Walking an Atlantic Florida beach at dawn; I believe these are Willets.
Walking an Atlantic Florida beach at dawn; I believe these are Willets.
Paddling past on the Withlacoochie River, Florida – it opened one sleepy eye, but didn’t move.
This hawk was hanging out at Governors Creek, in Florida. Again, it was taken from the kayak on a beautiful day. I’m not great at hawk identification – and my bird book is in the car at the bottom of a snowy driveway, so I’m not going to go see if I can look it up! If anyone seeing this is good at bird ID, feel free to use the comments section.
This challenge is one I imposed on myself, having had so much fun with the travel photo challenge. I expect to post ten of my favorite wildlife photos, my only rule being that it’s not something I’ve posted in the past year. Feel free to make your own rules! Start your own topic!
I had so much fun with the travel challenge, I decided to go through my wildlife photos, and post the ten I like best, starting with this ibis. Looks like more humor from the Creator! Most, if not all, of the ones I’m choosing are taken from the kayak, so there are lots of waterfowl. This was taken paddling through the mangroves in Florida, just south of Sarasota.
If anyone else thinks this sounds like fun, join in and let’s have fun!
One of my favorite blogs is https://throughopenlens.com/ The photos are stunning (he has a much better camera than I!), and info about the creature, mostly birds, and a short silly joke make for a quick and positive post.
It is SO HARD to pick one photo from my best wildlife photos – maybe after I finish this challenge, I’ll post the best 10 from wildlife? I’ll blame Gumtrees and Galaxies for throwing me this dilemma!
I know who I’m suggesting this time, but I’m doing it privately as they’ve not blogged in well over a year. They’ve done a lot of travel, by land and by sea, and have some stunning photos – but I don’t want to publicly put them on the spot.
You’ll have to read to the end to find out about the disaster; first I had a wonderful few hours kayaking Just north of Green Cove Springs, I found a launch site close to where this creek joins the St John River. Smaller is generally more interesting, so I went upstream – I turned around shortly after this; it was getting too narrow to feel comfortable after something – probably an alligator – grabbed my paddle. It let it go quickly enough; not the right flavor, I guess! I didn’t see a ‘gator, but there was lots of other wildlife.
The foliage is not what I’m used to seeing in New England – and the light shining on and through the palms was beautiful.
And I am used to colorful fall maple trees – but they’ve long since lost their leaves up north, and I don’t generally see them with Spanish moss!
As I was heading back, a train came through: Then I went past the launch, and out to the St Johns River. The longest river in Florida, and very wide here, I paddled only a small piece – time to be moving on. Back on the road, I finished with Florida, and headed into Georgia. It became increasingly obvious that the Roadtrek was not happy – it was OK at highway speeds, and through Georgia and into South Carolina I was on the interstate, but at slower speeds it was overheating. I thought I was heading for one of my tried and true camping spots in the Francis Marion National Forest – but as I had to stop more and more frequently to let the engine cool, it became clear that that was not a prudent course of action. By that time it was well after dark, and I started looking for a likely repair shop, stopping as necessary, topping off the water, sleeping for a few hours in a parking lot, and eventually, pulling in to Andrews, SC (home of Chubby Checker) just after dawn. I found an auto repair shop right next to an auto parts place, but it wasn’t open yet; I went to the auto parts people, who said that garage did reliable work, and should be open by 8. I dozed, ate breakfast, and at 9 gave up and went back to the parts place. They recommended Freeman Tire, just a couple of miles back down the road. They were very helpful – getting me in, and getting the parts, and replacing a water pump with a long crack in a hose and bearings that weren’t really there any more, with a new one. So much for the kayaking I’d planned to do on another stunningly beautiful, warm day, but I did get a bunch of knitting done!
It was about 4PM when I was able to get back on the road, and I made only one stop between Andrews, and Newport, North Carolina where cousins were expecting me. The Roadtrek is much happier now, and much quieter with the water pump bearings working the way they are supposed to, and it is much less stressful knowing the vehicle is not planning to overheat.
Monday, December 2: I said my goodbyes (and had to figure out where I’d hidden the keys!), and drove down to Sarasota to visit with my friend Pat, who, at well over 90, is now in assisted living. Her husband, of the same age, was off in Maine, so I didn’t get to see him! From there I drove to Mt. Dora, to visit Trudy – with her collection of bonsai and artwork. She’s got the smallest rose I’ve ever seen – the camera didn’t focus well on this bud, but my finger gives an idea of size!
Tuesday, December 3: Then it was on to Leesburg, to visit Andy and Dinata. A couple who have lived aboard a boat, and in a motorhome, we have a lot of travel in common. I got to see the slide show Dinata had given that day in the community center, about their travels along the intercoastal waterway from the Keys to Newport, Virginia. I’d traveled much of it, and kayaked some, and it was fun to see it from their perspective.
Wednesday, December 4: Taking my time driving north, I stopped at Lake Eaton, in Ocala National Forest. I’d thought I’d take the kayak out – it was obviously a beautiful day – but it was really windy, and the smallish lake was clogged with plants; not appealing. And it was only 10:30 in the morning.
The next stop was to walk around the park that is on the riverfront, with the old spring. Here’s the history: A lot of the architecture of the town was Victorian or Craftsman style houses, but I didn’t get any good photos. Pictures from the park:
The water from this spring goes into a swimming pool (closed for the season), then down into this brook tumbling down to the river.
There are very clean restrooms, and lots of nicely situated benches, as well as a well used playground and meandering paths.
The day continued – but I’ll save the kayaking for a separate post.
The reason for coming to Florida was to visit my youngest granddaughter, and her parents, for Thanksgiving. I rolled in the evening before, and stayed through the weekend. Their development is built around ponds, probably created from the surrounding swamp to build up the ground level for the houses. That means LOTS of wildlife – although the alligators that have moved into it have meant fewer birds.
It was amusing to watch this little blue heron walk up to the sleeping ‘gator, give it wide berth – and scurry quickly past, then slow down again and resume fishing. The ‘gator woke up and yawned as soon as the heron was out of range.
I’d not met Florida soft shelled turtles before.
I started to refer to this group of sandhill cranes as the “Crane Gang.” They are mooches – and the neighborhood feeds them, so they are very comfortable around humans. Not that I believe that’s a good thing, but it certainly made taking their photos easy!
Checking out the Roadtrek – And maybe if we knock on this door, they’ll feed us!
There were four of us for Thanksgiving; we ate well.