Apologies for my lack of blogging lately my lovelies. I'm trying to catch up on some things and I have a list of projects a mile long. Oh, and I haven't forgotten about the wedding pictures I promised. I don't have many good ones gathered yet (the black & white film is still at the lab and the digital pics are scattered all over the country on various cameras). I will post some later this week, I promise! For now, we can all dream of a deserted island like this one...
Seahorse Key ( a "Pleistecene dune relic" accessible only by boat) is part of the Cedar Keys Wildlife Refuge established by the federal government in 1929. Thousands of birds, many rare or endangered, inhabit the island. My sister compared the island to "Jurassic Park" (though we didn't catch sight of any dino's). You will probably have to click to enlarge if you want to see the birds in detail. My digital has a sad little zoom.
Pelican mothers and juveniles in the trees and shrubbery.
Brown pelicans are white when they are young juveniles, although what's interesting is that they are already large - almost the same size as their parents. They live in the trees, completely reliant upon Mum and Dad for food.
The birds on the beach shown above and below are Cormorans, which I had seen recently on Anthony Bordain's No Reservations. For many generations, Chinese fisherman have trained Cormorans to catch fish for them. They really seem to have to sort of special kinship with people. These are cool little birds! They often swim fully or partially submerged, with just their cute little heads sticking out of the water. It's almost as if they were putting on a show for us.
Baby brown pelicans in the trees.
A Magnificent Frigatebird in flight. These birds really are magnificent. According to our boat's captain/guide/wildlife specialist, it is a mystery as to why the frigates chose this area to live and mate. They are truly tropical, their closest other habitat being 400-500 miles south. The frigates can fly for four months straight without landing, as they have evolved to allow themselves to sleep while they fly, at altitudes as high as 2500 meters. There were a number of male frigates perched in the trees "displaying" their chests a bright red, a mating ritual.
The beach where the boat dropped us for about an hour. We weren't allowed on the interior of the island, or anywhere near the bird breeding areas.
Many of us were combing for shells, the good ones are quite elusive on this beach. My sister-in-law found a really nice one, and was carrying it one around. This rather large hermit crab popped out to greet her. The shell measured about 5" long.
My Dad off in the distance, taken from the "tail" of the seahorse shaped island.
Footprints (sappy, but don't you wish you were there right now?...)
More Cormorans, the cute little devils.
Next time I'm in Cedar Key, I'm just going to have the boat drop me on this little slice of paradise for the day.