Myakka River State Park, etc.

January 23, 2016 23:08 – 23:08

Tonight will be my last night in Sarasota for this trip. Tomorrow, I plan to drive across the state to West Palm Beach, via the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Today, I had planned to go to Corkscrew, but at the last minute decided on Myakka River State Park, instead. At first, I thought Myakka was going to be a bust. Many of the trails—including the Canopy Walk trail—were flooded. But, I persisted and finally managed to actually see some birds—and I got a nice 9K hike in as well.

The first two trails I tried were flooded. How flooded, you ask? This flooded.

I did see some people emerging carrying their shoes—but, I’m not one for putting my bare feet into places where I can’t see the bottom.

Three’s a charm though, and within five minutes on the trail, a couple had just startled a red shouldered hawk, but had managed to see where it landed, deeper in the woods. I managed to get a couple of side shots before it flew away.

My fourth trail was pretty uneventful. In fact, since I was going for distance, I didn’t lug a camera—just the cell phone camera. There were some trenches adjacent to the path (a horse trail, in fact, but no horses were in evidence today), and I did see a great egret and a great blue heron, but they were moving too quickly for my phone. Here’s where one was, only moments earlier.

The fifth trail was a “birdwalk”. It was a short-ish pier that jutted out into the Myakka River. It was extremely windy, and I even opted to take my jacket with me. I was glad for the jacket. Right off the bat, I saw some birds that I thought were small gulls. Through the telephoto camera lens, though, I saw that they were kites! Finally—some close kite pictures. Although, the damn things wouldn’t hold still. I did manage to get my best ever picture of a kite, though!

A few steps later, I spotted what I believe is a juvenile little blue heron. This one finally has the dark blue coloring, unlike the immature little blues I’ve seen earlier on this trip and in Huntley Meadows this past summer, which have white bodies.

A few steps further still, I spotted what I believe to be a juvenile snowy egret! This is a new bird for me, if that’s what it is. Upon closer inspection, however, it’s possible that it’s an immature little blue heron that simple hasn’t turned blue yet.

I also saw this odd duck, which I’ve not yet identified.

For dinner tonight, I decided it was finally time to try the much touted Barnacle Bill’s. I wasn’t expecting much, particularly when the hostess offered to seat this solo diner in the lounge area, suggesting that the presence of sports on big screen television would be an attractive option. I wonder if my “Oh, god, no!” was too loud and emphatic? Nope. I don’t think so.

After that start, I was expecting even less of the cuisine. The atmosphere wasn’t helped by a squealing kitchen door that needs lubrication, and a little boy (about 6, I think) whose parents were oblivious to his knocking his cup against the table—repeatedly—and not in sync to any music anyone in the dining room could hear.

But, my low expectations about the food were dead wrong. I ordered the somewhat-pricey seafood pasta, with marinara sauce, expecting the food to match the atmosphere. Instead, it was marvelous! The seafood was fresh—jumbo Gulf shrimp, bay scallops (the small kind—but they were fresh and not overcooked), mussels, calamari, and some kind of unidentified fish. The latter was good, but I have no clue what it was. In any case, Barnacle Bill’s gets a thumbs up. If/when I go back, however, it won’t be on a weekend evening.



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