Saturday, February 1, 2014

A New Month and a New Place

Saturday, February 1, 2014  Partly cloudy, passing scattered showers, warm and humid, 28C

Today was a tiring day for me, as I moved from Port St. Lucie (which means I had to clean the condo from stem to stern, ugh), and then drove to Mims, where  I found out Andrew, the motel owner I had reserved with, gave away my room:( He called a friend up the road who did have one more room, and I got it (at a small town called Scottsmoor).  I am happy for Andrew, since when I stayed with him last year, he was concerned that the cutting  of the "Shuttle Program" was going to cause a deterioration in his business.  I suggested he go after the bird watchers. It worked, and I am out of a room! There is no justice...blah blah.

So here I am, about 100 miles north of St. Lucie (the Treasure Coast) in Brevard County (the Space Coast) with a lot less tropical influences, and a lot more temperate flora, though still greatly mixed on the coast.

In case these places do not sound familiar...after getting something from the grocery store at Titusvillle, I drove across the Lagoon to Merritt Island, which is one of the best National Wildlife Refuges in the US (140,000 acres) , established in the 1960's because the US government was building this local facility now called the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, which is also on Merritt Island.  So we nature lovers lucked out because NASA needed a huge buffer area around their space center with no development.  Thank goodness this area also is one of the primary bird habitats in North America!  What luck.  I just drove around the 20 mile parkway.  You can see the "rocket construction and preparation buildings", since they are very tall, and nothing else.  The "employee road" has a gate across it for some reason.   Lots of birds around!

I understand that NASA has applied for a permit to build a new "private sector" launch facility.  You can learn more about that and much more at the National Wildlife Refuge Website:

http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/

And isn't it telling that there is nary a word about the NWR at the NASA website...just 100% space 100% of the time.  Though, one of the first enthusiastic naturalists I met at Loxahatchee NWR in 1982, was, in fact a NASA rocket scientist. So there.

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/history/#.Uu2E3z1dViI

Just to warm you up, here are a few January 2013 photos of one of Florida's most endangered, and stunning birds, taken at Merritt Island:






Florida Scrub Jays. Of course the drabber bird is the female.  More tomorrow!