Audubon visits the Duck Keys
and observes the Semipalated Snipe or
to May 4, 1832 - Audubon sails from Indian Key , to Key
West - The journey takes 5 days, rather than usual day
and a half in length. Audubon's trip takes longer because
he makes a number of stops along the way. He stops at
Vaca Key, the bahia-honda Duck Keys, and numerous other
mangrove islands along the way.
On May 1,
1832 Audubon stops at the Duck Keys
Snipe or Willet.
males are smaller than the females. I have presented
you with figures of the adult both in the winter and
reference in his Ornithological Biography, Vol. III, p.
510, Audubon writes that he visited the Duck Keys.
However his account is not about a "duck" or Cormorant
found on Duck Key and which many believe gave the island
its name. Rather, Audubon's account is about another
bird, the Semipalated Snipe or Willet.
the 1st of May 1832, while rambling over some large
and partially submersed islets of the Floridas called
Duck Keys (Duck Key, the Tom's Harbor Islands, and
possibly other small islets now join by the Overseas
Highway) scantily covered with bushes and some
mangroves, I saw a good number of these birds (The
Semipalated Snipe or Willet) in company with the
Great Marbled Godwit. . The willets were all paired
and very clamorous, although we found none of their
nests. To my great surprise, I saw them alight on the
bushes and trees with as much ease as if they had been
land birds, standing erect, open their wings to the
sun, and await our approach, exhibiting, when thus
perched, much less shyness than when on the ground. .
. . A few days after my visit to the Duck Keys, some
nests containing eggs were found on other islets not
far distant. . . "
flight of this species is strong, rapid, and greatly
protracted its movements on wing greatly resemble
those of the Oyster-catcher, and unless during
breeding season, are performed low over the waters.
they seldom rise without emitting their usual notes,
which resemble the syllables will-wilet, or will,
will, willet, and are different from the softer and
more prolonged whistling notes which they emit during
the love season. . . ."
Willets retire to the interior of the larger
salt-marshes for the purpose of forming their nests
and raising their broods in security. There, in the
vicinity of the shallow pools, which frequently occur
in such -places, the birds prepare a nest on the
ground, among the rank grass, of which the tenement
itself is composed. It's usually raised to the height
of from three to five inches, and is , I believe,
annually augmented or repaired. . . . The eggs afford
excellent eating. . . . "
accounts speak of salt ponds located on the island called
Duck Key sometime in the 1830s and records indicate that
human inhabitants - the Howe family worked the salt ponds
sometime during that period. Audubon makes no reference
to meeting anyone when he stopped to explore the "Duck"
Keys, so it seems likely that the salt ponds were not
constructed on Duck Key during the time of Audubon's
visit and the island was inhabited after 1832.
earlier painted the cormorant after visiting some
mangrove island near Indian Key on April 26,
picture taken at Duck Key for larger image of White
Shown in the background
are some of the villas which are part of the Hawk's Cay
Resort and Inn. For information about this upscale
destination resort and reservations click on a link below.
Both links below: Hawks cay Resort and Duck Key Vacation Rentals at Hawks Cay provide access to all the same amenities, pools, etc
The difference is that the rooms and villas booked through Hawks Cay Resort have met certain criteria ( furnishings, soft goods, flat screen tv, etc) to be included in the "Preferred" Hotels and Resorts group.
. Hawks Cay Resort - for both rooms at the Inn and "preferred" villas
61 Hawks Cay Blvd
Duck Key, FL 33050 .Duck Key Vacation Rentals at Hawks Cay Resort
51 Hawks Cay Boulevard
Duck Key Vacation Rental only provides villas not rooms at the Inn. Villas meet standards established by Hawks Cay, but furnishings, etc. are not identical as in a "preferred" Villa. Rates for Vacation Rental villas will be less than a comparable size preferred villa.
are several resort fishing guides that will take patrons
to nearby mangrove islands for birding and to the
Arsnicker Keys ( White Pelicans) and to Sandy Key for
Cay Resort is recognized as a premier destination resort
and child-friendly vacation paradise which offers a
schedule of organized children's activities throughout
the day. The resort is in heart of the Keys and located
within driving distance for day trips of many
attractions. Watersports, boat rentals, jet skiing,
parasailing, sailing, snorkeling, glass bottom,
eco-tours, fishing charters and tennis available to all.
Snuba Ranger diving instruction for children, biking,
kayaking are activities available only to patrons of the
Cay 177 Inn room accommodations and about 220 family
villas. The two bedroom vacation villa accommodations
provides the resort with the occupancy necessary for
providing a quality family oriented resort.