l There were fifteen of us that met to take a New Year’s Eve Day walk at Shell Mound and Dennis Creek Trail. We started the walk out on the observation platform and to observe and identify the dozen or so different types of wading birds that were foraging on nearby oyster bars. Oystercatchers, Marbled Godwit, Skimmers, Wilson’s Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Sanderlings and Dunlins we were some of the birds we were able to identify.
The biting sand midges prevented us from lingering too long and we moved on to Shell Mound and Dennis Creek trails. These are wonderful trails to explore as they lead alongside the salt marsh, across a salt panne, then onto an island in the marsh, then back to the base of the shell mound. A lot can be seen in just a relatively short walk. This trail is always a favorite because of the varied habitats that we walk through. In a short distance, we were able to see the effect of just inches of elevation on the plant growth along the trail.
Our next nature walk will be on January 14 and will be a longer walk, about 4-5 miles, and will be behind the gates of the Refuge. We will meet at the Cedar Key Park parking lot at 8:30am. Wear long pants, bring a bottle of water, hat and bug spray and maybe a snack. I am hopeful the weather will be cooler for this walk than it has been lately! We should see a nesting pair of Bald Eagles, and evidence of sea level change. If you wish to join us on this walk but would like to meet at the trail head, please call me, Donna Thalacker, at 352-543-6738 for more information.