Cedar Key

Roseate spoonbill ((Platalea ajaja) we saw while kayaking.

We recently returned from camping several days in Cedar Key, Florida. We stayed at our favorite location – Low Key Hideway. They have about 10 campsites and all located on the water. There is a small hotel and a Tiki Bar and it is adults only. Our plan was to watch the wildlife and sunsets from the deck at the campsite and go kayaking.

Dart sitting on the deck at our campsite. We always watch over the water for wildlife while he watches the campground for potential human or canine activity. Since we were the only camper two of the three nights, it was boring for him.

We arrived in the rain and it continued to rain most of the next day. During a small break in the rain on the first full day, we hauled my kayak across the street and launched from the shore. It was high enough tide to float the kayak but required walking through the silty mud. I was sure I was going to sink down to China. It was a muddy mess. I did my best to limit the mud in the kayak and took off. Once I got on more open water the wind was too much to stay out and I immediately returned.

Instead, I got some fresh squeezed margaritas from the Tiki bar and enjoyed the view. There were no spectacular sunsets to be seen the first two rainy nights but plenty of wildlife watching available.

Skate or ray in the water by our campsite.
White ibis (Eudocimus albus) feeding by our campsite.
Regis noticed this off the dock at the Tiki bar.

We were fortunate to have great weather the last day and Regis recommended launching from a boat ramp instead of the muddy shore. Great idea! The boat ramp and launch was only about a 1/2 mile from our campsite and less muddy conditions. We paddled out to the Gulf of Mexico and saw lots of birds with flocks and flocks of them flying occasionally. I rarely get to see a captivating sight of so many birds flying together in flocks.

Willet (Tringa semipalmata) feeding on an oyster bar.
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) standing on an oyster bar. Those oyster bars were rough on the bottoms of the kayaks when we occasionally scraped bottom.
American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) on an oyster bar with a willet in the background. There was an oystercatcher super highway going by on our kayak return. It appeared there was going to be an oystercatcher gathering on the gulf and they were flying by in singles and multiples. I tried very hard to get a picture, and with so many going by, I would have thought I could get just one in focus. Not.
Black-bellied plover (Pluvialis squatarola).
Willet.
Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis).

It became too hot to stay out, so we returned to the campsite and got prepared for a spectacular sunset and were not disappointed. In the middle of taking pictures, it started to rain on top of us and we had to watch the stunning colors that appear after the sun sets while sitting in the motorhome. The Tiki bar was closed the last night or I would have had a margarita in one hand while the other hand was free to press the shutter release on the camera.

Sunset from the deck at our campsite.
My last sunset picture before those clouds at the top of the picture starting dumping rain on us. See how the colors become more spectacular after the sun sets.

On this short adventure, we learned that we are incapable of properly packing for a short trip. We forgot so many things I had to run to the grocery store twice. I forgot Dart’s leash, which is unbelievable. Part of the problem was the thorough job of cleaning the RV after our summer trip and removing lots of items that would normally stay in the RV. For example, I removed many dishes to run through the dishwasher and all the towels, sheets, blankets, etc. All that stuff did not make it back into the motorhome. We published a packing list for other campers to use but we didn’t bother to use it ourselves.

We created a short video of some of the bird feeding behavior we saw from our campsite. Notice the mud on the feet of the first bird (little blue heron) as it walks and sinks into the muck. That bird doesn’t weigh much. I had to walk through stuff like that to launch the kayak and it was hard to pick my feet up after I sunk into the silty mud. Also, notice how the roseate spoonbills move there bills through the water to get food.

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