Day 10 – 5 March – Wild animals and a green flash at the Mucky Duck

An Island day, starting with a walk on the beach in the sunshine and wind. It’s still pretty breezy but less cold than it was. We had coffee and sorted out issues like flights, rearranging bookings and car rental following our decision to stay a few days longer.

After that I walked the Bailey Tract and the Sanibel Gardens/Malcolm Beattie Preserve. These areas represent land acquired by the SCCF [Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation] and improved for wildlife management. In some cases, land already sub-divided and set out in plots with road bases and some infrastructure has been acquired and reversed and returned to a more natural state. In addition, non-native species eradication and controlled burning is applied as part of the ecosystem management. It’s an innovative approach and balances the recreational and population pressures with the needs of wildlife incredibly well. Associated with the land management are research and education programmes and the SCCF now has an involvement in most major decisions that will affect the ongoing development of the islands. It’s an interesting model that is clearly successful, although it does have the advantage of being a relatively big fish managing a relatively small pond, so to speak.

The walk gave me close-up views of a female American Bobcat and later, in the evening, we watched an Opossum on the road. A flock of Cedar Waxwings was part of a spring migration getting underway again – another clear sign that the weather is improving. I now have 99 species on the birdlist but a day out on Monday should push it into three figures.

As it was now clear we went up to Captiva for dinner at the Mucky Duck, a cherished watering-hole that faces the setting sun. Just how popular it is can be judged by the fact you have to wait 90 minutes to get a table. And for pretty average but wholesome food, too. It stayed clear and the sunset delivered the green flash we all wanted to see [we weren’t part of the crowd that applauded] but the wind was up again, waves were crashing against the beach and it was bloody freezing outside.


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