Monday, March 01, 2010

A couple reasons to see St Marks NWR

Reason #1: There was a blizzard raging back home in NJ when I took this pic of the lighthouse at St. Marks... I was barefoot with my toes in the muck.


Reason #2: More Redheads than a person could easily count. Jay from birdJam (Hi Jay!) has been talking up St. Marks for ages, but I hardly believed anyplace could have better ducks than NJ. Granted, there wasn't the variety that I'm spoiled with in NJ, but I didn't have to freeze my butt off to see these ducks, either.

There is something very magical about seeing "winter ducks" with tree swallows twittering low above their heads.


Reason #3: Purple Martins in February!

I've hardly seen a Purple Martin sit still, let alone bask on the blacktop for warmth... they all looked pretty miserable because it was so cold for a Florida winter.

Reason #4: Alligators... alligator awareness must be a learned habit. I had to keep reminding myself of their possibility... I'm pretty sure the gators at St Marks serve as an efficient population control for all the Coots that winter there.


Reason #5: Palm tree-inspired views... every so often a small squadron of Brown Pelicans would interrupt the horizon and my daydreaming. White Ibis and Tri-Colored Herons were a treat, too.

Reason #6: St. Marks is just a beautiful place, especially so in mid-winter at sunset.

I wrote more about my visit to the refuge
here and here and here and here.


Kathiesbirds said...

Laura, what gorgeous photos! The last one is absolutely stunning!

bobbie said...

Lucky you! It really does look beautiful.

MevetS said...

Gorgeous shots.

You've convinced me.

(I need more vacation time!)

NCmountainwoman said...

Beautiful. Although I got really mad with the sunshine and barefoot part. We're getting blasted with snow once again.

Floridacracker said...

Love St. Marks. How did you get close to redheads? All the real ducks were distant when I was there in Dec.

Jay said...

Hi, Laura! I'm glad that you're still remembering St. Marks so fondly. - Jay from birdJam

Ruth said...

This looks like a lovely spot to visit. I have never been to Florida unlike most winter-weary people from Eastern Canada. Not so sure about the alligators though...

dguzman said...

I was blown away by seeing rafts of about 150 Redheads down on South Padre Island, TX. It's awesome--they're beautiful!

jason said...

What a beautiful place, Laura. Your photos are so inviting. And I'm so glad you had a chance to enjoy some of the delights of a southern winter.

LauraHinNJ said...

Kathie and Bobbie: Thanks!

Steve: Probably you do, yeah.


NCMountainWoman: Ah... your mountains are to blame for that, I guess. I'm with you... I've officially had my fill of winter!

FC: Redheads were everywhere! What a treat... I'm lucky to see one or two a winter here in NJ.

Did you see that humongous eagle nest? Wow!

Jay: Hi.

I am, yeah.


Ruth: LOL! I dunno... they seem reasonably docile to me!


Delia: They are, yeah. And what's funny is that there was only like one canvasback, which feels backwards to what I'd expect.

Jason: If only it had been warmer... an excuse for that ridiculous bikini would have been fun in Feb!

RuthieJ said...

Great Shots Laura! All of us living in the northern tier of states should make a mandatory visit to St Marks each winter.

Larry said...

What a gorgeous place Laura. That shot of the lighthouse is sure inviting and the Redheads are marvelous.

The palm tree view and the sunset put the scenic icing on your post. Beautiful!