Friday, November 27, 2009

St. Augustine, Florida

On a recent trip to St. Augustine, Florida (The oldest city in the United States), we spent a gorgeous 4 days exploring the beaches, restaurants, local shops and kayaking the salt flats. Brown Pelicans were everywhere, perched on pillars, docks and anywhere else they could find a vantage point for capturing fish.

The only thing more plentiful than the pelicans were the gulls. We stopped at a restaurant on a pier for some supper. Soon after you are seated the waitress brings you a basket of various breads to feed the gulls. Each table along the perimeter of the building has a trap door  that you are able to open and throw your bread down to the hungry, greedy gulls. What they do not manage to catch falls into the bay and the equally hungry ocean fish greedily gobble up. It is a unique dining experience, and a definite must do it you visit this lovely area.
One of the shorebirds checking for handouts

This is the view from inside the restaurant. It was so beautiful and peaceful here. We've traveled to many places in the United States, but I can honestly say this is one of my favorites.

Each morning we woke early and headed to the beach to greet the sunrise. We were never disappointed by God's handywork.

We spent many hours walking the beach collecting seashells, and came across many of these gorgeous purple starfish. Our time on the beach was probably the most enjoyable of the entire trip. We met many wonderful, nice people always willing to share a smile and conversation.

Another must is a visit to the Alligator Farm.  Alligators and Crocodiles are plentiful, they give feeding demonstrations throughout the day. For me though the excitement of this place lies in the birds that are present. This is a breeding ground for several tropical birds, like the one pictured above. Isn't he gorgeous all fanned out in his breeding plumage? What female bird could resist? Literally hundreds of birds flock to this area each spring to vie for the attention of females of their own kind. April is an excellent time to visit.

The Alligator Farm is home to many resident exotic birds like this Scarlet Macaw. They also have a small population of Old World Buzzards, like the one below.

No trip to this area would be complete without a visit to the St. Augustine Lighthouse. They give guided tours several times throughout the day. This is a view of the lighthouse from our Kayaks. While out on the salt flats we saw several Dolphins and many herons and egrets. No matter how hard I tried I could not take a successful picture of the dolphins, but it was enough for me to have seen them.
I know this is a blog about Missouri, but when we are fortunate enough to visit other wonderful areas around this great country I can't resist sharing them. If you ever have the opportunity to visit St. Augustine, please do! You won't be disappointed!


  1. Shelly what a great post! Your pictures of St. Augustine's feathery inhabitants, the purple starfish, all your pictures are stunning. I thoroughly enjoy your beautifully composed macros with insects and flowers as subjects but what a treat this is! I saw the title for this post and headed right over here. We go to Siesta Key and Venice in the winter for a couple of weeks and I have always wanted to check out St. Augustine, we just never seem to get there. I think I will show this to Country Husband and maybe we can take a detour :) What a beautiful place you picked for a get-away!!! Thanks for sharing your vacation captures and the great info. Do you recall what lens you were shooting with, did you have a favorite lens?

  2. Rural Rambler...YOU MUST go to St. Augustine! It is stunningly beautiful, and the people are so nice. I cannot wait until we are able to go again, and again. Florida has long been a favorite place to visit, but St. Augustine surpassed all other destinations for us in Florida. The lens I used for the bird shots, sunset, lighthouse and boats was a Tamron 300mm zoom. The macro shots are done with a Tamron 90mm macro lens. If you talk hubby into going to St. Augustine be sure to let me know what you think of the place. I took so many pictures, I hated to bore everyone with all of them, so I picked some of my favorites.

  3. This place looks incredible! I love the regal look of the pelican and that egret in breeding plooms is a great shot.

    I think I would be in heaven visiting there. And I am guessing there are mangroves and other aquatic habitats in which one can bird watch. I so want to travel more. I figure a few more years when my kids are a bit older and we are going to go places. :)

    Thanks for the visit.

  4. Oh Julia, that is a perfect word to describe St. Augustine...Incredible. I do hope you get the chance to visit there one day. There are so many birding opportunities that you simply cannot believe it. Your kids will love the areas as well, there is kayaking on the ocean and salt flats, hiking, biking, haunted houses, haunted trolley rides, shopping, old historical sites, you name it..St. Augustine has it, not to mention the beach, and those DOLPHINS!