Wednesday, February 08, 2012

2011 Highlights from St. Marks

Click on an image to enlarge it... and scroll through all the images at the large size with your scroll wheel.  Click outside the enlarged image to return to this story.  Enjoy!
How lucky am I to live so close to such a rich and beautiful wildlife refuge.  Especially given the ongoing dollar-driven degradation of many of the remaining natural areas across my home state.

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge has expanded over the years as more and more protected federal lands in Florida's Big Bend have been placed under its protective wing.  This consolidation has been a necessary part of slashed funding.  Despite the budget cuts, St. Marks staff has expanded outreach programs and activities every year - hikes, talks, guided birdwatching, established a whooping crane migration program, a national-model photo club, and many festivals.  It is simply a wonderful place that seems to be thriving in these lean times.  We - all visitors  -  are lucky to have St. Marks to remind us of the beauty, but also of the preciousness and fragility of our dwindling natural world.  The creatures who live there are lucky too.

So, without a lot more words (though I won't be able to help but inject a few more), here are the highlights my camera captured at St. Marks over the course of 2011.
 
 
 
A couple camera-shy Belted Kingfishers granted me a few moments...
 
Then there was my effort to shoot the Super Moon (earlier post) over the lighthouse from miles away...
 
A Marsh Hawk... 
 
A Yellow Warbler catches an insect...
 
 
The Monarch migration...
 
Family visits...
 
 
 Other visitors...
And more residents and their home...
 
 
 
 
At the end of the day, end of the year, the majesty is still fresh to behold...






4 comments:

intrepid-decrepit-traveler said...

You're right about how special St Marks NWR is - a true treasure for all.

Thanx for your wonderful photos; these images capture the essence of St Marks.

Valerie Kennedy-Grisham said...

forsnonThank you for sharing this St. Marks collection...all beautiful images of the gulf, salt marshes, and wildlife. I love St. Marks, and I treasure my childhood memories of piling into the station wagon with my cousins and traveling from Tallahasee to see "the lighthouse". I remember the abundance of wildlife there- seeing so many birds, and counting the alligators! After looking at these photographs, I feel as if I have just made a return trip.

Kris Barrios said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kris Barrios said...

Beautiful ode to its timeless beauty. Thanks David...