This wonderful small preserve includes both woodland and salt marsh ecosystems with views out to the intracoastal waterway, which runs between our off-shore beach island and the North Florida mainland in this area. We are parched for rain, unfortunately, and have some wildfires in the area. The day I explored Castaway Island, smoke hung in the air--sad to see and smell. However, I did the photo documentation I could under these conditions and have a nice packet of about 4 dozen prints to carry along with other photos to a painting workshop I will be taking this weekend. I hope to start two 9" x 12" canvases at the workshop.
In one photo, you see the dock at the end of the park area, where a woman had put a something on a line into the water (crabbing perhaps?). The intracoastal waterway is in the smoky background with a sailboat and a powerboat passing each other, going in opposite directions. Another photo shows the beginning of the path to Castaway Island (a short bridge crossing a channel in the marsh is the only clue that one is has crossed to an island). On the island part of the preserve, there are about 12 informative big boards along the main path, each one describing the life of one of the preserve's "survivor" species--other than that, the area is quite untouched. Two other photos show the wetlands, grasses, etc.--one includes a great blue heron fishing (actually blue-grey in color) which will take sharp eyes to see, even if you click on the photos to enlarge them.
For this visit, I took the paths through the salt marsh; the park provides extensive boardwalks over the wettest areas, helping to protect the natural habitat as well as making exploration convenient for the visitor. Another time, I'll explore the wooded areas further from the intracoastal. We are fortunate indeed in the Jacksonville, Florida area to enjoy a rich variety of habitats and to have many thousands of acres in these areas protected in preserves and parks.
Question of the day: Isn't it amazing how deep the creative and spiritual renewal available to us when we explore natural areas?