Lots of people recommended the Ellie Schiller State Park and Wildlife Refuge. We did not know that you could take the tram or boat it was a big surprise to us. While waiting for the boat to leave we were looking at some birds in a cage when a ranger came up to feed the birds, and asked if we wanted to. We said, “sure.” She handed each of us something that looked like cereal. She told us to hold it between 2 finger tips and the blue jay would fly up, and eat it.
After lunch, we went over to see the water fowl. Some of the water fowl were: Brown Pelicans, White Pelicans, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, Ibis, Anhinga, Cormorants, Pink Flamingos, and there were some that were brown and looked like Egrets. When Pelicans feed their babies, they catch a fish and the baby puts its head in the mama’s pouch, and eats the fish. Egrets have long necks and a short, straight beak and Ibis have short necks and a long curved beak. Great Blue Herons, despite their size can fly, and nest at the top of tall trees. Roseate Spoonbills, given their name, have a spoon shaped bill. While wading in the water, they shake their head and hopefully catch food. We saw Anhinga at the beginning of the boat ride Anhingas are black with silver wings, orange on the tip of the tail, and have a long neck. Cormorants are all black with a long neck. Don’t mistake them for Anhinga!
In the Gift Shop I met a very lovely man, we have grown a very close relationship with each other. His name is Manwell Thomphrithpust (or, for short, Manny T.) At Ellie Schiller State Park and Wildlife Refuge I learned a lot about Manny’s family. Manatees can hold their breath for 10-20 minutes and they have really heavy bones so they can sink to the bottom of waters. Also, Manatees like warm water, so when it’s winter they live in springs or rivers. When it gets warmer and the Gulf of Mexico is warm Manatees move to the Gulf of Mexico where they can get food.