I wanted to go to The North Brevard Strawberry Festival. Of course the weekend weather plummeted, turning cold and rainy, Johnny wasn’t too interested in going to the festival. He knew he would soon reap the benefits of strawberry preserves that I had intended on canning. While the Doral Golf tournament was on, he could stay cozy and not deal with traffic and people. Eden and utopia are closely matched in this scenario.
I decided that since I had already planned on going to the festival and now changed my mind, I still wanted to get out. There is a tiny road I see all the time, but I’ve never been down there. A sign says it’s Scrub Ridge Trail. Since it’s a side road within The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, I figured it had somethin to do with Scrub-Jays.
A cool little bird, it is THE ONLY bird endemic to Florida. This excerpt came from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology;
“A species that today numbers fewer than 6,000 individuals in the wild and that exists nowhere in the world outside of Florida. In a state whose human population has nearly quadrupled since 1960, the Florida Scrub-Jay has lost much of its choice scrub habitat to citrus groves and subdivisions.”
My tangent on destruction of property to accomodate condo developers will come at a later date.
After I read that the hiking trail is only one mile, I knew that I could take my time and maybe see some stuff. What are the odds of me finding a Scrub-Jay in an area I don’t know? Nil quickly came to mind. But I didn’t care. It was better than bein hemmed up in the apartment all day. Johnny decided if there wouldn’t be traffic and old ladies in funny hats, he was in for a hike.
15 minutes later, I was hopping out of the truck, with camera gear and Johnny in tow. There were two paths to pick from, and we chose the north path.
The first thing I noticed was there had been a recent controlled burn. Very recent.
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE 🙂
The refuge has controlled burns often; I understand the concept to a point, but I can’t help but think it displaces wildlife and that’s where my confusion lies. But, that too is another suject for another day,
My heart sank when I saw the burnt palmettos. That, with the cold and rainy day made me think I shoulda stayed home and watched golf. We walked the back trail and saw nothing. Egrets and ‘spoonbills farrrrrrrrr away, a couple of gator slides, and a 9 Banded Armadillo.
We went as far as we could before the ground turned to marsh. The rain wasn’t helpin. We circled back and at the fork, took the high road in. I silently hoped I made the right choice. I thought this had to lead to the truck, but if it didn’t, it would be fine. The marl was nice to walk on, and it was dry. About a 1/4 mile. Nothin. Then a Scrub-Jay appeared. On the right,
Then another. With breakfast even. BONUS!
Those two flew off to dine, and another came to the bush at my shoulder. Happy to pose for me, I shot a few images
I can’t believe our luck! The only thing that topped that was I had picked the right road to get us back to the truck! WINNING!!! What a great day!