Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tip of St. Vincent Island

Click on an image to see a larger view, then use your Back button to return to this blog.  Enjoy!
That's 'Tip', as in 'tip of the iceberg'.  In two short days that's all one can possibly see of this big diverse wildlife refuge (especially since you can't camp there). The island is an easy paddle by kayak across Indian Pass, and there's a day ferry there as well.  Susan Cerulean is writing a book about this part of Florida, so Crystal and I joined her and Jeff for a couple days visit to IP and St. V. last month.

I had noticed the Railroad Vine with its Beach Morning Glory flowers right away, so I was out crawling in the sand setting up the photo (above) well before sunrise the next morning.  I hadn't realized that the flowers would be still furled asleep until mid-morning, but decided they still made good (if not better) subjects when curled up.  That's St. Vincent Island in the upper right.
May means the shorebirds are in full breeding plumage - much more showy than most of the year.  I saw (or noticed) my first Red Knot - a red-breasted sandpiper.  The little Sanderling boys dominated with their battling and posturing all up and down the beaches.  We saw many other sandpipers, egrets, herons, oystercatchers, terns and gulls, eagles and osprey... and the list goes on.  
Least Terns were nesting on a remote beach gulfside of St. Vincent.  We watched the guys bring minnow-gifts to their coy sweethearts.   And the females fiercely defending their nests from potential predators like ghost crabs.

 We passed another spit covered with Black Skimmers, presumably many on their nests.  As we were leaving, an eagle soared over sending the flock into synchronized flight.

One long walk on St. V lasted through a magnificent sunset which shone orange light across the sand.  I had carried only one large telephoto lens in my little kayak, so all my photo subjects that evening had to be small (like a bird) or a detail from a distance (like wolf tracks).  It was an interesting exercise (and repeated reminder to come prepared.)

A massive storm front was moving in fast on our final morning giving us a dark-brooding-sky sendoff.


Kati Schardl said...

David, these pictures are so gorgeous and your account so perfect - I love St. Vincent and you have made me want to go back for a nice long visit (but probably in the fall, after bug season is done - the last time I was there, the yellow flies ate me UP!). I love how your post is bracketed with the fiery sunset and the looming storm.

Susan in FL said...


Susan in FL said...


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