Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge

Today was supposed to be a nice day so after coffee, breakfast, and the bike race we took a look at things to do. We pretty quickly decided that a hike in the Shell Mound area of the Lower Suwannee NWR fit the bill perfectly so we had lunch sitting out on the dock here at Low Key Hideaway and then headed off; grabbing a shot of the entrance to the Low Key Hideaway on the way…this distance marker shows the distances to various places around the world from here. Our favorite is Tiki Bar – 50 feet.

CedarKeySign1

CedarKeySign2

The Shell Mound area is an archeological dig area that is essentially a very early version of a land fill. It encompasses over 5 acres and is 28 feet tall and is composed entirely of oyster shells and deer bones that were the trash from hundreds of years of the Indians living here. They piled all of their empty shells in the same place near their villages and the result was what is now known as the Shell Mound. It took over 3500 years to build up and hosted numerous indigenous tribes collectively known as the Shell People from about 2500 BC to about 1000 AD

Our first hike was about a 1/2 mile loop around the mound itself known as the Shell Mound Trail. Heading out, here is the view from the top of the mound itself out towards the Gulf of Mexico.

ShellMoundView1

While out at the south end of the mound we spotted a whole line of seagulls lined up on a sandbar a bit offshore. There were at least 3 or 4 species in there that we could identify.

CedarKeyBirdsOnABar

Out second hike started at the same parking area but went northeast rather than south towards the Gulf; this was the Dennis Creek Trail. Shortly after the hike started we crossed a little area of grasslands

CedarKeyGrassland1

We then stopped at a little pond area where we scared up a Tricolor Heron

CedarKeyTricolorHeron1

CedarKeyTricolorHeron2

and some sort of duck…we eventually decided on Northern Pintail although we weren’t sure.

CedarKeyDuck1

Shortly after the pond Connie spotted this Osprey sitting in a tree a couple hundred yards out.

CedarKeyOsprey1

and then we spotted the extremely rare Stump Bird. We came around this corner in the trail and spotted the silhouette of what we were sure (originally) was a bird but then realized it was just a bit of limb stump that resembled the tail feathers of a bird.

CedarKeyStumpBird

Shortly after that we ended our hike and headed home. Before getting a shower and easing over to the Tiki bar for beer o’clock we decided to sit out on the pier for a bit to see what sort of bird life might wander by. Pretty quickly we were rewarded by the sighting of a pair of Ospreys…we decided they are nesting in this pine tree a couple of hundred yards from the park. One of the pair posed quite nicely on the cabin of an abandoned boat right off of the pier

CedarKeyOsprey2

while the other soared overhead…clearly both were fishing for dinner.

CedarKeyOsprey3

Here is the abandoned boat without the Osprey

CedarKeyAbandonedBoat

and here is the soaring one in a hover while we hoped he would stoop for his dinner…unfortunately he changed his mind and flew off.

CedarKeyOspreyHover

Next a Ring Billed Gull flew by

CedarKeyRIngBilledGull

and then it was  time for showers, beer and dinner which was seared Pork Tenderloin with green beans, cheesy corn, and mashed taters. After dinner it was TV, email/web browsing, and bedtime.

Cyas.

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About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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