Wildlife Refuge Take Two

The sun is shining and as we pull into the office area, a flash of bright red catches my eye – a vermilion flycatcher.  I hop out and aim my lens towards the bush where the bird has landed.  A swoop of large, mottled brown wings cuts off my view.  A kestrel settles in a higher tree.

“He likes to hang around here,” a woman emerging from the office says.  She also tells us that seven whooping cranes have been spotted on the grounds today.

Anhinga posing.

We skip over the first viewing point, as we’ve come with our friends and their two dogs, and it is not advised to take them to the alligator stops.  The heron trail offers a raised boardwalk, so we head there.  Just steps from the car, we notice two anhingas.  One flies away, but the other remains and poses.  

The boardwalk overlooks a smorgasbord of bird life – herons, egrets, and others.  Off the shore is what looks to be a white boat, but using the telescope we can see they are cranes – not close enough to photograph, but cool all the same.  A picture of three fluffy birds closer in, later reveals three juveniles, but the picture is poor quality.  

Wings carry me upward.

From here, we drive to the observation tower.  Butterflies flit about in the sun’s rays, keeping me company as I slowly make the ascent.  My body is protesting, and half way up I consider stopping, but the glimpse of a busy waterway propels me to the top.   

Pelicans, egrets, herons, ducks and white ibis forage below, and despite the fullness of the sun threatening to blind my shots, I do manage to catch this foursome skittering across the shallows.

A successful visit, ensuring we’ll be back again.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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