Errands brought me to Main Street, New Port Richey the other day. Much to my surprise I noticed a lovely little park there, but couldn’t stop to investigate that day. So today I made it a point to go back and check it out. It was a quiet little spot, in that there were not many people walking, but a nearby playground supplied all the happy kid noises you could ever want. This weather is my very favorite time in Florida. By our standards it was almost sweater weather, though my Northern friends would think we were nuts.I walked around the lake, mostly because I saw all the birds across the way. But before I had gotten to taking pictures another walker stopped me to ask if I’d seen the duck on a nest. I hadn’t, I had walked right past it. He said there were four eggs there, and he and his daughters had just seen her rearrange the eggs and settle back down on them. I thought her nest was not very protected, even if getting a photo was a challenge.I did get around to taking pictures of the birds, but it was the flowers and the bees that got me in trouble. I walked across the grass to get close enough to the flowers, but when I turned to go back to the car I found myself walking through wetness in the grass. In my flip flops. Mud. I’ve insisted that there is no mud in Florida, but I was wrong. This wasn’t just mud, it was more like tar, and it ended my travels for the day. I think I’m glad I didn’t have my hiking shoes on after all, they wouldn’t have survived. Flip flops, however, have at least nine lives.
You know I can never resist a flower picture with a bug in it. Especially bugs that look like a little kid’s toy they’d pull behind them as they learned to walk. I wonder if they have toys like that anymore? No batteries, just kid power. Those photos make flower pictures without a bug just look boring in comparison. These photos are also from the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. Such a lovely place to visit, and just a short drive from this campground. I’m beginning to wonder if a week will be enough time to see everything I’d like to see while I’m here. And there I was, contemplating heading back home just a couple of days ago. I usually do keep my promises, but I don’t always keep the promises I make to myself. It’s about time I did…
I’m told that the green smiley-faced caterpillar has fake eyes on his back to make his enemies think there is a big, bad, bug looking at them. I just think he’s cute!
My husband called it the ‘6 Ps’. Proper Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. Not very eloquent but he made his point. Yesterday our planned trip to Coppal Farm for the Sunflower Festival turned out to have been perfectly planned. Or we were just lucky. I wondered ahead of time how many pictures I’d get out of a trip to see just a single type of flower. Only it turned out that there is more than one kind of sunflower.
But the vast fields of sunflowers at Coppal Farm were the traditional variety that comes to mind at the mention of the word sunflower. Except for one little face in the crowd.
The farm itself was picture-worthy also.
Honestly, I don’t set out to take pictures of bugs, it just happens. There were two varieties of black dragonflies at the pond next to the sunflower field. They are so different from the blue ones I so commonly see that I was determined to get a decent picture. But not to worry, the blue ones were there too.
It’s not that I was lost exactly. I was attempting to follow the maps and signs within the Heritage Museum grounds in order to see everything, but I still hadn’t found the treehouse. I started down the winding path and spotted a hummingbird flitting among the red flowers beside the path. This was my opportunity to try for photos of a hummingbird on flowers instead of a feeder. And then I noticed a hummingbird moth also set on feeding from the red flowers and I was really excited. That has been a rare sight for me. The flowers were quite close to the path, but these hummingbirds and moths must have been so used to people that having me there zooming in with my camera didn’t appear to bother them at all. What a fun and unexpected finale to this amazing day.
It did occur to me that going to a venue such as the Heritage Museum and Gardens might not be the best choice for a weekend visit. But it was supposed to be such a nice day, and I hadn’t been out for several days before, so even realizing that it was ‘kids day’ didn’t stop me. Kids got in free on Saturday, and lots of activities were set up for them to enjoy while they were there. Maybe everyone had as much trouble with the maps as I did, because yes, we entered together, but as I walked the paths I had no problem seeing the gorgeous landscapes and taking pictures without lots of people in the shots. And I started taking pictures before I had even bought my ticket. I was attracted to the flowers, but as I looked more closely at the flowers it was the bees that caught my attention, and then the butterflies, and even a little moth.
It was the carousel that I had spotted on the map that I had set out to see. But there were numerous paths intersecting each other, and signs pointing this way and that way, enough so that I kept getting distracted. Almost right away I heard a waterfall off to my right. I attempted several pictures but quickly realized that there was a lily pond at the bottom, and yes, there were paths to go there. So I set off down the hill to take pictures, hoping there would be dragonflies. And yes, there were dragonflies, but I got ridiculously excited to see the little turtles on the lily pads. When some kids showed up I think I totally forgot that I’m not a kid and got excited to point out the turtles. That got the kids excited, and they all were standing precariously close to the rock edge of the pond, switching positions, trying to see. And when I spotted a frog on a lily pad the excitement level went up a bit more. Now they were quite excited to be pointing out things to me, and for several moments I was that five-year-old self I’ve been looking for. Then I noticed one of the moms standing beside me and I had to apologize since they were probably wishing the kids were watching a little more calmly. She said it was fine. I thought it was fun. ‘Kids day’, in more ways than one.
“Maybe you’ll see a big boat”, I said to myself as I headed to the canal again. After several days of rain, and more than one tornado, it promised to be a sunny day with temperatures in the 70s, and the need to be outside was irresistible. My knowledge of boats is rather limited, I can identify sail boats and speed boats, and sail boats are the prettier of the two. But speed boats was what we had the most of. And they were speeding, looking as if it was a race, and the little blue boat was in the lead, but not for long.The wake that they created caused waves that caught these people off guard. I had been watching them plucking things from among the rocks at the edge and collecting them in their bucket. Mussels was the consensus of the people I spoke with as we enjoyed the day. Fat dragonflies were zooming past me also, teasing me because they weren’t landing anywhere to give me a photo op. I took a ridiculous number of photos just into the air in hopes that burst mode would give me an image, it didn’t. But they did get me to pay attention to the hillside behind me with its flowers.Then I got interested in a little bird in the small tree right at the roadway. It was singing it’s heart out but I had to hunt to spot it. Merlin suggested several types of sparrow, but I decided that it was a Song Sparrow, for obvious reasons.I spent a good bit of time looking for this bird, and taking photos, and when I finally thought to look back at the canal and see if anything was going on I got a surprise. This was what was going on…Yes, of course it made it under the bridge, but I still had to watch and see for myself, in case it didn’t. Nothing much seemed to be going on after that, and after taking a few more flower shots, including a butt shot for a friend of mine, it was time to move on.