A Visit to the Gulf

Thursday December 17th 2020

After the cold front passed through last night, today was a bright sunny day. A strong northwest breeze kept the temperature down. The high temperature for the day was in the high sixties.

The tall grass provides some protection from the wind.

The change in the weather also changed the visibility of wildlife in the state park. Fewer alligators were taking the sun on the river bank. A couple of alligator heads were visible above the water, but many of the gators were probably in the warmer confines at the bottom. The birds were in areas better protected from the wind.

Carefully watching what is going on around the river.

The pink color of the Rosetta Spoonbills makes the birds really standout among all of the white and gray wading birds. Today one was intent on feeding along the bank of the river very close to my observation position. I took the opportunity to take several pictures. Here are a few of them.

After a couple hours of wildlife viewing in the park, I left the park to check out some of the local area. I ended up in Nokomis at the North Jetty recreation area on the Gulf of Mexico. There were many people sitting in chairs and on benches watching the traffic in and out of the Venice Florida marinas. The northwest wind made any activity on the beach difficult. Not only was it cool, but the sand was also blowing. South of the inlet on the Venice beach lots of people were trying to catch a wave on surfboards. It was a nice visit to the gulf.

Kestrel ?

On my late afternoon walk around the campground I noted a lot of turnover today. This park doesn’t seem to be as impacted by the pandemic as the last few parks I’ve visited. The park has not reverted to mostly Florida residents. I’ve observed license plates from many other US states including Colorado, California and Washington. More than half of the visitors in my camping loop seem to be from out of state. I think most of them are long term visitors to the state. They’re not here for a Christmas vacation.

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