A bicycle tour south through Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key begins with great egrets, brown pelicans and an opportunistic gull.
After grooming atop a pole, an agile resident settles into a standing split.
Vying for scraps, a laughing gull plops down on a pelican’s back as it dives for mullet.
Next is a ride through the Robinson Preserve.
Stretches of paved path yield to elevated sections winding through mangrove forest.
Hidden breaks in the forest lead to amazing vistas of the bay.
A flock of white pelicans slowly bobs up and down until one notices a school of fish.
An awkward orange, black and white ruckus erupts. The collective briefly takes flight.
Crashing down onto one another, the frenzy lasts maybe a minute (but it doesn’t appear that many catch a snack).
Compared to Robinson, Perico Preserve is a smaller and younger restoration project. Bikes are restricted to a small loop, but the route includes curious flora and fauna, including fallen trees and sharp turns.
Drivers and cyclists on Manatee Avenue are forced to take in the view as a yacht lumbers through the drawbridge over Anna Maria Sound.
More avian natives eye tourists from a weathered jetty on Coquina Beach.
Taking such subjective advice in Florida (and across the US) is hard these days.
A dune daisy blooms below one of many towering resorts occupying Longboat Key.
The day’s ride begins and ends on Palma Sola Bay.