Much of the marsh around the boardwalk is covered with lily pads. Despite the plethora of flower buds, only a handful of flowers were open. I knew we'd have to come back someday when they were blooming.
The invasive bull thistle was blooming everywhere. The biggest bumblebees I've ever seen were busy collecting their pollen (there's also a spotted cucumber beetle on this one--click the image for a larger view.)
Around the boardwalk we saw some ducks (too distant to ID,) and lots of red-winged blackbirds. On the trail beyond we saw &/or heard all kinds of woodpeckers (inc. red-bellied, downy & the threatened red-cockaded,) a handful of brown-headed nuthatches, Eastern bluebirds, a crow being mobbed by a Northern mockingbird, a male Eastern towhee and a few Eastern kingbirds (pictured here.)
There were dozens of dragonflies, of course. In addition to the "usual" Eastern pondhawks, there were these Needham's skimmers & blue dashers.
This eggshell was also on the path, as was half of a mouse being devoured by ants (I'll spare y'all that picture, though.)
There were quite a few mason bees about (this is a female.) We also stumbled upon 2-3 North American river otters frolicking in the water, but my brain was too busy registering what I was seeing (for the 1st time,) to work my cameras. <:\
Returning to the boardwalk area on our way out, I was absolutely delighted to see that all of the lily flowers had opened to the sun!
Investigating a nearby boat launch on our way out, we were surprised to see the sign about the manatees. We'll have to get our hands on a canoe sometime!