Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wood Storks at Ft. Mose Historic State Park

Stagecoach RV Park
St. Augustine, FL
October 28, 2015

Fort Mose (Moh-Say) Historic State Park is a 40 acre waterfront historic site with picnic areas, one observation and birding boardwalk, a kayak launch, and a visitor center. 

Although none of the earth and wooden structures remain, visitors can still view the land where once a legally sanctioned free African settlement was.

In 1994, this site was designated as a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

After our history lesson, we were off to the birding boardwalk. 

There was only one other person there this day. There is a turn in the boardwalk just ahead of the birder. That is where we saw the wood storks. I was thrilled! My first sighting of this magnificent creature.

There were four wood storks in the tree fairly close to the boardwalk.
 Wood Storks are large, white, bald-headed wading birds of the southeastern swamps.

These are the only stork breeding in the United States.

  Their late winter breeding season is timed to the Florida dry season when its fish prey become concentrated in shrinking pools. 

That is important because a couple with two fledglings can eat over 400 pounds of fish during a single breeding season.

They stand nearly 4 feet tall with a wingspan of about 5 feet. 

For over 30 years the wood stork was on the Endangered species list. An estimated 20,000 breeding pairs dropped to roughly 5,000 pairs from the 1930s to the 1970s. In 2014 they were upgraded to a Threatened Species with as many as 9,000 breeding adults reported.

 Wood storks are quite social...they feed in flocks and nest in large rookeries with several pairs in a single tree.

 I finally pulled myself away and we continued on to the end of the boardwalk.

What an awesome day with lots of "WOW"! Until next time, let the good times roll...

(or, "The End" as Judy would say!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Colorful Historic St. Augustine, FL

Stagecoach RV Park
St. Augustine, FL
October 27, 2015

Some 2 million visitors annually make their way to St. Augustine...lured by the sense of discovering a unique historic part of America. Founded in 1565, it is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States. Forty-two years before the English colonized Jamestown and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed, the Spanish established St. Augustine. St. Augustine can boast that it "contains the only urban core in the U.S. whose street pattern and architectural ambiance reflect Spanish origins". Today, the City of St. Augustine maintains architectural control over the colonial city insuring that the "inevitable change which occurs in a living urban area respects the past". 

Joe and I spent the morning walking the streets of downtown St. Augustine. This must be a really good time to visit as it was not crowded or perhaps the weather was a deterrent as it was cloudy and drizzly. Either way, we were happy to be able to meander at our own pace. Neither of us was interested in shopping...the colors drew us there.

We are enjoying our stay here (except for the mosquitoes) and have managed to dodge the heavy rain showers. The overcast skies and cool breezes have been nice.

Until next time, let the good times roll...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Anastasia State Park

Stagecoach RV Park
St. Augustine, FL
October 25, 2015

Today Joe and I visited Anastasia State Park. This awesome 1,600 acre Florida state park includes a beach, a salt marsh, a nature trail and 139 camping sites with electric and water. 

The Ancient Dunes Nature Trail is a short loop through a shaded maritime hammock. Ancient sand dunes are explained on the kiosk below.

 There we saw Beauty Berries...

 I have never seen berries this color. 

We learned about Resurrection Fern a couple of years ago when staying at Live Oak Landing RV Resort. 

Anastasia contains four miles of pristine beach. A designated swimming area  has a lifeguard from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The beach is open to walkers and bicyclists. No pets are allowed.

Access to the beach is by a boardwalk over the marsh. There were not very many beach combers this morning...just the way we like it! 

We wandered along the salt marsh, but didn't see much. I had hoped to see dolphins and marsh birds up close. Maybe we should have stopped there first. The booth to rent kayaks, canoes and fishing poles with bait had a line of folks with money in hand...the wildlife was gone.

Have a great week. Until next time, let the good times roll...