Photos From the Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve by Mary Jane Volkmann
Notes From My Residency Journal
Today is the last day of my residency with sponsor Louann Hall. I've just now been able to get online. The Internet is difficult to find here. I brought my friend Mary Jane Volkmann with me this year. We have traveled daily to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve, so we are both quite tired now. It was a splendid adventure.
We saw a wild boar,a raccoon, and numbers of ducks, coots, herons,wood storks, white and black ibis, egrets, roseate spoonbills, bald eagles, and osprey. We also saw numerous alligators in a variety of ages and sizes, including some mammoth old bull gators.
We took our lunch each day and enjoyed using our binoculars in our folding lawn chairs. Half the fun was watching the tourists with their huge camera lenses and huge vehicles, trying to navigate the narrow trails.
The mangrove swamps were fascinating on one of the trails. They looked like they were from another planet. They were growing in mud flats which had color shifts from pink to chocolate, to charcoal gray, just beautiful.
One night we cooked chicken and rice, another night we had Outback Steakhouse take out, and tonight Blackbeard's Seafood Restaurant. It was all great. New Smyrna Beach is a lovely small town with a charming downtown district, beautiful beaches, and many nature parks, including the Canaveral National Seashore. I feel very comfortable there.
Tomorrow I go back to my loft studio and Sunday I unpack and clean my studio. I'll be back to Fair Oaks a week from this Sunday with more adventures.