'scene' along the way, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, fun, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Florida native wildlife…

Do you see it?  In the feature photo?  The manatee coming up for air?  Seeing this wild manatee from the river overlook at Homasassa Springs Wildlife Nature Park was a bonus.  They were outside the park, but the underwater gates are open this time of year so that the wild manatees can come in when the weather dictates.  The park itself has undergone a few incarnations over the years before being taken over by the state.  It once housed exotic animals, but now is a rehabilitation facility for native Florida species.  All the permanent residents are not able to be returned to the wild for one reason or another.  The vast majority of the park is open and many of the birds you see are wild and free to come and go as they wish.  I have a confession though.  Taking these pictures seems like cheating since the animals are captive.  It’s not the thrill that it would have been if I had seen them in the wild and gotten these pictures.  But they are beautiful, and this is a fun park to visit.1-10-20flamingoview1-10-20flamingos1-10-20eagle1-10-20crestedcaracara1-10-20burrowingowl1-10-20bobcat1-10-20GBH1-10-20greenandtri1-10-20hankypanky1-10-20hawk1-10-20heron1-10-20homasassaview21-10-20panther1-10-20redfox1-10-20Shermanfoxsquirrel1-10-20spoonbill1-10-20surfacing1-10-20vulture1-10-20whoopingcranes

And here we have Lu, who is a holdover from the exotic animal days.  He was a movie star in the past, but he is now going to celebrate his 60th birthday on January 24th.  His real birthday is the 26th, but they always have a party for him with school children so they planned for a weekday.1-10-20Lu

And Frankie enjoyed a bit of a family reunion while she was there.1-10-20Frankie'sroots

'scene' along the way, birds, Circle B Bar Reserve, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Birds and more birds…

On Sunday I took 650 pictures at Circle B Bar Reserve, and had quite a lot of fun with my friends while we were hiking and discovering the wildlife along the trails.  We three were pretty much together the whole time, yet our phones recorded different amounts of steps for us.  Our taller friend’s phone recorded a lot fewer steps for her, but us two shorter gals numbers were quite similar.  It was the miles that were different.  At 6.5 I had the least, and I believe our taller friend’s phone was approaching 9 miles.  Whatever it was it was a long enough day for my feet to be objecting by the end.  With the recent rain I had opted to wear short rubber bootlets, which allowed me to feel every rock embedded in the trail, and I was regretting that choice by the end of the day.  As fun as it was we were quite ready to call it a day and go find some lunch. 1-6-20woodstorkflyover1-6-20tricolor1-6-20owlface1-6-20osprey1-6-20littlebirdfeature1-6-20Ibisdrip1-6-20GBHinthebreeze1-6-20eagles1-6-20butterfly1-6-20blackbird1-6-20Greategret.jpg

The eagles and the owl were what had the photographers gathered like paparrazi.  Even my bigger lens, which I had chosen not to carry, wouldn’t have gotten the sort of shots that I can get when I visit my usual eagle nest.  And my first ever owl photos were taken at Circle B and they were really nice shots.  This owl was up too high, in the shadows, and obscured by Spanish moss.  And facing backwards.  Nevertheless we three were so excited when we saw our shots in our computers and we saw that we had gotten the owl’s face.  Sort of…1-4-20FrankieatCircleB

The nature center at Circle B has plenty to educate and entertain people of all ages, as well as the occasional flamingo.

'scene' along the way, adventure, Circle B Bar Reserve, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, making memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunrise, Up and at 'em

Up close and personal…

My friends and I tried to get to Circle B Bar Reserve for the sunrise, but it was quite a long drive from home.  The above feature photo was as close as we got.  We wanted to be that early because our theory was that the wildlife is most active early in the morning.  Only it was pretty darned chilly, and that is something that will slow the wildlife down.  So we walked about 7 miles, went from a little too chilly to almost too warm, and yes we saw some wildlife.

I had hoped to see something unusual, something beyond all the usual birds that we see so frequently.  And this little raccoon filled the bill perfectly.1-5-20racoon11-5-20racoon21-5-20racoonsitupI was as close to the edge of the river bank as possible in order to get the angle I needed for the photos.  I was most afraid of dropping the camera into the water.  As I was shooting some other visitors came to us from the opposite direction and asked if I knew there was an alligator right there.  “Where?”, I asked.  “Right there!”. was the answer.1-5-20closegator

1-5-20gatorandanhinga

I did not expect to be so up close and personal with that gator.  If I had known he was there I would never have gotten the pictures.  There was a pier just a little way down the trail and I got a better picture of just how big that gator was.  And a good look at that smirk in his face.  This must be an example of all’s well that ends well.  And there are pictures to prove it!

'scene' along the way, adventure, Florida wildlife, kids, leap of faith, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

On the wild(er) side…

 

If you are ever at the intersection of Welland Road and Roach Road on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive then look to your right and the feature photo may be the view you will see.

12-28apopkaintersectionNo, the feature photo was not taken on a kayak trip, thank Heaven!  If it had been I’m not sure what exactly would have happened next.  But I wouldn’t bet money against me getting flustered enough to tip over the kayak and… well, I’m not sure what would happen next but I never want to find out.  I’m told that they don’t see kayaks as dinner, but surely they smell warm flesh, and fear!

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How delightful to have flowers in your alligator shots…12-29alligator212-29alligator3Do you see the smirk on their faces?  The little upturn at the end of their smile?  I don’t think they are worried about much of anything.  What do they eat?  And how often?  After all, they are huge, and healthy looking.  And they really weren’t far away at all, but somehow standing on the shore of an inlet with other people gives a sense of security.  As long as I think I could outrun at least one of them.12-29alligator4reflect

I frequently forget to notice reflections when I’m taking pictures.  But I did notice this one, two alligators for the price of one.12-29alligator-boyAnd then there was this boy, so sure that he had everything under control.  As we drove into my son’s development once there were kids on bikes riding on the road and an alligator sunning itself on the far shore of a retention pond.  The idea that I was seeing kids and an alligator in my field of vision all at once made a huge impression on me.  This kid told me that he had once been three feet away from an alligator.  And that’s exactly the sort of thing to give me nightmares…

'scene' along the way, birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, Uncategorized

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive…

I’ve been to this wildlife drive before, but it was shortly after a hurricane and it never occurred to me that it might be closed.  But it was.  And it was a two hour drive so it was a disappointment.  I guess that’s why I haven’t planned another trip until now, if you can call it planning when you wake up and kick yourself for sitting around the last couple of days, and decide to go right now.  I found myself surprised at how wide open the landscape was. I’m glad the day turned out to be cloudy.  It just couldn’t quite manage to actually get sunny so the one-way road, that forms an 11 mile loop around the lake, was muddy and full of puddles.   But everyone was enjoying the birds and taking pictures, while we dodged puddles.  There were thousands and thousands of birds, ducks, swimming in the water on each side of the road.  And they were calling, it was loud!  It seemed like I may have been lucky enough to have a good variety of birds in my area because I’d come all that way but my photos are of the birds I commonly see at home.  It was a nice day, but a car wash is in order…

12-28apopkaview12-28apopkatwosome12-28apopkatricolor?12-28apopkalittleblue12-28apopkagrackle12-28apopkaGBHflying12-28apopkaGBF@12-28apopkaflower12-28apopkaegret12-28apopkaduck12-28apopkacattleegret12-28apopkabird112-28apopkaanhinga

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Airport sunset…

An airport isn’t the worst place to find yourself with time on your hands.  Especially when there is an observatory available, and you decide to wander to get your steps in and also see what the sunset brings.12-04airportsunset5

The observatory had angled windows which quickly became my obsession.  Until I looked up and saw that a plane was flying across the sun, but I didn’t have time to get that photo.  So I alternated between looking for the sunset reflections and waiting for planes to take off toward the sunset.  And there was a little bit of Christmas too! 12-04airportsunset412-04airportsunset312-04airportsunset212-04airportsunsettree