Crabby

Crab at Cocoa Beach, FloridaWhen you enter the beach there is often evidence of a colony of crabs under the sand. Usually all you see is their holes, large and small. I managed to catch this one just as it scrambled back inside to hide.

The next morning there was the shell of a sea urchin outside its door. Do you think it is in its hole saying, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing?”

Sea urchin lunch outside crab hole, Cocoa Beach, FloridaHere is what they look like topside.

Ghost crab, Cocoa Beach, Florida

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Canaveral National Seashore

As I mentioned in the last post, acres and acres of the land around  NASA’s Kennedy Space Center not needed for space agency business is preserved partly as a wildlife preserve (Merritt Island) and partly as a wild, natural seashore (Canaveral National Seashore.)

I spent most of a day, walking trails, visiting historical locations, and getting coated in the salt spray from storm tossed waves. I even got rained on but it was well worth it. Another national treasure just waiting to be explored.

Here are a few images for you to enjoy. More on the historical locations another time.

If you are near Florida’s Space Coast, be sure to take some time to take a walk on the wild side.

By the way, all this was happening while they launched a SpaceX rocket from the Kennedy Space Center.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Blue Bear at Merritt Island National Wildlife RefugeAnyone who knows me knows that getting out into the wide open spaces to view the beauty of an unspoiled landscape and the creatures that call it home is a passion.

NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, FloridaAfter leaving Cocoa Beach, where my only real escape from the chaos of that over-developed tourist community was the beach in the early morning, I headed to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore. This large expanse of Florida estuary, salt marsh, mud flats, and hammocks, literally in the shadow of the NASA vehicle assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center, provide breeding grounds and refuge for many threatened and endangered species.

I would love to hike, bike, or kayak in this area but since it was mid-afternoon before I got there I had to be content with what I could see quickly, mostly from my car. The National Park Service accommodates this need (and provides those who cannot or do not want to get out of the car) with the Black Point Wildlife Drive — a 7-mile drive that winds through spectacularly unspoiled Florida scenery. Take a video tour here.

Here are a few creatures I met along the way.

Next scenes from Canaveral National Seashore.

Pretty as a Peacock

I went out with some friends one day not long ago and was told we were going to the “peacock neighborhood.” Neighborhoods in Florida, as in most places these days, seem to all have themes — palms, seashells, etc.

So I was totally unprepared for this —

Apparently, this neighborhood in Cape Canaveral used to be the home of a wildlife sanctuary. When the sanctuary closed some of the peafowl refused to leave. Love them or hate them (because of their raucous cry and other birdbrain habits) — you have to admit they sure are pretty.