So it was lovely to read a newspaper report about the gray fox. The last gray fox before now at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park was seen some eight years ago. Park rangers thought it was gone for good.
But no, it wasn't. In recent days, a maintenance worker spotted a gray fox and snapped a photo for proof. Since then, a few more turned up including one pregnant female. Pretty cool. Rangers caution us to keep away from any gray fox we may notice at the park - they're skittish around people. And please don't feed them either. They're doing just fine on their regular diet of tasty rabbits and rats and mice, perhaps supplemented by a course of crabs and lizards and iguana eggs now and then. When you visit the park, also look around for those mama and papa iguanas. You're likely to see wading birds or ducks or hawks too. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park has more than 200 species of them. Other creatures within the park boundaries are opossums and turtles, gray squirrels and gopher tortoises and indigo snakes. No worries - indigo snakes aren't poisonous, though they can grow fairly big. Personally, I've never seen one during many trips to the park. I've always found that Birch State Park serves nicely as a refuge from all those tourists and locals, all those cars and hotels and fire trucks. It's a throwback to South Florida as South Florida once was, a subtropical jungle. Today's South Florida looks very different, of course. For many excellent reasons we're a popular vacation destination, offering sunshine and warmth and sea and sand along with wonderful restaurants, unique attractions, top hotels. But I think it's nice to learn we're also still popular among gray foxes. Like the people, they know a good thing when they see one.