by Gene Benedict


October 11, 2017        

Life in Cedar Key is changing. The blackhooded laughing gulls who were visitors for several months have left the area taking their loud raucous voices with them. The roseate spoonbills, close cousins of the ibises, have vacated the Back Bayou behind Annie’s for points south to Sanibel and beyond.

Skimmers have moved in, those long-winged seabirds, white below and black above with long orange and black beaks. Their lower beaks are longer than their upper, I believe, the only commonly seen bird with that type of beak configuration. They fly so gracefully, most generally in groups, with their mouths open, their lower beaks skimming the water surface in search of food. They are best seen in early morning off Cedar Cove and the Island Room.  

Back, too are the storks. They hang out behind Rose’s and Crabby’s not far from the old railroad trestle. Anne spotted them last week, and I saw three together a couple of days ago on a landing approach, their very long wings in a graceful arch gliding in with legs stretched out behind.         

Back, too, are the terns, white and smaller than gulls, resembling them somewhat. Terns are more streamlined than gulls and most have orange beaks. They can hover and they dive for small fish in the water.


The millet has been cut, some fields twice, and the dove hunters are having a fieldday. The peanuts have been dug and laid out in windrows to dry before picking. Some have already been picked. The marsh grass is in full bloom and may be contributing to some of the sneezes, the hayfever, in the area.         

The World Series is but a few days away. College football is in mid-season. And NASCAR is nearing the final race in November in Atlanta. The Fall Seafood Festival is this weekend.      

Anne wears jeans sometimes and carries a heavy long-sleeved shirt wherever she goes. Nick, too, has donned jeans, and most days now wears shoes with socks. Van has given up shorts and is wearing a pullover sweatshirt in the mornings.         

And the sun, while not that long ago rose over Gerald’s woodcarving shop now rises next to the Key Motel. It comes up over an hour later and sets nearly two hours earlier than a few months ago.         

Yep, it’s that time of year, and I think I’ll suspend my search for Trouble in Cedar Key until after the Festival. 

Copyright © by Gene Benedict 11 October 2017