It was about 68 degrees when I left the condo at 6:30 a.m. I can’t see any stars in the dark sky, so I’m guessing it’s cloudy. Got to the Park Beach at about 6:45 a.m. and was wondering whether I might see the WOOD STORK again. I tried to scan the far end of the beach with my binoculars, but it was too dark to see anything. Then I noticed some movement. I kept looking and finally made out the STORK! I watched it walk the full length of the beach to the kayak landing, turn around, and begin walking back. It was very steady and rhythmic in its walking and feeding. It looked almost as if it was pulling itself along with its big bill. All its movements were coordinated: its two long legs were walking, and its big bill was sweeping and feeding. When it got to the Cedar Cove canal, it paused, and I thought it was going to turn around and head back, but it kept on going. I raced around to the Cedar Cove town houses and found it still moving right along at 7:00 a.m.

It’s now 7:15 a.m. While I was writing, I lost track of the STORK’S progress, but when I scanned the beach from here the full length of the Old Fenimore Mill condo buildings, I thought I saw it, but when I looked more closely, I realized I had a GREAT BLUE HERON in my binoculars. I was disappointed, but I decided to scan the whole beach one last time with just my eyes, and there it was, feeding in the water where the beach begins to curve around into the Back Bayou. Even at that distance I could tell that it was a STORK, not a heron, by the way it was moving. When I checked it with my binoculars, I could see the big, downward curving bill, and while I was watching, it turned around and headed back toward me.

At 7:30 a.m., the light is improving. CIVIL TWILIGHT passed at 7:17 a.m, and the SUN will rise at 7:41 a.m.. Three kayaks and a fishing boat are out on the Gulf. There’s also a sailboat anchored in front of the Park Beach. The BLACK SKIMMERS are now visible and active, and other birds are flying by. The STORK turned around again and is now headed toward the Back Bayou and is about to disappear around that distant curve.

There’s lots of suffused pink along the cloudy horizon this morning, and there’s a gentle breeze blowing from the South/Southwest. In the time it took me to describe the sky and the breeze, the STORK turned around yet again and is now headed back toward me. It seems to be doing laps along the far end of this long beach.

I wonder if the STORK’S performances today and yesterday are related to the LOW TIDE? I first spotted it this morning at 6:45 a.m., which was 20 minutes after the 6:25 LOW TIDE. Yesterday Nita and I first saw it at about 6:45 a.m., a little less than an hour after the 5:47 LOW TIDE. So maybe the hour or so after LOW TIDE is a good time to look for WOOD STORKS?

As if this morning’s STORK and SUNRISE weren’t enough, one of Penny’s “pelations of pelicans” just showed up. I’d say at least 40 WHITE PELICANS just settled on the sand bar near the entrance to the Back Bayou. The SUN’S up and it’s time to move on, but I hate to leave this amazing spot. The STORK has now disappeared, though, so maybe its given me permission to leave? On my way out at 7:50 a.m., I saw a TRICOLORED HERON in the Cedar Cove Marina .

In the big parking the runs the length of the Cedar Key Marina, I encountered a couple who were camping in a 1987 Westfalia. They told me about some outfits that offer services to Westfalia owners: GoWesty.com in California, which sells parts, and TheSamba.com, which advertises Westfalias that are for sale. Another one called GTRV.com in Austin, Texas will customize any make of van to be just like a Westfalia.

At 8:05 a.m. I saw TWO TRICOLORED HERONS and heard a KINGFISHER in the Cedar Cove Marina. Altogether it’s been a great morning.

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