Florida painter, Everglades, Marco Island, artist Jo-Ann Sanborn


Boat Trip, On the River, daily painting by Everglade artist JoAnn Sanborn

On the River
5x7, acrylic on board
$150, framed

Marco Island is the first and the largest of the 10,000 islands. Protected since the 60's, the 10, 000 islands wild life refuge is home to the largest mangrove forest in the world and a number of endangered species.

A boat trip from Marco Island to Goodland will show you a few more of the islands, and bring you other rewards as well. As you lose sight of the buildings on Marco the sounds of civilization fade, if you can let time slip away it could be a hundred or a thousand years ago.

The light sparks on the water, and a soft breeze gently moves the higher branches of the trees. A silver fish jumps with a rainbow splash. A ray of sunlight spots a great blue heron in the mangrove legs, his head turned and his sharp eyes watch the water for lunch. A red shouldered hawk sits high on a bare branch waiting for some small creature below to venture into the open and become his prey.

If you're very fortunate, you might see the flock of roseate spoonbills that frequent the tidal sandbar off to the right. You are most likely to see them early or late in the day. The spoonbills, arge wading birds are one of the most striking birds found in North American. It's a bright, almost shocking pink, nests in the dense mangrove forests, and consumes a varied diet by wading in shallow water with bills partially submerged swinging its head back and forth in a sideways motion. When it senses prey, the bird snaps its bill closed and swallows its prey.

If you don't live nearby and your're not able to take the trip yourself, you can get a virtual tour here and a map of the islands here.

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