Friday, September 22, 2023

I once caught a fish THISSS BIGGG!!!

The fish story will be at the end of the post but I'll assure you now, I only took the photo! I didn't actually catch the fish! But it's a whopper!

We drove out to the Gulf Coast last weekend and it was a gorgeous day.

It started with a few sprinkles of rain and that scared most people off and we had the trail all to ourselves!

The first bird we saw was a Roseate Spoonbill but I wasn't fast enough to get a photo. 

But then when we got closer to the Gulf, a Bald Eagle was on the shore and flew to a tree nearby.

It was an elegant mature Eagle and we stood there and took lots of photos while it preened.

That was one of the highlights of the day. 

And a great way to start the day!

We saw a few Osprey too and they are always fun to watch glide overhead.

This one perched nearby and we took the pics from the truck!

Looks like he's saying, 'are you looking at ME?'with attitude! 

I took these through the truck windshield. (it was clean from the shower earlier!)

And then when we finished our hike on the Withlacoochee Bay Trail we headed out on the 4 miles of dirt road. We stopped at one of the observation platforms and that's where we saw the 'catch of the day'.

I think it may be the catch of a lifetime! This young lady pulled in a 27 pound, 3 ft long Black Grouper! 

It was amazing! I was almost as excited as she was!

It was 'catch and release' so they put it back in the water to live another day! 

A fun day was had by all!

Don't stay home just because of a few sprinkles! You might miss the gorgeous clouds at the end of the day!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, September 15, 2023

Horses and Cows and Bees....OH MY!

 I always see a lot of birds when I go to the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve but I also see some other interesting sights.

When you drive into the Pruitt Trailhead from hwy 484, the road goes through the preserve to the Florida Trails and HTP trailhead but it also has some private land to the West. 

I love seeing the horses on this horse farm.

They look so peaceful in this setting and the sky was darkening with a shower coming in from the Gulf.

There are also cows grazing....

or cows gazing!

So those were some of the sights I saw when I started my hike.

What did I see when I ended the hike?

A swarm of honey bees.

I've never seen that on a hike but when I went back a week later they were still there.

The bees are right in the center of this photo.

I know they may not be dangerous but I gave them a wide berth and zoomed in for these photos.

They were quite active! Hope the scout finds them a hollow tree or good place for their hive. I guess I'll check on them again in a few days!

So what's buzzin'.... 

or mooing where you live?

Have you had a good week too?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, September 8, 2023

Learning to identify birds!

 It's not easy to identify the birds we see! There are so many things to take into consideration when you see a bird that is not readily recognized. We see a lot of birds here in Florida and take a lot of photos.

I think it's great fun to come home and get the photos on the computer and start zooming in on them to see if we can figure out what we've seen. There are definitely some 'fly bys' that we are never sure of.

The Sibley Guide to Birds is the best book in my opinion.

We have a lot of books specifically for Florida but so many of the birds we see are migratory and not year round regulars.

So here are a few that we identified this week on a trip to Halpata Tastanaki Preserve, hiking from the Pruitt Trailhead.

I think this is the most beautiful bobwhite I've ever seen. The plumage was so colorful. 

Florida Bobwhite

And here's the ID page in Sibley's....

Another beautiful bird perched in a tree!

A close up of the Florida bobwhite....

Sometimes birds are quite a distance away or high in a tree.

Common Ground Dove

The ID page in Sibley's....

And this one was a little trickier. We have seen the Blue Grosbeak in this area all summer but this one wasn't blue! 

Blue Grosbeak (1st Winter)

The page in Sibleys....

It's always fun to get out in nature and learn more about the birds you see. 

Do you enjoy ID books too and learning something new?

And other books you would recommend?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, September 1, 2023

A Quick trip to the Pruitt Trailhead!

Even a short hike can reap great results! 

When we drove in, the first bird I saw was perched on an old dead snag. So I rolled the window down and took a photo.

Mississippi Kite

We see Kites all through the summer months here in Florida.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Queen Butterfly

The stars of this little outing were the butterflies!

The Queen butterfly was exquisite!

And some of them were a duller brownish color. 

The Gulf Fritillary is always a pretty orange and common in North Central Florida.

And here are the maps for this little outing!

I love these unknown roads! I feel right at home here!

Happy September everyone!

 I am getting this post done early before Hurricane Idalia comes through. I'll update it to let everyone know how we fared. Hopefully it will just be a rain event for our area and we won't have any damage. I'm keeping everyone in the path of the storm in my prayers.

Update : We weathered the storm without any damage. You don't have to drive far to see a lot of damage though. We live about 30 miles, as the crow flies from Cedar Key. But we are fine and have clear skies and hot temps again! WHEW!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, August 25, 2023

Traveling on the 'unknown road'!

 Is that even better than the 'back roads'? 

I love maps and enjoy the navigation maps in the new vehicles. I was surprised when we drove down this road that it was listed as an unknown road!

Perfect! I love it!

Let's see where it leads!

Oh, it leads to the Gulf of Mexico!

Well you can't go wrong with a trip down an unknown dirt road to the coast.

And it was beautiful when we got there. The parking lot was empty on a Saturday morning, which surprised us.

We took a little hike down the Withlacoochee Bay trail.

What will we see today?

Wasn't this Great White Egret gorgeous!

Hubby got a new Chevy 'pick em up' truck . 

And he even let me drive it....through a mud puddle! 

We stopped at the locks on the way home and saw a rain shower in the distance.

It sure was a fun day (and yes, we got rained on)! Thanks hubby for the beautiful Great White Egret photos and for letting me get your new truck dirty! 

Do you like to take a drive? A Sunday drive on Saturday?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !