March 18, 2016
At Port St. Lucie, Florida
Along the densely settled Florida coast between Route 1 and the Atlantic Ocean is a remarkable natural remnant, Savannas Preserve State Park, which stretches 10 miles from Fort Pierce to Jensen Beach.
The park is 5,400 acres, and includes a marsh of nearly 1,000 acres, with a launch area for kayaks and canoes. I put my kayak in the marsh the other day and paddled happily for nearly two hours. I’d hiked in the park before; there are several excellent trails through representative Florida habitat, including sand pine scrub, described as globally imperiled. My son, Scott, and I hiked through the sand pine habitat only a week ago. But this was my first time on the water.
Paddling the marsh I came upon several dozen American coot, wary as always. Managed to get some photos, though nothing very good because I could not get close. They spend winters here, but I expect they are due to migrate north any day.
Among the aquatic plants were the showy swamp lily and pickerel weed, both in full bloom.