Tag Archives: North River Shores

Different Views~St Lucie River Region

These aerials were taken by my husband, Ed Lippisch, between September 16 and September 23, 2022. I had asked him to get some photographs other than our normally featured Sailfish Flats area between Sewall’s Point and Hutchinson Island.

I chose a few of my favorites for a series entitled “A Different View.” This past weekend, I started closely reviewing all of Ed’s photos and decided to share more. Ed captured from Stuart, to Hobe Sound, to Palm City and Port St Lucie. I think what is most clear is how close we are to the river and thus how it is clearly our responsibility to protect her. Thank you Ed for being our eye in the sky and for giving us these different views.

-Roosevelt Bridge, FEC Railroad, and US1 crossing St Lucie River, Stuart. Palm City west. -Roosevelt Bridge, St Lucie River Stuart looking east over Witham Field and Sewall’s Point to Atlantic Ocean.-Shoreline of North River Shores, just north of Roosevelt Bridge, Stuart, FL.-Closeup Roosevelt Bridge, Florida East Coast Railway, and US1. St Lucie River, Stuart.-Indian River Lagoon and Savannas Preserve State Park, Jensen/Rio and north St Lucie Co. -North Fork of St Lucie River, Port St Lucie, looking east to Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean. -Savannas Preserve State Park looking west to Savannah Club Golf Course, St Lucie Co. (I think) -Savannas Preserve State Park looking south to St Lucie River, note Sewall’s Point & St Lucie Inlet. Very old- Indian River Drive and the Florida East Coast Railroad are clearly seen along the ridge of the Indian River Lagoon. -Nettles Island in the Indian River Lagoon,  St Lucie County, Hutchinson Island. -Jensen Beach Bridge at Hutchison Island where large section of mangroves died due to drowning and poor planning. It appears some are coming back to life.-North Sewall’s Point looking from over the IRL to forks/and the St Lucie River. Line of C-23 can be seen in distance. -Evans Crary Sr. & Ernie Lyons bridges from Stuart to Sewall’s Point leading to Hutchinson Island, St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon. Rio/Jensen north, and City of Stuart sprawling north and south. -Bird Island, a Critical Wildlife Area, off South Sewall’s Point, note seagrass/macroalge beds.-Ernie Lyon’s Bridge ending at Hutchinson Island at Indian River Plantation, Marriott, right. Elliott Museum and Florida Oceanographic on left. Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean in view.-C-23 Canal, the county line between Martin and St Lucie counties. Note the difference in development patterns. “Newfield” will be constructed around Citrus Blvd. the wavy white line in the now green area of Martin County it’s pattern will not resemble PSL. -Next two photos: Another view of C-23 Canal and surrounding area near North Fork and former arm of the St Lucie River. -Next five photos: Winding North Fork of St Lucie River surrounded by development of Port St Lucie under puffy clouds. -Hobe Sound area near Bridge Road looking southwest. This is where the controversial development of Atlantic Fields was just approved by the Martin County Commission. The Polo Club where it will be built  is located close to the oval shape (maybe a horse track) seen in the green field. Atlantic Ridge State Park and Loxa-Lucie are also in this region of Martin County. The Town of Jupiter Island is along the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean at the east end of Bridge Road. There are many other developers eyeing this area or Martin County.  -Next three photos: Same area of Hobe Sound -note Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean east and right, and St Lucie River ahead. The South Fork of the St Lucie was once easy to see in this area. Since drainage of South Florida it is almost unrecognizable, but it is here. -Florida Turnpike and I95 near Bridge Road, Hobe Sound, FL. -Natural Lands near Atlantic Ridge State Park and Seabranch Preserve State Park looking east towards Jupiter Narrows, Indian River Lagoon, and Atlantic Ocean. Thank you to those who worked to save some of these lands around the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. We must conserve even more!

Thank you Ed, for giving us “a different view.”

I’d Rather be an Eagle Than a Turkey, St Luice River/Indian River Lagoon

The Bald Eagle, (Public Photo)
The Majestic Bald Eagle, (Public Photo)

Benjamin Franklin preferred the wild turkey as our national bird, as he felt the bald eagle, that sometimes steals food from other birds of prey, had “bad moral character…” Even so, one has to wonder if the United States of America would have ever reached its “greatness” if our national bird had been a turkey.

Wild turkey displays its fanned tail. (Public photo)
A beautiful but not quite as stately, wild turkey displays its fanned tail. (Public photo)

Just recently during the Stuart Air Show, my brother Todd, sent me some photos he took of an eagle soaring over the St Lucie River in North River Shores. About three weeks ago, I was pulling into Cedar Point Plaza in Stuart, I looked up and saw the unmistakable white “bald” head, large body enormous wing span of a bald eagle. Incredible! Inspirational! It made my day!

Bale Eagle flying over North River Shores. (Photo by Todd Thurlow, 11-14.)
Bale Eagle flying over North River Shores. (Photo by Todd Thurlow, 11-14.)

Today, in our Indian River Lagoon Region, birds of prey are by far more prevalent than when I was a kid growing up in Stuart in the 1970s and 80s. Even if the Indian River Lagoon system was healthier then, than it is now, in the 70s and 80s, rarely did one see the great eagle soaring or the abundant ospreys one sees today.

The reason? Of course DDT, (dichlorodiphenyltrichhloroethane), a powerful chemical used to control mosquitoes and as an agricultural insecticide. Once it became widely known that DDT was a threat to both bird and human health, primarily due to the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, in 1962, DDT’s use was eventually outlawed in the United States.

So in spite of the St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon’s extensive decline, there are more eagles about today than before. In Florida, after being designated as “endangered” since 1972, in 1995 the bald eagle was reclassified as “threatened.” The birds and their habitat remain protected.

Eagles mate for life and a pair has been reported in the area of Sewall’s Point for about four years. The photo below was taken by Greg Braun and shows one of the eagles sitting on a rock by Bird Island. Apparently, the pairs may leave each other for many months when traveling great distances, and then return to their nesting sites. There are accounts of their “mating sky dance” where the eagles lock talons hundreds of feet up in the air and then tumble, almost hitting the earth, only to release and regain their flight at the last-minute!

 

Eagle sitting near Bird Island just off of the Town of Sewall's Point. (Photo by Greg Braun, 2012.)
Eagle sitting near Bird Island just off of the Town of Sewall’s Point. (Photo by Greg Braun, 2012.)

An eagle can stand three feet in height, and its wing span can be up to 8 feet! Their eyes are just larger than human eyes and of course, their eye sight is superior, approximately 3 and 1/2 times better than a human with 20/20 vision. For instance, they are able to see another eagle flying 50 miles away and a rabbit moving over the ground a mile away. They love fish and are outstanding hunters. Females are larger than males and dominate the nest, often killing the smaller male sibling. Nature does not sugar coat the eagle’s drive to dominate and survive, especially the females….

Another strong instinct is “pruning” which chicks mimic even before they have feathers by accessing an oil gland at the base of the torso using  their curved beak to pretend they are coating  each feather.  Baby eagles must grow for about five or six years to be sexually mature and attain their white head feathers. Parents take care of the young for many months even though the young start flapping their wings around 8 weeks and are encouraged to take flight.  I was lucky to experience this wonder, when a few years ago, Dr Dale Hipson, a friend of the family, took me to his camouflaged hide out in the Corbett Wildlife Management Area to watch eagle parents dutifully feeding and teaching their young. It was an experience I will never forget. 

Dr Hipson taught me that the  word “bald” is an archaic word for “white” and this is how eagles got their name. Juvenile eagles are brown in color and often mistaken as ospreys or hawks.

Reading about eagles, it is hard to understand their migration patterns and perhaps scientists  do not really know as they can’t fly with them, but it seems some eagles in Florida migrate thousands of miles to Alaska (Snow birds!) and some are “resident” eagles remaining here. Florida is  the second most eagle-populated state in the nation other than Alaska.

Eagle nests are the largest nests known.
Eagle nests are the largest nests known. (Photo Harbor Ridge reporting/video taping  of nesting site, 2011.)
Eagle in area of Rio, as taken last week by wildlife photographer,
Eagle in area of Rio, as taken last week by wildlife photographer and Facebook friend, Rebecca Fatzinger, 11-14.)

In closing, I am happy that some birds are doing well in spite of the poor health of the Indian River Lagoon. And I have to say that with no disrespect to the turkey, I am glad the eagle is our national bird!

Benjamin Franklin preferred the turkey to the eagle as he felt the eagle was of "bad moral character" as it sometimes steals food from other birds of prey and other eagles.
Benjamin Franklin preferred the wild turkey to the bald eagle as our national bird  as he felt the eagle was of “bad moral character…”

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Florida Wildlife Commission: Managing Bald Eagles: (http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/managed/bald-eagle/)

Florida Nature: Bald Eagles: (http://www.floridiannature.com/eagleandospreyraptors.htm)

J.W. Corbett Wildlife Area, Palm Beach County, FL: (http://myfwc.com/viewing/recreation/wmas/lead/jw-corbett)

 

 

Rainbow Storm-Sunset, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Sunset over St Lucie River, September 10, 2014 by Todd Thurlow.)
Sunset over St Lucie River with storm clouds and rainbow. (September 10, 2014 by Todd Thurlow.)

At another time of my life, I lived in North River Shores, in Stuart, looking west over the wide beginning branch of the North Fork of the St Lucie River. I remember feeling like I was seeing Stuart for the very first time, although I had lived here “my whole life.” The sunsets were the most beautiful I had ever seen. Amazing… Like the canvass of the Creator, night after night.

I thought to myself, why haven’t I seen this before? Sewall’s Point, Stuart, Jensen Beach all front row seats to this phenomenon of nature…but North River Shores? This view is beyond anything one can experience anywhere in Martin County…

The years passed, life changed, and I no longer reside in North River Shores, but ironically my brother’s family lives directly across from where I did reside. And my brother still looks upon this  sky, that upon occasion, will bring you to your knees in worship of something beyond this world.

My “little” brother’s name is Todd, (http://thurlowpa.com) and he took this photo Wednesday, September 10th.

I feel the rainbow in the storm clouds is most symbolic. There is alway hope, even in the brewing, impending storm…