The birds and I rise early, wanting to catch the morning rays. A heron stands sentinel in the distance as fish jump up and down along the canal. The flurry of activity at this hour seems to be concentrated farther along.
The air is nippy, and I’ve worn a sweater and a jacket. A small red bird, likely a tanager, darts into a bush just to my right, diving deep to avoid my lens. A pair of doves land atop a barren tree. Terns circle above.
A sudden flurry of activity captures my attention. I recognize the voices from home. Cardinals playing a game of chase. Victorious, the male claims his spot along the water.
We will spend the morning at the car dealership looking for answers, and when none come, they drive us back to the RV park to sit it out. We decide to check out the local waterside café. The park manager gives us a lift.
Set right at the spot where the canal and gulf meet, Mickey’s Café sits on stilts with a great view of the area. On the dock below several pelicans and seagulls sun themselves. Across the water, a grey heron stalks prey. I see something that looks like fins and rolling in the distance, but when I lift my camera to the spot there is nothing. A couple of cormorants swim into the canal’s mouth, and it I assume it must be them.
Our meal is good, and as we eat we scroll through all the possible areas to visit nearby. After lunch, I stop to take a few pictures from the deck level and then we stroll along.
Next door is a boat launch with fish cleaning tables. I decide to walk out on the long narrow pier. A large, dead fish gazes up at me with a wide, fixated stare. It gives me shivers, but I photograph it anyway.
At the end of the pier, I watch the flight of the pelicans and their awkward, almost comic plunge into the water. A grey heron sits hunched across the way, so still I almost miss him.
Then movement in the water catches my eye, as a long grey finned back, silently rises and descends, rises and descends. A dolphin!
“Did you get a pic?” the kids text back, when I message the news.
“Are you kidding? I was so excited, I almost fell off the dock!”
Ric says I’m like a kid in a candy store for the first time.
Can’t wait till we get the car back.