Month: January 2021

Shelling on Anclote Key Preserve State Park

Just off the shores of Tarpon Springs is a barrier island known as Anclote Key. It is an amazing place to find some great shells. The island is also only accessible by boat.

Anclote Key Preserve State Park is Florida State Park and historical site located 3 miles off Tarpon Springs. The park does allow for camping on the north end of the island as well as picnic pavilions and grills. Wildlife includes various birds and sea life. The island is host to a picturesque lighthouse.

As far as shelling goes, Anclote Key is a nice site to find shells and sponges. Sponges are sparse in most places we go shelling, but the Tarpon Springs sponge docks are world famous with the title of the Sponge Capital of the World. As the tides roll in and out, Anclote Key becomes a resting place for many of the sponges the sea chooses to relinquish.

Shelling on the island was good. We went with a charter called Odyssey Cruises. They were one of the most affordable shelling cruises we have been on. They do pack the boat full and if you are reading this while the pandemic is still going on, not everyone will be wearing masks. The trip is a 2 and 1/2 hour trip which is barely enough time. Check the low tide charts and try to book during a low tide cruise for optimal shelling. The run back to back cruises. They are a business and quantity is what they are going for.

Two of our shells from the tour.

When my wife goes on these trips, I do look for shells, but am more interested in photography. The photography opportunities are plentiful. On this trip I found a beautiful sea star, a juvenile Herring Gull and an American Oystercatcher.

We are looking forward to heading back to Anclote Key. Any friends with a boat up for an all day excursion?

Northern Flicker

One of the neat things about being in Florida is the wide variety of birds and animals that are out our backdoor. I mean that in a literal sense. The other day I looked out our back window and saw this bird I have never saw before. I quickly got my camera and got a few rudimentary shots before the bird flew away. With a little research I discovered this is a Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker

This photo appears to be a male Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker. The northern flicker is a woodpecker. ¬†Often seen feeding on the ground in lawns, where they eat lots of ants and worms. The flicker is the only woodpecker in North American that commonly finds food on the ground. Apparently this guy was having a feast in my neighbor’s backyard the day he came to visit.

Unlike other woodpeckers, flickers typically migrate south when inclement weather arrives. In the spring the northern flicker establishes its own nesting territory. The do this by drumming on trees and any other object which makes noise as a way of warning others to stay away.

Northern Flicker