Dune Ridge Trail, Little Talbot Island, Florida
Date: Friday 27th June 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 6km

We set out this morning to visit Little Talbot Island State Park. Little Talbot Island is located 17 miles North-East of Jacksonville, Florida. The island consists of forests, dunes and salt marshes. Information about Little Talbot Island State Park. The entrance fee to the State Park is only $5 per car.

While Becky went to the beach, I opted to walk the four-mile Dune Ridge Trail. After checking out the Information Board, I set off along the trail.

Dune Ridge Trail Information Board:

Start of Dune Ridge Trail:

I found out about the Little Talbot Island trail on the excellent Florida Hikes website. I only wish I had bothered to read the two comments prior to setting off.

1) Take bug spray for the wooded area.
2) DEFINITELY take bug spray for the canopied area……….matter of fact, take two cans!

I would go so far as to say take three cans!!!

The initial track was fairly wide however it soon narrowed to such an extent that countless large spider webs started to span across the trail. These orb webs hosted spiders ranging from 1cm up to around palm-sized! I had no idea if any of these spiders could give a nasty bite! While it was easy enough to avoid the webs that were glistening in the sun, the ones in the shade were harder to notice.

However, as I am not particularly frightened of spiders, I carried on.

Golden Orb Web Spider:

What was much worse than the palm-sized spiders were the numerous mosquitos that started landing on me. I killed most before they had a chance to bite but failed to avoid several bites. If I stopped for any more than two seconds, I would have several mosquitos on me. I was definitely regretting wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

However it was worth stopping to photograph a beautiful Blue Dasher Dragonfly.

Blue Dasher Dragonfly:

One mile into the Dune Ridge Trail:

Orchard Webweaver:

Dune Ridge Trail:

I was relieved to escape the buglife when the narrow path through the forest opened up into an area of dunes which led down onto the beach.

Dune Ridge Trail:

Approaching the dunes:


Approaching the beach:

I really enjoyed the walk along the beach. This part of the walk was bug-free albeit the temperature was around 90F.

Little Talbot Island Beach:

Little Talbot Island Beach:

I saw several Horseshoe Crab shells whilst walking along the beach. No living crabs unfortunately. I have always wanted to see a Horsehoe Crab - a 450 million year old species considered to be a "living fossil".

Horseshoe Crab (shell):

Little Talbot Island Beach:

A Godwit?:

Little Talbot Island Beach:

It was also really nice to see a Gopher Tortoise.

Gopher Tortoise:

Gopher Tortoise:

On the beach, I also saw what I initially thought to be Black-headed Gulls. However, I soon noticed that the leg colour was different and they had white around their eyes. On looking up these birds, I believe them to be Laughing Gulls.

Laughing Gulls:

Walkway back to car park:

I had a bite to eat in the BBQ area next to the car park where I spotted a Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly as well as countless ants.

Palamedes Swallowtail:

As well as spotting five vultures during the drive home, I also saw a Bald Eagle. No photos unfortunately as we were driving along a main road at the time and could not stop. Still REALLY chuffed though with seeing such an incredible bird .