On a recent visit to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge we drove along Black Point Wildlife Drive and saw numerous ducks, cranes, herons, gallinules, ibis, cormorants, egrets, and alligators. My little 7 year-old grandson was mostly interested in spotting the gators and we saw 17 of them sunning themselves along the banks! Shown here are roseate spoonbills and cattle egrets. Having only my phone's camera, it was difficult to get any good photos of most of the birds because they were a bit too far away to capture without a telephoto lens.
Still, it was very enjoyable to just drive the trail and watch the birds feeding in the canals and marshlands. We spotted white ibis, glossy ibis, limpkins, great blue herons, tri-colored herons, anhingas, sandhill cranes, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, osprey, lesser scaup, common moorhens, American coots, blue-winged teal, pied-billed grebes, and northern shovelers.
It's a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors even if you've never been interested in birds. Just being out in nature can be a calming experience. Taking a walk in the woods helps get the creative juices flowing. Being in nature makes you stop to see the small details you might ordinarily miss––mushrooms, moss and lichen on tree branches, the colors of wildflowers, the unusual shapes of rocks and stones, fallen leaves, pine cones, bird feathers, seashells, and bird nests. You may also notice the shapes of the clouds, the sun rising, and the magnificent sunsets we have here in Florida. The "golden hour" just before dusk is my favorite time to photograph because the light at this time of day is truly golden!
As an artist, being in nature is a way for me to get inspired, think about my next painting, day dream, get to understand myself better, and to know how truly wonderful life is and that it is up to me to pursue living my life with joy.