Saturday, October 23, 2021

Seeing the Extraordinary!

I'll just jump around in my photos and show some of our sightings at the Pruitt Trailhead a few days ago. 

I take SO many photos that I can't possibly share them all but here are a few!

 Eastern Bluebird high in the branches.

Gulf Fritillary

Northern Harrier (we think)

Anhinga (we're sure! lol)

And now for the extraordinary! We parked at the trailhead in the blazing sun! No, it really wasn't that hot, around 80 degrees with a nice breeze. We put the top back on the Jeep and pulled out the snacks. 

We like to eat apple slices and cheese sticks and always have a bag of nuts and some Wheat Thins in the ice chest, just in case. We had just eaten some of the apple when I remarked about the big flock of buzzards overhead. 

Hubby said, one of those is an Eagle!

So out we hopped and we both took a bunch of photos (a bunch is Southern for a LOT!!!)

One more....

oh just one more.....

well, maybe one more! hahaha!

The one above has a dragonfly that photo bombed him! The Eagle was HIGH up, the dragonfly much closer! We estimated the Eagle to be around 4 years old because of the dark tips on the tail feathers. 

This man on his horse came off the trail and stopped to look too. 

And that was the perfect ending to a wonderful hike!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

In Search of the Swamp Sunflower!

I've seen these beautiful sunflowers in years past but never had a proper ID! 

Swamp Sunflower

But this year, I kept seeing them mentioned on blogs and websites I visit regularly. 

Sandra Friend did a post about them HERE

Ed Rosack took some amazing photos and a blog post HERE.

And Wally Jones did a wonderful post HERE!

We drove over to the Pruitt Trailhead of Halpata Tastanaki Preserve and took a hike and even saw a few on that trail. And then we drove down the dirt road to another trailhead and hiked Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway trail (Pruitt Trailhead). You can see the other trail from here but it's amazing how different they can be. This trail is always wetter so it's a perfect area for the Swamp Sunflower. 

We were about a week early for one field. It was mostly buds. 

But we walked down farther and came to a beautiful patch of sunflowers.

It was our first 'Fall weather' day....highs only in the 70s and a nice cooler northerly breeze.

So it was perfect! We saw a few other hikers and one man on a horse so that made it interesting too.

Trying to get the perfect pics! I recognize this man! heehee!

We are seeing so many different birds now but I'll save those photos for the weekend. (below the field with more buds than blooms, but we'll go back again soon!)

Has the weather been nice at your house too? Sunflower weather? A special thank you to those who prompted me to go in search of these flowers and to finally have a proper identification! 

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays and

I like Thursdays HERE too!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

What green eyes you have, Robber Fly!

I saw something fly in to the grasses next to the trail and stopped to take pics.

It appears to be a Green-Eyed Robber Fly also know as a bee killer. More info HERE

And it definitely has some type of wasp as it's prey.

Do you see how it is hanging onto the blade of grass above it?


It was very small but the orange color and green eyes really stood out!

And do you see the large grasshopper in the grasses ahead?

American Grasshopper

He really blends in to this tree too.

And this caterpillar stands out on the trail.

Don't step on him, Honey! 

The Warblers are back on the Florida Trails.

Flocks of Pine Warblers and Palm Warblers were darting back and forth and even landing on the trail in front of us.

And isn't this a neat photo of a Red Shouldered Hawk that hubby took! 

Thanks hubby! Sharp eyes!

Showy Rattlebox

It's been perfect weather for hiking and birding this week! Are you getting outside some too?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

It's hiking and birding weather!

 It's still 'warm' but there is less humidity and more of a breeze and we are hitting the trails as often as we can. 

We're trying to pace ourselves!

And maybe we do walk a bit slow!

But REALLY!!! How RUDE!!! hahaha!!!

(I took the photo of the 2 vultures perched in the top of an old snag...the dead tree...overlooking the trail. No hikers were harmed in the making of this hike and I don't think the vultures were either! lol)

Lots of pretty wildflowers blooming this week.

And the birds are becoming more varied and plentiful.

We saw this bird in the woods and it looked like a Great Blue Heron from a distance.

But it was a Eastern Bluebird.

There were a pair of them eating the Winged Sumac and flying across the trail in front of us.

Has the weather been nice at your house this week? Fall is in the air!

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

Also I like Thursdays HERE.   

Saturday, October 9, 2021

'Beauty and the Beast' Blue Run Park in Dunnellon

If you don't want to see a beast, stop reading about 2/3 of the way down! lol

I know I've probably seen this butterfly before but I never got a good ID of it.

It's a Queen butterfly and was just gorgeous.

It was so orange, it was almost brick red. 

And a few of the pretty birds we've seen this week...


Prairie Warbler


So precious!

And now for the 'beast'! I know many of you think because I post a photo of an alligator, I like alligators. But not really. They are so primitive and scary to me. And as long as I am way up high on the bridge looking down at the Withlacoochee River, I don't mind seeing one.

Someone...NOT ME...wrote in chalk!

But there are 2 hanging out on the swamp side of the trail at Blue Run Park. And they are just about ruining my hiking experience. Everyone is talking about them.

This might be a Mama Gator and she is HUGE!

And then there's a baby, not real close to Mama but in the same swamp.

What bothered me most this past week was that the first time we walked by the big gator lounging in the swamp, we took a few pics and moved on. Then when we came back by, it wasn't there. So then I spent all of my time looking for it! It could be ANYWHERE!!!

And just as we were finishing up our hike, there was a trail of water across the trail where the baby had gone from the swamp side to the river side. Wish Mama Gator would cross over (when I'm NOT there) and stay in the river! 

And my oh my but the Withlacoochee River was gorgeous!

Let me see if I can end this with a pretty flower!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.