This week has been bookended by pelican sightings, with many peppered in-between. However, this photo is NOT of a pelican, it’s a black skimmer skimming the surface to pick up a meal.
For reasons known only to themselves, flocks of white pelicans descended on Paynes Prairie early last week, and when I crossed the prairie on Friday, even in the pouring rain they were still there. An anomaly, a sign from above? My last white pelican sighting en masse like this was on my 40th birthday, driving along the Tamiami Trail. I stopped at Collier-Seminole State Park and there in the gift shop, a local artist had a card with a photo of white pelicans on it. I bought it and it hangs about my desk still today, as inspiration.
Yesterday I took a trip to Vero Beach to do a little research while taking Mom out for her birthday to a place we hadn’t been since I was as young as niece Amber, who tagged along: McKee Jungle Gardens. It’s now a botanical garden, but at least it’s still there. I took A1A north to head for home and introduce the family to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the very first NWR in the USA. On my last visit, I was disappointed to find the two round-the-impoundment hiking trails open to bikes. Biking and birding doesn’t mix well – I was trying to take a photo of roseate spoonbills when they, and I, were startled by a biker going full-tilt around a a corner. But I’m glad to report that the trails are now footpath only! So I’ll be back. Meanwhile, the family enjoyed a stroll up the Centennial Trail, where indeed, we saw more pelicans – brown AND white.
This week’s new additions to the site were piled out there in a hurry, so you may have missed a few in passing. Enjoy and explore.
Florida Trail, Gold Head Branch State Park
Geneva Wilderness Area, Geneva
Little Manatee River Hiking Trail, south of Tampa
North Loop & Gobbler Ridge Trails, Lake Kissimmee State Park
Buster Island Loop, Lake Kissimmee State Park
SOUTH FLORIDA (okay, kinda South-Central…)
Centennial Trail, Pelican Island NWR
Fort Drum Marsh, east of Yeehaw Junction