Venice, Florida is known as the “shark tooth capital” and the shore is flocked with people straining the sand on the shore for prehistoric shark teeth. The beach is very close to the house we are renting and we have taken to visiting it first thing in the morning and then again around dusk.
One morning we were fortunate enough to have an osprey and a bald eagle soaring above our heads as we strolled along the beach. Later we had a stingray, the bird of the ocean, swim past us. A dolphin “fished” near the shore, taking advantage of the schools of fish trapped by the sandbar.
I spent Mother’s Day enjoying Mother Nature. I was thrilled to get phone calls from all three of our sons, and our “adopted” daughter. Although we are dispersed throughout the east coast we keep in frequent contact, but it was still good to hear from all of them. It made my heart sing.
We didn’t get moving too fast and it was about noon when we finally arrived at the park. Oscar Scherer Park has 1,400 acres and 15 miles of trails. Much of the land for the park was donated by Elsa Scherer Brown owner of the South Creek Ranch. It was named for her father who invented a shoe dyeing process.
It’s an inviting park for hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, or non-motorized boating. You can rent a canoe or kayak there or swim however a sign near the picnic benches advises that if you see an alligator while swimming it is wise to get out of the water. Uh, no kidding!
Sunday must have been a banner day for caterpillar hatching that the fuzzy little guys were all over. They kept wiggling across the street, and Bob in an effort to avoid them was swerving like a drunk driver.
We had a nice mile or so stroll, meandering through the woods and along the water. It was relatively cool under the forest canopy and the smell of the mangrove groves was intoxicating. Here and there I would catch sight of an unusual red flower.
We startled a raccoon who was fishing in the stream. I continue to be delighted and restored by the abundance and diversity of nature in this area and am thrilled with the number of parks to choose from.
A short distance from the park is the Venice drawbridge and at the foot is the Pelican Alley restaurant where one can even dock a boat.
The seafood is delicious and affordable and the view toward the little beach on the other side, the draw bridge, the boats, and the pelicans makes for the perfect scene.
Pelicans are a strange and wonderful bird. The sight of a flock of them soaring overhead is indescribable. Awkward on land, they are graceful and lovely in the air.
Nearly extinct at one time in this area, they had just come off the endangered species list in November only to be threatened now with the horrendous oil spill in the Gulf. Luckily the water and air currents have combined to keep the oil from polluting this area so far.
It was another soul satisfying day on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida.