Took a few much needed days off and headed for the East coast of Florida, to Merritt Island and camped at Manatee Hammock Campground on the Indian River. We heard there were painted buntings at the visitors center and lots of good nature walks through some of the wet lands. Leroy and Diane Jacobsen also went, as Diane is the one who told us about the buntings. We were not disappointed let me tell you. We saw painted buntings right off. Such beautiful birds with blue, purple, red, and green feathers. Because of their colors they are being trapped and sold as cage birds so they are endangered now. In another area we got to see Florida scrub jays which also are endangered. At the Viero wet lands we walked around the ponds and saw all kinds of water fowl, ducks, coots, herons, egrets, spoonbills, ibis, grebes, mergansers, hawks and of course in any Fl. wet land, gators. The best was watching a Great Blue heron catch and eat a fish about a foot long, and also watching a gator sneaking up on a bunch of coots although the coots were keeping their eyes on that gator. Took a short kayak paddle on the Indian River from the campground and saw manatee and dolphin. Had a wonderful time seeing all the wildlife and evenings just sitting around the camp fire talking about the days fun with good friends. What a great way to spend Christmas.
Today started out chillier than was expected as we headed out to kayak the Oklawaha River, Northeast of Ocala near Silver Springs. From Ray Wayside Park if you go right you'll end up at the head spring of Silver River, go left as we did you go with the current down river to Gores Landing or further if you want. We shuttled cars to Gores Landing which provided us with a 10 mile easy paddle. Nice color since there were not any hard freezes yet and the river was full of water birds and song birds provided a sound track for the trip.A stop at The Blue Gator for dinner topped off a perfect day. This is the kind of day off we need, something different with good friends, Diane, Mary Ann, Deborah, Lee Ann, Charlie, and our new friend Bill. Looking forward to a camping trip over Christmas to Manatee Hammock near the East coast and Merit Island in search of the elusive Painted Bunting.
We hope you will join us on Dec. 2 5:30-8:00 pm for the start of Floral City's Heritage Day's celebration. The town will be all lit up. The store's will all be OPEN. We will be serving libations and the Lions Club will have their famous fish fry! Saturday will have various events going on around town. Floral City is the place to be this weekend. Join in the fun.