South by Southeast late 2018 - early 2019 travel blog

roseate spoonbill

looking for birds

where's the gold?



scrub jays

roseate spoonbills

roseate spoonbills

air boat

roseate spoonbills

Last time we were here, Ken joined the photography club. He learned little about photography, but we enjoyed some of the field trips they sponsored. We went to scenic areas that we would not have found on our own. In this part of Florida, nature is a prime attraction for photographers as well as outdoor enthusiasts. So when my beloved husband invited me to visit a landfill to view wildlife with the photo group, how could I say no?

The group met in Melbourne, about a 45 minute drive south of here. Usually I only wake up at 6am to catch a plane, but we were on the road at sunrise. At the meeting point we found out that the landfill was another thirty miles south. As we debated whether to keep going, we decided that we were in it for the long haul. The tour was sponsored by the Audubon Society and they were crushed when they got a call notifying them that the landfill was closed. It was having an alligator problem and hunters were there inside to solve the problem. We didn't know exactly what that meant.

The Audubon leader quickly recovered and chose a new destination. Florida is lush with protected wetlands, and we shared this one with lots of fishermen. Fishing is usually a quiet sport, but there the lake was loaded with air boats whizzing around making all kinds of racket. I was surprised that the birds put up with it. The bird watchers were thrilled with everything they saw, even robins and cardinals that we can see outside our window at home. We were looking for large and colorful water birds and were thrilled to see a large flock of spoonbills perched on an island. The guide recommended that we come back in a few months when the bushes would be full of those birds perched on nests.

The guide wanted to take us to a large lake where he knew we would see much more. As our caravan moved out, we were pulled over by the local ranger. He said the area was closed, because of hunting. So that's what those muffled booms were. Stymied again.

As we ate our picnic lunch we saw men wearing camouflage clothing, draped with dead ducks over their shoulders. Not my idea of a bucolic nature experience.

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