We said our goodbyes and I hopped in the JEEP for the ride north.
- I could just shoot home on the turnpike, arriving at PFHQ in about 4 hours.
- I could cruise west toward Lake Okeechobee and poke around some, maybe catch a photo of a snail kite ... certainly some gator photos.
- I could cruise north to visit Mom and Dad using old US-1 or A1A, stopping at any parks or wildlife areas along the way, while enjoying some of the older Florida coastal towns.
One nice thing about my chosen route was the fact that US-1 follows the western shore of the Indian River Lagoon from Fort Pierce almost to Daytona, before heading inland a little. The scene above is looking east to the barrier island and beyond it, the Atlantic.
I snapped a few "look how close the highway comes to the river" shots through my bug splattered windshield.
The road led to an elevated dike that snaked out into the Indian River with shallow impoundments on one side and the river on the other. It was late in the day by the time I was this far North, and lots of waders were feeding or preening in the shallow impoundment side.
The egrets pale in comparison ... but they are white after all ... so the pale thing comes naturally.
On the impoundment side, a linear canal held rolling slurping tarpon and many, many schools of small mullet and killifish. On the river side, a pod of dolphins were working schools of mullet and I was able to get this one shot of a dolphin.
Blacknecked Stilts were feeding in the calm, shallow impoundment waters too. Very chatty birds, these stilts.
The spoonbills were specatacular and if I had only been able to see them, it would have been a worthwhile detour from the track home. I spent a good hour and a half exploring this narrow trail through the marsh. The critters sighted list would go something like this:
- roseate spoonbills
- common egret
- snowy egret
- white ibis
- glossy ibis
- tricolor heron
- great blue heron
- tarpon ... lots of young 3 footers rolling in the canal waters
- black vulture
The marsh grasses were so lush they fairly glowed in the afternoon light. It looks like this marsh and adjoining palmy forest burned recently. Whether on purpose, or accidental ... I don't know since I'm not local in these parts. Obviously the marsh grasses appreciated the ash nutrients.