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.
5 days ago