once he decided I wasn't going to eat him, he made some pretty quick (for a turtle) tracks for the other side.

Check out those nails! They tell us it's a male.

I had planned on walking the trail by Picnic Pond, but the sand gnats were eating me alive. Must remember to order more Burt's Bees.

A bit further down the road, there were two young eagles in a huge nest. Down at Lighthouse Pool, I was tickled to find several Black-necked Stilts. I just love those little guys! One of these days. I'll catch one close enough for a really decent pic.

Here he is playing follow the leader with a Blue-winged Teal.

On the way back, I stopped again to watch the eagles. Mama (or Papa?) was in a neighbouring tree. The younguns were stretching their wings now, getting ready for their first flight.

I did brave the short hike to the dam. My camera batteries were getting low - and I'd left the fresh ones at home >8\ - so I didn't get pics of the big ol' gator watching me from the other bank. In the distance, I spotted a flock of cormorants flying back and forth and a Northern Harrier hunting over the marsh.

OH! I almost forgot to mention the highlight from last week's visit. We spotted the partial albino grackle. She wasn't very cooperative, continually hiding in the bushes, but I suppose that's why she's lasted this long. Actually, I'm just about convinced this is not the same one we first saw several years ago. But she is a beauty, isn't she?


Hurricane Teen said...

Nice pictures!!! Good job helping save that turtle, too.

Now for something completely off-topic: What ever became of that cypress lake you found with all the trash around it? Have you been there since your post about it? It was very nice. That just popped into my head as I was picking up some trash in my favorite swamp.

SophieMae said...

Thanks, HurTeen! I've been back to that lake a few times. Once it started to rain, so I didn't get out. Last time, I watched a buzzard skulking around till the wind shifted. It was pretty awful, so I left him to his supper. I found another one really close to that one, but that was the rainy day and it's a long walk to get to that one. I'll keep trying. 8-]

Cathy S. said...

Cool birds. I need to get a book and start paying better attention to what is around me. Thanks for sharing yours.

Floridacracker said...

That grackle is amazing.