I have been on the road alot this past week or so ... how do you travelers stay slim?
Road food is way too fatty, carby, megaportiony.
Let's see, since Monday a week ago, I've been in Fort Pierce for 5 days, then to St. Aug for an overnighter pond workday, then home to PFHQ, then back to St. Aug for a pond workday, and now, finally home again to PFHQ.
I know that's nothing for you jetsetters, but I have roots.
When I was in Fort Pierce, I used every afternoon to find some kind of wild place ... the natural kind that is.
My best find was Savannas State Preserve. I only visited one small access point on this long park, so there's much to return to see, but I had a great late afternoon visit there.
I had the entire park area to myself as I cruised down a bumpy (most roads are bumpy in the JEEP) dirt road to an overlook over a drying freshwater pond.
The shallow, shrinking waters were concentrating the small fish and putting them in range of wading birds like egrets, woodstorks, ibis, and herons.
Even terns were dipping into the action ... the ocean is only about a mile away.
This pond, had shrunk far from it's shores and the water seemed shallow and wadeable everywhere judging from the presence of egrets and their kin in all it's regions. The boardwalk seemed limiting and the sandy shore of the shrunken pond beckoned, so I took a stroll along the water's edge, hoping for some action.
There were large swirls and skittery small fish, so I assume a few bass were enjoying the concentrated food also.
There definitely were tilapia, although I never actually saw one in the very shallow shore waters.
I saw their evidence.
The now dry shoreline was pockmarked with huge tilapia nest craters that the receding waters had exposed. Other craters were visible in the shallow waters, one after another.
That is one thing I noticed about freshwater bodies around Fort Pierce, everyone I looked in over that week had blue tilapia in them.
Now, tilapia are the perfect aquaculture fish, but that and the dinner plate is the only place we sing their praises. They don't belong in our wild Florida waters, but they are here and here to stay unless someone comes up with a magic bullet for them.
Up here around PFHQ, we just don't see them often thanks to our cold winters ... although they are present on the state's property (University of Florida campus) which is ironic since the state makes it tough for we private guys to possess them ... even though they apparently have let them loose ...
... I'm soapboxing here aren't I?
Back to the Savannas and the birds ...
The Woodies were out feeding and they really need this type of habitat. Their feeding method is to open their bill and swish back and forth through the water. When they contact something, SNAP! The bill closes and the prey gets gulpificationized.
Obviously, this doesn't work well in deep water where fish, tadpoles, crawfish, etc are dispersed over a wide area.
It's sweetly efficient in this drying lake situation though.
This sand hill crane and her chick popped in right after I walked back out of the lake and up on to the visitor boardwalk ... after getting closeups of the crane below.
I thought I was done. I just happened to glance back to where I had just been and there they were, so I got this one shot of the two of them.
I shot a bazillion bad shots of this crane as I inched closer and closer to him. I kept expecting him to fly so each shot seemed like the last one, but moving slow and pausing often, I got to within 40 feet, and then I didn't push it anymore, as that was plenty close enough for a large bird in my Sony's lens.
He was pretty relaxed. There was lots of looking around, feeding, walking, and finally some preening in the late day light.
No, since your wondering ... I did not molest any alligators on this sojourn.
In fact ... weirdly, I did not see the first gatory face in the two hours I spent in and out of the pond.
I don't know if they saw me or not.