According to the National Weather Service, it was 20 degrees at the Cross City Airport at 5:53 a.m. CIVIL TWILIGHT begins at 6:52 a.m., the SUN WILL RISE at 7:18 a.m. and SET at 5:36 p.m. The MOON has already set and won’t rise again until 1:26 p.m., a waxing gibbous 70% illuminated. LOW TIDE at 2:55 a.m., HIGH at 9:13 a.m., LOW again at 2:26 p.m., and HIGH again at 8:44 p.m.

Went out at 6:40 a.m., and as usual the first thing I noticed was VENUS still high in the sky. I thought I saw a second star lower and to the right of Venus, but it turned out to be a plane. Went to Cook’s Cafe to get my first cup of coffee and walked back to the Park Beach, where the sky is cloudless and the color along the horizon is already fading. I have a clear view of the Crystal River nuclear power plant. It’s cold this morning, but there’s very little wind, so I’m not as cold as I was yesterday.

I got a new thermometer yesterday, a Radio Shack battery powered one that a guy down at the Cedar Key hardware store recommended. It’s wireless and digital, which makes me nervous. I’m thinking I might need an old-fashioned one too…. I’m also trying out the new gloves I got for Bob. They’re better insulated than the leather ones I got for myself because they’re men’s hunting gloves. They could actually be called writers’ gloves because they have a special trigger finger feature that makes them easy to write with….

Just noticed a flock of about 20 DUCKS out a ways from the Park Beach. I need to read up on Cedar Key’s winter ducks. When I started walking toward the far end of the beach, I saw a SPOTTED SANDPIPER working along the water’s edge. Also a few BLACK SKIMMERS out at the end of the sand spit behind the Cedar Cove townhouses and a WILLET walking in the shallow water near the skimmers.

At 7:17 a.m. the SUN is about to appear, and more and more birds are flying by, headed for the Back Bayou I think. The SUN ROSE right on schedule at 7:18 a.m., so my watch must be keeping accurate time. I hope my battery driven thermometer works as well as my battery driven watch…. At 7:28 a.m. the mudflat in front of the first Old Fenimore Mill condo building is crawling with SEMI-PALMATED PLOVERS. I counted at least 9 of them, plus a SANDERLING. When I was leaving Cedar Cove at 7:33 a.m., I noticed that the puddle in the Cedar Cove parking lot is frozen solid again this morning.

By 8:00 a.m. I was a Kona Joe’s for my second cup of coffee. It’s a beautiful sunny morning — cold, clear, and calm. I’m cold on the surface, especially the tips of my fingers, but I’m not chilled to the core. The coffee here is significantly better than it is at Cook’s Cafe and The Rusty Rim. I wonder if it’s the beans, the roast, or the way they make the coffee? Whatever the difference, it counts. I find it interesting that Kona Joe uses Green Mountain Coffee Roasters coffee, and that he has a Keurig to make decaf on request. I can see more birds from the Rusty Rim, but I like the coffee here so I’ll make do with STARLINGS on the telephone wires, GRACKLES on the Rusty Rim roof, and CORMORANTS flying by.

On my way home at 8:17 a.m., I saw a KINGFISHER near Captain Doug’s “office.”