We enjoy visiting the National Wildlife Refuges and
St. Marks is one of our favorites.
St. Marks NWR is quite large with several parcels located in the area but the main unit is located about 20 miles from our Sopchoppy campsite. This spot starts with a very nice visitor center followed by 7 miles of road winding past ponds and forest and ending at a lighthouse on
This place never disappoints and this trip was no exception. We spent 2 full days out here in cloudy, chilly (for
temps making our way up and down the road and saw lots of good stuff.
We saw about every kind of heron and egret possible for the area.
Great Blue Heron and White Ibis
The ponds near the lighthouse are a great spot for ducks and there was quite a variety to be seen.
We saw plenty of raptors like Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Northern Harriers and Red Shouldered Hawks. We even saw a pair of Bald Eagles with one sitting on a nest. Look hard - she's in there!
Bald Eagle on Nest
There were a few gators out too, including one ‘whopper’.
We didn’t see anything new to add to our lifelist, though we had heard that a Vermillion Flycatcher had been spotted on the refuge recently. This bird is more commonly seen in southern
and in Mexico. We inquired about it at the visitor center
and was given the location it was seen a few times, but we weren’t able to get
a glimpse of it.
Later on at one of the other St. Marks NWR units closer to Sopchoppy, we were able to get a good but brief look at a bobcat!
St. Marks Bobcat
Yep, we love the National Wildlife Refuges!