On Thursday, Tom and I went on a “Beginning Birding” tour here at the park. There are so many different and interesting birds around here, it’s hard not to get caught up in bird-watching! The tour met at the tram circle, and there were a lot more people there than were signed up to participate!
It was probably a good thing Tom and I were there – we helped with passing out bird checklists and binoculars, and keeping the group together.
The first birds we noticed were a huge group of turkey vultures gliding over the canal.
They are always in this area, roosting in the trees and watching for new animals or fish to be added to the pile in the woods, but apparently the breezes were perfect this morning for them to be out gliding.
From the tram bridge, we looked for wading birds and shorebirds feeding, but there weren’t many around since the tide was already coming in. Robert described the various birds that are typically found in the estuaries, in the land areas, and at the beach.
We did get lucky when 3 roseate spoonbills flew overhead – this was the first time I had seen them!
We also saw a woodpecker,
but that was the extent of the birds we found on our birding tour.
I think several of the participants were a little disappointed, but I didn’t hear any actual complaints. I think maybe the tour start times should be adjusted based on the tides, to maximize the opportunities for wildlife sightings for the participants.
With the tour over, we helped collect the binoculars and went back to the RV to check on the boys.
On Friday, we decided to go for an early morning walk to see if we could find more birds than we saw on the tour. Our first stop was the boat launch on the south side of the tram circle. We found this Snowy Egret and White Ibis feeding in the shallow water of the canal.
From there, we continued out onto the tram bridge, where we found this Great Egret hunting in the shallow water.
He was quite the regal bird, and he was very entertaining to watch as he hunted for fish.
We could have stood there and watched him all day . . .
On the other side of the bridge, there were some turkey vultures hanging out until the osprey came along and decided he didn’t want them there. One at a time, he chased them away!
He’s slightly smaller than the vultures, but I guess he’s more threatening!
On the walk back to the RV, we stopped to watch the mullet jumping in the canal. They are hard to catch in a picture, but I did manage to catch one!
Oh yeah, here’s a picture of the tram bridge that was our “family project” over the Christmas and New Years holiday.
Day 1 – we painted the off-white walls on each side of the bridge
Day 2 – we stenciled the numbers and “no fishing” on the walls of the bridge
Day 3 – we painted the orange path for pedestrian traffic – this was the most difficult job; we had to keep everybody off of it until it dried, and when the tram was crossing the bridge, there was nowhere for people to walk
We got it all done, though . . . and it turned out pretty good!
Once we were done with work and school for the day, we decided to take the trolley into Fort Myers Beach to see what was going on.
The trolley runs from the State Park to downtown Fort Myers Beach, and then over the Mantanzas Bridge to Fort Myers. We rode the trolley to the Times Square area of Fort Myers Beach, and walked down to the harbor to see the replica privateer that is docked there for a few weeks.
The Lynx was a privateer used for battle during the War of 1812.
This replica is used for educational purposes, and dockside tours are available as well as sailing tours.
We had intended to take a tour, but they were only going to be “open” for a few more minutes when we arrived, so we decided it wasn’t worth the cost. We could see most of the ship from right there on the dock, anyway.
We thought we’d be able to get a picture with the sails raised later when it went out for it’s sailing tour, but it never went out – I guess they didn’t sell any tickets for the sailing tour!
We walked through a few shops on our way to the beach, most of them selling the same basic touristy stuff – T-shirts, stuffed animals, beach toys, and various knick-knacks.
It was a beautiful day, and the beach was very crowded.
We got ice cream cones at DQ, and walked to the end of the pier. There were plenty of fishermen on the pier, and a few people parasailing out in the gulf.
When we finished our ice cream, we walked back to the trolley stop, and rode back to the State Park. The trolley was definitely an easier way to get to downtown and back, without having to worry about the traffic or finding a place to park. Not a bad deal for 50 cents each!