Monday, November 1, 2010

Honeymoon Island State Park

It has been about six months since we have been back to Honeymoon Island State Park.  Today we walked the Osprey Trail where before we have seen horned owls with owlets, bald eagles with eaglets, osprey with their young, wood peckers and other song birds, armadillos, and gopher tortoises. Other folks have seen 11 different kinds of snakes that include 3 venomous...coral snake, pygmy and Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes. Several osprey, two tortoises, and a raccoon were all we observed.  Many empty nests littered dead tall trees.  Near the water we saw           (literally) an army of tiny fiddler crabs no bigger than an inch moving from the water inland over dried seaweed.  They parted  as we walked through them, none of us missing a beat.

How many fiddler crabs can you count?

The trail is a long loop through diverse ecosystems containing pines and live oaks, cabbage palms and saw grass, or myrtles, sea grapes and mangroves. Part is shady with mosquitoes, and part is in the glaring, hot sun.  Chuck was with us as we alternately swatted and sweated.

The Chuckster
If you have the time, there is a ferry to the island that eventually becomes Clearwater, after a few miles.  It sports a marina, a gorgeous, long empty beach, and another trail carved by the settlers who used to live there. A small but highly informative Nature Center is also nearby.  Proceeding west from the parking areas, is the beach that shell collectors frequent.  I don't think I have ever seen a beach with more shells.
Gopher Tortoise

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