We spent yesterday making memories with my daughter Tiffany and granddaughter Destiny. Memories I hope they will cherish for a long time because I know we will cherish making memories with them.
We started the day by going down to our fishing pier to see the launch of a Space X rocket from Cape Canaveral. There were a few other people on hand to do the same thing, but everybody kept a good distance from each other, and we all had our masks on, too. Our friend Jesse was there trying out a new fishing rod and caught a skate, which is a cousin to the stingray. Seeing one of those and actually being able to gently touch it was a thrill for Destiny, as was helping it back into the water and watching it swim off.
Then we drove to Titusville to explore the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Our first stop was at the visitor center, which has many interesting displays about the wildlife that lives there. Destiny picked up a few little souvenirs in the gift shop, and then we went out back to a boardwalk that makes a loop of about 1/4 mile or so. There is a lake back there, and the first thing we saw was a large alligator sunning on a ramp on the other side of the lake. It was so big that at first Terry thought it was not real and was put there for the tourists, but then it proved her wrong by getting up and going back into the water. There were also two huge turtles on the same ramp next to the gator and they seemed to be getting along just fine.
From there, we drove the Black Point Wildlife Drive, seven miles of one-way road winding through the reserve. This is always a popular spot for photographers, and since our son Travis recently passed his Panasonic Lumix FZ40 digital camera on to Destiny, the very same camera that Terry used for many years taking excellent photographs for the Gypsy Journal, it was a good opportunity for her to get a chance to try it out.
It took her a while to get a feel for it, but once she did, she showed that she’s got some natural talent, just like her Uncle Travis and Grandma Terry. I found myself stopping the truck often so the two of them could take pictures, mostly of birds. Lots and lots of birds.
There were white birds like egrets and blue and gray birds like herons, but I don’t know enough about the different kinds of birds to identify most of them. We have a couple of excellent birding books, but we never seem to remember to bring them with us when we make this drive.
One bird I do know is the roseate spoonbill. These are probably Terry’s favorite birds, and she never passes up the chance to take a picture of one.
There was also a small egret that had all four of us laughing because we stopped to take its picture, and then it ran along beside the truck for a short distance before we stopped to take another picture of something. When we did, it stopped with us and stood next to the truck until we started moving again, and then it kept pace with us. Of course, we weren’t driving all that fast, but it seemed like he wanted to hang out with us for a while. A couple of times he seemed to have lost interest in us because he stopped to grab a bite to eat from whatever he saw along the way, but then he would come flying up beside the truck and land again and run alongside us some more. This went on for probably half a mile, with us stopping to take pictures and him stopping with us and then running or flying right alongside us again. I told Destiny maybe it was her spirit animal.
This drive is one of our favorite places for showing visitors alligators, and it’s not uncommon to see a dozen or more in the seven miles. But right now, the water level is very high, and most of the places where we normally see alligators lounging in the sun are underwater. But we did spot one and spend some time taking its picture.
By the time we finished the drive and took a lot more pictures than I have room to post here, we had all worked up an appetite, so we went to Dixie Crossroads for dinner. This is always one of our favorite seafood restaurants, and we’ve never been disappointed. Destiny and I did pause long enough for somebody to take a picture of us, but not too long because we were really hungry!
We’re off to make some more memories today, which I’ll be telling you about soon.
Thought For The Day – I always mean what I say. I may not mean to say it out loud, but I mean it.