Monday, February 1, 2010

Florida Wetlands by Air-boat

The Space Coast Birding event was a great excuse to visit Titusville, Florida and some relatives we have stashed down there- in case of inclement weather. It is always fun to be led about by the locals, and one never knows what you'll see or do.

Captain Mike adjusts the protective head-sets and speaker system before our take off.

With the wind in our faces, the air-boat screamed across the flood plains of the St. Johns river, which is more like a vast, slow-flowing artisan fed wetlands. This drainage basin of over 8,800 square miles flows north and is the only river in Florida to do so.

Seen from the bow of our boat, miles of channels flowing lazily through islands of wetlands and swamp. The predominate trees are Red Maple- Acer rubrum, Bald Cypress- Taxodium distichum and islands of Cabbage Palms- Sable palmetto. The grasses... I'll never know.

.......................................................(C(click to enlarge)
As we cruised to a halt at the base of a tree, we noticed the inhabitants of an old Blue Heron's nest. These masked bandits had burgled the joint and settled in for a snooze. It is not a good idea for these guys to sleep at ground level, and you soon see why.

Our guide claims this particular 16 mile stretch of the St Johns is known to have an estimated 14,000 alligators living within its waters- and the cooler weather Florida experienced in January had them all in basking mode. Every hummock and flat spot seemed to be sporting a sunbathing beauty, and the bigger one on the right was a good 8 to 9 foot long.

Hello big guy! He was just a little more up close and personal than the Weedpicker needed! Of all the habitats and locations I have ever ventured, this may be the first time where I DID NOT get out to take a closer look at some plant or tree.
I sure liked the air-boat. Just keeping in the air-boat, thanks!


  1. I can't believe you didn't give that gator some nice petties!

  2. You better believe I wasn't tempted to kiss him on the nose either!

  3. Aw, Cheryl, I've never known you to sit one out, but the welcoming committee looks very interested in, eating, er, I mean greeting you.

  4. Nina-

    That was bad... and I wasn't taking any chances!