Florida 2010 posts continued...
After much starting and stopping I finally made it to the trail head. Cruickshank Trail is a loop that follows several dikes that snake their way through the refuge. This was an ambitious undertaking for me, a five mile hike after a fairly sedentary winter. At least it was pancake flat.
For wildlife watchers the opportunity to get out of the car and away from the traffic is golden. You have the chance to pick a spot and sit, and will often be rewarded with a visit from one critter or another. Unfortunately, since I was getting a fairly late start, I did not have that luxury, and had to pretty much hoof it all the way around.
Aside from this old pier and the trail itself, there was almost no sign of man--or men or women, for that matter. The trail was deserted. I read that upwards of 90% of visitors to National parks rarely leave their cars. While I think that's sad and pitiful, it suits me just fine. I like the solitude I can find in the parks.
This Yellow lesser-legs likes that statistic too.
Not too long into the hike I came across this Tri-colored heron. As soon as I saw it I stopped dead in my tracks, and brought the camera slowly up to my eye. I tried to send out good energy, but the bird wasn't buying my benign vibes.
It fidgeted uncomfortably atop its shrubby perch, eying me warily.
He pondered for a moment or two...
...then decided to leave. I sometimes find in these places that the birds are more accustomed to cars than to people on foot, and are spookier around hikers. I had to go slowly and stop the instant I saw something or I would scare it away. Of course, for the most part they saw me first and I only saw them as they were flying away. Sigh....
This White pelican didn't take to the air, but it did swim away, watching me over its shoulder.
What a treat it was when this spoonbill flew past, low and into the sun. I am struck by their shape when they fly, and their black feet make me think of a dancer in black shoes, toes pointed as he leaps through the air. What an odd, beautiful bird.