Just to the south of Crystal River and on the northern edge of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, a winding road makes its way through the village of Ozello. Today’s population is about 600, in 1900 it was 49. Until 1961, you could only reach the town by boat. The many twists in the road force you to drive slowly through the salt marsh which is dotted with many little islands of Sabal Palms and cedar trees. The road ends at a small county park and boat ramp. We spent awhile here just watching the water, porpoises chasing schools of mullet, ospreys soaring overhead, flocks of swallows heading for their roost and scooping up insects on the way. There was only one other car in the parking lot but the occupants were out on a boat so the place was ours.
Just before you reach the end of the road, a causeway crosses a small bay and there is a small restaurant here. They raise their own blue crabs so they are able to have molting crabs pretty much throughout the year. This is important for those of us who may need a soft-shell crab “fix” at a moment’s notice! Today, however, we enjoyed an appetizer of garlic and lemon shrimp along with a bowl of clam chowder. A very nice way to fortify ourselves for the drive home.
Our day was a good one. The only thing better than enjoying the bounty Nature offers is to do so with someone you love by your side. We are blessed.
A few images to conclude our day on Florida’s Nature Coast:
– A red-bellied woodpecker inspects the end of a branch for an evening snack.
– Most likely a fall migrant, a Spotted Sandpiper announces his presence from a rocky perch. He’s already wearing his fall suit as during the summer, his breast would be very spotted.
– The Great Blue Heron demonstrates the proper way to swallow a Lizard fish, in case you need to learn this skill. (Check out the gallery for a series of this event.)
– A Blue Crab skitters across the shallow flats.
– Yes, we truly did reach “The End Of The Road” – see, the sign says so!
– As the sun headed for the other side of the planet, it seemed to drag all the dark clouds of the day along with it and the sky, as well as our souls, was clear as our day came to a close.
Thanks for letting us share our day with you.
There are a few additional images at “Ozello – August 2012” in the Gallery.
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit.