|Big Swarm of Sea Birds Surrounding Shrimp Boats
near St. Johns River Ferry in Florida
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A shrimp boat/trawler was surrounded and followed by a big swarm of seabirds as the boat was coming in
from Atlantic Ocean into the St. Johns River near St. Johns River Ferry and Jacksonville in northeast Florida.
We were driving on scenic Heckscher Drive (i.e., Route 105 or Route A1A) along the St. Johns River near
Clapboard Creek and we were happily surprised to see lots of bird actions on St. Johns River near St. Johns
River Ferry where Clapboard Creek flows into the St. Johns River. So, we got off Heckscher Drive and drove
into the parking lot of the landmark Sandollar Restaurant & Marina to enjoy watching these interesting bird
We enjoyed seafood buffet lunch in Sandollar Restaurant & Marina located at 9716 Heckscher Dr.,
Jacksonville, FL 32226 while watching lots of bird actions on the St. Johns River. Notice that in addition to
many birds in the air, there were also many birds on water surface following the fishing boat.
I took a movie clip of the actions of the swarm of seabirds chasing this shrimp boat as shown in the following
One of many pelicans flying and fishing over the St. Johns River near Mayport.
Some pelicans, cormorants, and gulls were standing on the marina dock near the Sandollar Restaurant &
Many gulls were busily catching fish on St. Johns river where Clapboard Creek flows into St. Johns River near
Sandollar Restaurant & Marina.
We were at this location during the time period of rising tide such that the sea water was back flowing from St.
Johns River into Clapboard Creek and its associated salt marsh estuaries. It seems that many fish are
following the back flow of the rising tide into these salt marsh estuaries. The abundance of fish attracts many
gulls, pelicans and other fishing birds busily catching fish at this location of mixture of seawater and fresh water
during the time of rising tide.
Many gulls were also standing on the marina dock.
Zoom in on a pelican and three gulls on water.
A picture of Sandollar Restaurant & Marina located at 9716 Heckscher Dr., Jacksonville, FL 32226
Map: Click here for interactive Google Map showing location of Sandollar Restaurant & Marina
We drove from New Jersey going south to Florida. We did stop at a few places along the way for bird
watching which will be reported lated.
Sandollar Restaurant & Marina near Jacksonville is our first lunch stop in Florida and we were immediately
impressed by the interesting and exciting bird activities in Florida. This charming seafood restaurant has large
glass windows for customers to enjoy its great waterfront views of activities of large ocean cruise ship,
gigantic cargo ships, fishing boats and many kinds of fishing birds. Sometime dolphins may show up too. This
place will grab hold of you and soothe your soul.
Many pelicans were flying and active over the St. Johns River in Mayport area.
Many gulls were busily fishing on St. Johns River near Clapboard Creek.
Some more pelicans were on the ferry terminal nearby.
美國東南部幾州，包括 Florida, 的大樹都長了很多很長的鬍子。
Many long beard trees in several states, including Florida, in southeast USA. These long beards are known as
Spanish Moss or as air plant. Spanish moss has been used for various purposes, including building insulation,
mulch, packing material, mattress stuffing, and fiber. In the early 1900s it was used commercially in the
padding of car seats.
We started our 2-week driving trip on January 2, 2014 going south from New Jersey along I-95 through
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and into Florida. January is supposed
to be the high season in Florida with lots of tourists, But, in this 2-week trip, we did not have to make hotel
reservations at all. The use of Information Age Technologies, including GPS navigator, smartphone, tablet,
smarter car, cloud storage with auto sync, enables us to enjoy the 2-week driving tour with very flexible trip
itinerary and lots of freedom without the rigid constraints of hotel reservations. We just drive according to our
relaxed and leisure pace to enjoy sightseeing and wildlife watching. Details on how we use the Information
Age Technologies in enjoying the flexibility and freedom in such 2-week driving tour are described on my web
On the south bound trip, we stopped and toured Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Cape
Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer-bank Barrier islands of North Carolina, Magnolia Plantation and
Savannah NWR in South Carolina.
We drove south along east coast of Florida to tour several Points of Interest along east coast. Then in
southern Florida, we drove from east coast to west coast while touring northern part of Everglades National
Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Then we drove north along west coast of Florida to tour several
Points of Interest along west coast. Then we drove northwest into Panhandle Region of Florida to tour two
major Points of Interest in Panhandle.
The sequence of Points of Interest that we visited is the following:
Sandollar Restaurant and Marina near Jacksonville -> Blue Spring State Park -> Merritt Island National
Wildlife Refuge -> Viera Wetlands -> Lake Okeechobee -> Everglades National Park -> Big Cypress
National Preserve -> Myakka River State Park -> Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park -> Cedar Key
National Wildlife Refuge -> Lower Suwannee NWR -> Paynes Prairie State Park -> St. Marks NWR
-> Gulf Islands National Seashore.
On our return trip, we drove from Pensacola area north through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North
Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and arrived back to New Jersey on the evening of January 16, 2014.
We also stopped and toured Mystery Hill and JC Raulston Arboretum of North Carolina State University in
North Carolina and Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware to see huge number of snow geese in the winter. The
photos and associated stories of the south bound trip and of the north bound trip will also be presented in the
Our original plan for this trip included J.N. Ding Darling NWR. However, we arrived at this NWR on a Friday
and this NWR is closed on every Friday. So, we skipped this NWR on this trip. However, we did tour this
NWR and southern part of Everglades National Park 10 years ago in February 2004 as shown on my web
Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge, consisting of 13 islands, probably is very beautiful. However, when we
arrived at Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge, we ran into a powerful rain storm with huge and fierce waves
and almost no visibility such that we had to turn away. We also drove through the 9-mile Nature Drive in the
eastern part of Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, but we did not see any interesting wildlife
probably because there is no large impoundments or lakes along this 9-mile Nature Drive.
We thank our friends, Chih Kwan Chen, Shan Cheng Chen, Engmu Shih and Nancy Shih, for birding
information on Merritt island NWR, Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera in Florida (Viera Wetlands),
Dan Click Ponds, Blue Spring State Park, Myaka River State Park and Magnolia Plantation.