Today we have photos from Bill Dickens, taken in Florida. Bill’s narrative and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photographs by clicking on them.
My home backs onto the Thousand Island Conservation Area on Florida’s Space Coast. (I’m close enough to the space center that launches shake my house.)
General guide to Florida archipelago naming: Actual # of islands = Name / 10. So the Thousand Island Conservation Area consists of around 100 islands in the brackish waters of the Banana River Lagoon.
It’s teaming with wildlife. The water boils with schools of fish and on most trips I see dolphins hunting. There is the occasional alligator although salt water is not their preferred habitat. There has been a sole crocodile which has moved north with the warmer temperatures (I have not seen this myself.) The main bird species are Pelican, Cormorant, Anhinga, Blue Heron, Osprey, Great Egret, and Wood Stork.
I love going out on the water and I try to get out a couple of times a week. It’s rare to see anyone else out on the 338-acre zone. Like a lot of Florida wildlife, the birds are not particularly disturbed by boats and will allow you to get quite close. The dolphins will often rush over as soon as they see my kayak or dinghy, sometimes swimming under the kayak or riding in the dinghy’s wake. It’s a complete joy interacting with them.
Eastern Brown Pelican [Pelecanus occentalis] – the name doesn’t reflect the colors and feather patterns:
Eastern Brown Pelican – they will sometimes dive down right in front of my boat to catch fish:
Eastern Brown Pelican – I sometime feel like I’m on the Jurassic Coast when they’re flying in a diagonal line down the beach:
Osprey [Pandion haliaetus]:
Osprey with catch:
Anhinga [Anhinga anhinga]:
Anhinga drying its wings in the last of the sunlight:
Kayaking through the Mangroves:
Sunset on the lagoon – it’s rare to see anyone else out on the water:
Great Egret [Ardea alba] on my lawn: