We wanted to go birding in Florida, and since Steve's sister Judy and her husband live there for the winter, we decided to visit them as well. We spent 2 days with Judy and Charlie before going over to the Atlantic coast.
J&C's winter home is in Paisley, FL, which is at the eastern edge of the Ocala National Forest, near Deland. Their other home is a log cabin in southern Indiana, and they take their RV north in the summer, usually working as camp hosts at a park in Alaska or a lighthouse in Oregon. Not a bad retirement. UPDATE 2005 Judy and Charlie have sold their Florida home, but plan to return every winter with their RV.
J&C took us out on the St. John's river, where we saw tons of birds. Including the salt water birds we saw with the professional guide in Titusville and on Merrit Island, we saw 72 or 73 species. Prizes were limpkins, glossy ibises and a black necked stilt, all first time birds for us.
Great blue heron
Our first limpkin
The manatees come into the Blue Spring in winter because of the warm (72 degree) water. There were 45 there the day we visited. This one carries a radio finder tethered to his tail.
We watched for signs of alligators
Sign of alligator :-)
and this was the biggest one we saw, about 10 ft. long, on Merrit Island