Monday, December 15, 2014

12/15 First Day at Myakka State Park near Sarasota, FL

Got my bike out and rode to the lake, almost four miles down the road.  This is one of my favorite state parks anywhere.  It is huge and has a ton of wildlife.  There are two older campgrounds here and one newer one.  Based on experience with partiers last year, I chose the newer one this time.  Nice full-hookup campsites with lots of privacy and space.  I really appreciate clean gravel instead of dirt because it means a lot less tracking inside!  Would you believe they rake each site and clean the fire pits when each camper leaves and before the next ones check in? 

Two other advantages to Florida state parks is that there are washers and dryers in restrooms and they are gated at night with big, heavy-duty gates.  You get the combination when you check in so you can come and go, but he gate keeps any late-night cruisers out. (Also, occasionally keeps campers who forget their code out or who arrive late, but those are other stories.)

A half-mile down the road is a river.  If you look carefully, you will see some alligators sunning themselves on the banks of that little island.

Here is a close-up.
And a wood stork taking a rest.

One of the fishermen threw a too-small fish onto the bank so the wood stork came up for a look.  I left  so as not to scare it away, so I did not see if it found it. 

What makes Myakka so full of wildlife is the varied terrain.  There is the river, marsh, lake, prairie, and dryer forest. 

This is one of the two lakes.  The other is south and off-limits to visitors.  Check out the warning sign about the vultures.  Not too many here today, but when they are here, they like to tear windshield wipers apart, plus any other rubber parts on vehicles, hence the sign.

I took this tour boat when I was here two years ago.  It is the world's slowest air boat, but it takes you across the lake where you can see more wildlife.  FYI, they rent kayaks here, but considering the number of alligators, I would pass.

I had some ice cream at the café and gift shop at the lake, and finished just in time to see a flash of pink wings arrive.  In all the years I have visited Florida, this is the first roseate spoonbill I have ever seen.  Check out this video I uploaded.  It shows how they use their large spoonbill to find food in the mud. 

Stopped at the river on my way back to the campground and saw this guy headed towards us on the bridge. I expect he thought we might be fisherman who might have some leftovers.

He was about 8' long.

What a big mouth you have!


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