Travel Diary
 
January 8, 2003
Key Largo, FL


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We're parked as far south as we'll be on this leg of our journey. We're in Key Largo, Florida at approximately 25.074 degrees north. For reference, Kirkland, Washington (where we started) is 47.674 degrees north. We're also as far away from Kirkland as we'll be -- as the crow flies, we are approximately 2750 miles away. That would make the crow pretty darn tired.

It's fun to drive to a place that feels as tropical as Key Largo does. We are parked about 50 feet away from the edge of Florida Bay on the west side of Key Largo. Although there has been a "severe" cold front bearing down on Florida, we are still enjoying 70 degree days. It is supposed to get warmer as the week progresses.

One of our favorite parts of Florida has been the birds. The coastal birds seem to live quite happily on a diet of fish. To suit this diet, they all seem to have long pointed beaks which make them quite unlike most common song birds that we're used to.

In Nokomis, we had a pair of sandhill cranes wander through our camp site. The seemed quite tame, and moved slowly and gracefully on their long legs. Here's a close up that shows their beautiful red head.

Sandhill crane

Here in Key Largo there are an abundance of herons, egrets and pelicans. We stopped at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehab Center where they rescue birds that have been injured. They release approximately 40% of the birds that are brought in, and the rest are kept at the sanctuary and cared for. Some of the birds are released and stay nearby the sanctuary. It was fun to walk through the area at feeding time as we were able to get within a few inches of the birds. Here's a picture of one of the paths at the sanctuary with a parade of pelicans that were looking for their dinner.

Pelicans on parade

The bird rehab center was a wonderful place for taking photos. Here's an ibis that was feeding at the waters edge.

Ibis

This pelican was sitting in the sun above the path we were walking on. We learned that all of the pelicans are the same species. They're all brown pelicans. The difference in color can be a difference in age, or a different stage in the mating cycle.

Brown pelican

Here's a great white heron with a seagull in the background. It was neat to be able to get so close to these birds.

Great white heron

Finally, this puffy white bird seemed as interested in us as we were of it.

Puffy white bird

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