Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Florida Scrub Jay!


I finally saw this elusive bird! I was hiking a section of trail from the main Halapta Tastanaki Preserve Trailhead and saw 2 Florida Scrub Jays! 


I was so excited to see them because I haven't taken photos of them at all this year. 


To be fair though, I don't hike this trail as often any more. I would consider it even more 'wild' than any of the other trails I hike and I've had a few more scary encounters here. It's very open too so it's not great for summer time hiking. 


But I only stayed out there for a little while! (until I saw some of the biggest animal tracks I've ever seen...then I turned around! lol)


It seems like wherever you go, you see beauty though.

And a few oddities.


grasshoppers


monsters


fence lizard


walking sticks...two of them


What would scare you most? A small wild animal or a BIG wild animal track? 


(this track was 5 or 6 inches across!)

After I turned around, I have to admit to looking over my shoulder from time to time. There have been quite a few bear sightings around here lately. This track made me think of a dog track because of the configuration and the claw marks but it came out of the woods at one point, went down the trail a short distance and then back off into the woods on the other side. No human tracks on the trail with it either. 


Don't be scared though...we'll go hiking again SOON!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’. 



48 comments:

Susie said...

Diane, I hope your hiking shoes can turn into running shoes...cause girl I would have been running , as Forrest Gump , would say. I never want any encounters with bears or big cats. Oh and that smelly little guy called a skunk. Be safe. I have never seen a Scrub Jay. I wonder if they make the same noisy call as a Blue Jay. I always like those. Blessings, xoxo, love, Susie

Tom said...

...I like your monsters!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Looks like a coyote print. I would not want to meet up with one face to face. And bears are very active now, getting ready for "winter", so you should always be aware of them when on any of the trails in the Ocala National Forest for certain. Do you wear a "bear whistle" when you walk? It is a good idea to get one and wear it. The high pitch whistle can let them know you are coming and it will most likely scare them away before you get too close. If I was uncertain about what was ahead I would just keep blowing on my whistle as I walked. Especially if there are fresh tracks! Love the Scrub Jay! You are blessed to get some good pictures. They are very elusive and are only in certain areas, so I always considered it a blessing to sight one and especially get a picture! Thanks for sharing! The insects too, are very interesting to see. Looks like they are all in mating season! Have a happy day today!

Marcia said...

I would be concerned too that they were bear tracks.

I've seen walking sticks only once before.

Barbara said...

The Florida Scrub Jays must have got the word that self-isolation was advised.I'm glad you got to see some of them. As for the large animal tracks -- smart girl! Leave!

But you got some interesting entries for your nature journal!

R's Rue said...

Beautiful photos.

Arlene @Nanaland said...

Yes that big foot would have given me pause as well Diane. You be careful in those woods!!

Marit said...

Beautiful photos! The Shrub Jay was very pretty!

Sandra said...

I I think the walking stick and the Grasshoppers are confused and they think it's spring and they're making babies they don't know it's bald haha. I love both photos though it is a beautiful area and that does look kind of like a bear paw or it could even be a big mountain lion. Whatever it is it's big and I wouldn't want to be out there with it

Sandy said...

Love the scrub jay, but yes, the print would have made me turn back.

Jeanie said...

Those scrub jays are gorgeous. I've never seen one of those before. And I loved the oddities, too. Glad those oddities didn't include a big bear! Be careful out there!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Glad you got to see the Jays! We have bear in our backyard here!

Debbie said...

awesome capture of the scrub jay. our blue jay looks so much different!! that paw print would have me heading right back to the car, you are brave my friend, and a dedicated hiker!! your skies and clouds are so pretty!!

lot's of fun critters today, what's with the hitchhiking?!?!

eileeninmd said...

Hello,
Wonderful sighting and photos of the Florida Scrub Jay. They are beautiful. The grasshopper and wand walking stick are cute. Great captures! I am not good at doing id's by paw prints. I would hope most bears are spooked by people and would run off. Great photos and another great hike. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy weekend! PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

Martha said...

Love that you captured the scrub jay, I've yet to ever see one in person. Love all the great photos today. The big animal track - I would have been running full speed out of there lol! Have a great weekend :)

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Your jay looks like he was posing for you! It is really beautiful! Have wonderful day!

Mae Travels said...

The Florida Scrub Jay was our target bird on a walk in the area of Merritt Island one time, and it took us hours to see one. They are really elusive!

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Lowcarb team member said...

I like your photograph of the scrub jay.
Also your other photographs were good to see.
A bit of an EEK! moment with the paw print though! Take care out there ...

Have a lovely weekend.

All the best Jan

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Nice place but probably better in cool weather. It's been a few years since I have seen a Florida Scrub Jay. We need to travel north either around Sebring or up the coast to Jupiter. They are certainly interesting birds. In our patch we get our an hour before sunrise, which helps minimize heat exposure, but the last 1/4 mile of our walk is entirely open and it can feel like a "death march" which is a bit scary. So far our only big animal has been a feral hog which leaves big tracks and probably weighs over 300 pounds.

RedPat said...

The paw print would have sent me home too! Glad you spotted the Jays!

Beside a babbling brook... said...

YIKES!!!!!!

~sigh~

~sigh~

~sigh~

🍂🍁💛🍁🍂

Yvonne said...

The shrub jays are beautiful, and the seed heads interesting. Hiking that trail in summer would be somewhat the same as when I hiked the deserts growing up in Nevada. We swam in the summer and hiked the trails in the other seasons :)

Jeannie said...

Since no one else identified the paw print, I will take a guess and say it belongs to "Big Foot." Yup. I would turn and run too.
Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

bill burke said...

Great captures! I would have turned around too, better to be safe than sorry.

www.self-sufficientsam.blogspot.com said...

Those bird photos almost look like paintings! Those scrub jays are beautiful. I've never seen them before. I think that was probably a bear track being that big! You can get bear spray to carry. Be careful! I didn't know you had bears down there.

Ann said...

Beautiful photos. That track would have scared me enough to hightail it outta there.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Post script Diane: You must check out my latest post in a few minutes as a follow up to something I said to you earlier today in my comments. Wait a few minutes as I am still working on it and haven't finished posting yet, but be sure to check it out later!

Inger said...

Today, I'm just going to comment about your header photo. I stop and look at it every time I come here to visit. It looks like an art piece from the 1930s and it is absolutely stunning. A piece of art.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Florida Scrub Jay is an interesting, enigmatic bird, of which I have many happy memories, both of the bird, and of time spent at the Archbold Research Centre. I doubt that I will ever see it again but the memories will linger in my mind forever.

carol l mckenna said...

Lovely nature photos of various gems ~ Scrub Jays ~ have seen a few here ~ Glad you turned around ~ paw print was huge! Great photos though,

Live each moment with love,

A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Small City Scenes said...

Looks like a great place to take a hike' I think I would be a bit scared of large animal tracks. I know tracks of dogs some times look bigger than they are but still........
MB

Vee said...

First of all, I never fo walking alone in the forest. Was your hubby close by? My daughter saw her first bobcat this week. Now THAT would scare me. 😳 You be careful out there...

happyone said...

BIG tracks would have made me turn around too.

Terri D said...

I think that could definitely be a bear track! I would turn around too! I always enjoy your photos and thank you for taking us along on your hikes!

Nancy Chan said...

I would be scared to hike where there are wild animals around. Don't know what to expect. Nice sighting of birds and critters. I like your blog header.

Linda said...

The insects are cute. Walmart has airhorns in the sporting goods section. Get one of those and a can of bear spray! Noise can scare off a bear, but if that fails, know how to use that spray!

Anu said...

Hello. Congratulations on seeing Florida Scrub Jays! They look awesome.
All the photos are beautiful.
Take care.

Bob Bushell said...

I love the Scrub Jays, great birds. And the Lizard, they are so proud.

BeachGypsy said...

I love the picture of the trail that is right before the huge paw print---so pretty and that pretty blue sky! The trail just beckons......come walk, come see. BUT!!! girlfriend did you walk this one alone or was hubby along?--this one might not be a safe one right now with active bears and such. Please please be careful. Do you carry a whistle and spray (and a shot gun, LOL) just in case? Well the paw print does look big, who can identify it?--because that would be neat to know. Y'all have those big pretty bobcats there too right? Cougars, mountain lions, whatever they are called. My mom loved loved loved the cougars, she thought they were so pretty. I think they are gorgeous too, but I wouldn't want to run into one on a trail, LOL. Hope your weekend is going great! Hugs

Edna B said...

I had to laugh. You say you are scared silly because of those big footprints, but then you go trailing after them to see where the animal went. You are very brave! I've never seen a scrub jay in person. We have Blue Jays here. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

Jean @sonotorganized.com said...

I'm not sure if the big tracks in the day would startle me as much as the small wild animal. Of course, short of scary snakes not much to worry me locally. So perhaps I'm braver from afar. Maybe not a trail to hike alone? Enjoyed seeing the scrub jay!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

I am glad you turned around, and made it back all right!
Strong walking stick with sharp steel tip, bear spray, whistle, good hiking shoes, and what all else is necessary for hiking safety.

Scary...many years ago walking with parent's dog I heard avery heavy thud in the woods when something jumped down from a tree. The sound indicates to me...Large=Run back to the house. The dog appeared to not have a clue what was going on. I then realized, maybe it was a human, that didn't belong there because a wild animal would have alerted the dog. I haven't been back there since.

Janey and Co. said...

Well that was a scary post! I worry about you hiking out there alone, but I guess there is no danger of you falling off the mountain..like we have to worry about here !

Teresa said...

Esas huellas a mí también me darían miedo. Besos y salud.

Powell River Books said...

Bird watching is fun. Today I saw three robins drinking from the lake outside my sliding glass door. - Margy

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Yeeps, be careful out there! ..... pretty picture of the Scrub Jay. I’ve probably told you a million times that Scrub Jays are a fairly common bird around here and honestly the Oregon ones don’t look any different to me than the rare Florida ones! (I’ve only ever seen one there tho, but your picture and the ones in my bird books don’t look different.). I guess it’s just location location location!

NatureFootstep said...

interesting species you share today. Don´t think I have seen the Florida Scrub Jays before. I have seen other Jays but not this one.
And the walking sticks, took a while before I saw it was really two of them :)
I have no clue what the monsters are.
That footprint is really huge. :)

Take are, stay safe.

Red Rose Alley said...

That scrub jay is such a pretty bird, isn't it? And look at all the critters you found! It's so funny when the lizard does push ups with his body hehehe. The grasshopper is a pretty photo. And the cloud photos are beautiful.

I hope you are enjoying these September days, Diane.

~Sheri