Monday, November 29, 2021

Johnson Pond Trailhead in the Withlacoochee State Forest

 We kept waiting for a cooler day with big puffy clouds! It had to be both!

It's a nice hike to Johnson Pond but there are mosquitoes in this area so you need to be able to wear a shirt with sleeves! 

And the big poofy clouds are necessary for pretty reflections in the pond!

On Thanksgiving Day, we had the perfect conditions!

We've had the big family dinners in the past (and I'm so thankful for all of my memories) but it's nice to start new traditions too.

And living in Florida provides some beautiful weather for the Fall and Winter months.

I hope you have a good week ahead. Let's all keep counting our blessings and being thankful for what we have.

I've saved my most favorite photo for last....

the lily pads!

And now to add to my FUN! 

Tom from The Backroads Traveller sent me a special gift this year! A beautiful Christmas wreath!

I wish you could see it and smell the evergreen scent! It's incredible! We hung it on the Jeep just for a photo op! It's back on the front door now! 

Thank you, Tom! You've made my holiday season even more beautiful! I owe you a ride in the Jeep! 🚗

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays and

I like Thursdays HERE too! 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Storks have landed!

Hopefully they didn't make any 'deliveries' in our retirement community!

But they sure were a surprise when we got to the bridge over the Withlacoochee River at Blue Run Park.

We'll zoom in!

Wood Storks

We had seen them earlier in the week, high in the sky.

And how nice that these perched on a colorful Maple tree.

We don't have many Fall colors at this time of year so this was a surprise.

It won't freeze here for another month or more. And then we usually just have a few frosty nights.

But we do see some pretty colors at the end of summer.

Only a face that a mother would love?

I love them too!

They stayed in the same spot changing their pose now and then. How nice of them!

Another bird flew in for just ONE photo! 

Belted Kingfisher

And if you think it's too crowded to visit Florida at this time of year when the weather is fabulous....

look at the parking lot at 3 pm when we were getting ready to leave. It surprised us too! Another part of the parking lot had cars though. 

Have you ever seen a Wood Stork?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Letting the sun shine in.

We hiked at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve from the Pruitt trailhead this week on a bright sunny day.

And I let the sun shine into my lens.

It created some bokeh effects.

I didn't add anything to these photos.

This is what I saw when I loaded them onto my computer and viewed them.

Yes, even the one above. (I have no explanation for the cross, it was a reflection of something I think)

And now we are on the back side of the hike and the sun is behind me giving a nice contrast to the grasses in the fields.

I loved the way the clouds looked too.

The views of the preserve are beautiful in every season.

We watched a Great White Egret flying on the trail ahead of us like it was a landing strip.

He stayed ahead of us for most of the hike.

There's always something amazing to see when you get out in nature.

It's a special time of year here in Florida. I think it would surprise most people!

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays and

I like Thursdays HERE too! 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Hike #129 Blue Run Park in Dunnellon

 We've hiked quite a bit this week because of the beautiful weather.


And there are SO many birds and critters around right now.

I thought I would just share the entry from my hiking journal and then show a few photos.

#129 Blue Run Park to the bridge, beyond to the pond
74 degrees 52% humidity, 1 hr 42 min, 2.2 miles 
Gorgeous! Perfect sun and some clouds! Good day!
Large Swamp Gator, head out of water, mouth OPEN, all sizes of teeth!
Tricolor Heron, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, White Ibis, Green Heron, Hawk, 4 Kingfishers, 3 Kingfishers chasing each other-neat, turtles, Grebes, Moorhen, Warblers, Cardinal, Wren. 
Hawk on ground near our home. 
Large Purple Aster in full bloom! Bumblebee preening on the trail. Stinkbug on flower.
Driving back on the hwy near a Dunnellon airport, small plane flew RIGHT in front of us, scared us both!

Yes, we walk slow when we go to Blue Run because there's so much to see! And I write in my journal after every hike which is a fun way to keep up with what we are seeing from year to year. 

Here's a few of the birds and critters we managed to photograph!

Red shouldered Hawk


Green Heron

Tricolored Heron

Purple Asters on the Withlacoochee River

Purple Asters

Bumblebee on trail

Swamp Gator

I warned you that his mouth was open showing his teeth!

Turtle soup?

Banana Trees

It's perfect hiking weather in Florida! Come on down!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Monarch Butterflies make their appearance!

 It's been a great year for butterflies here in North Central Florida. 

We've seen so many different butterflies and a great number too!

But we haven't seen any Monarchs until this week. 

And we saw THREE!

Two were doing a mating dance....

and we couldn't believe our eyes.

They were gorgeous and the light was just right for some good photos.

They danced quite a bit but also stopped long enough to pose for a few photos.

Later on the Florida Trails we saw another one.

And then when we turned to go back to the trailhead, the original two were still flying around together.


And now sit back and relax while I tell a tale....

The photos just about tell the story I think but here goes!

You'll be happy to know I didn't get arrested this week. We were way back on the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve trail in the middle of nowhere and my honey picked me a Swamp Sunflower and put it in a buttonhole on my hiking shirt. I was smiling and feeling very special when in the distance we saw a vehicle approaching. It was a law enforcement vehicle with the Fish and Wildlife Commission. But there was a wet area and he had to turn around. He waved real big...but did he see the bright yellow sunflower in my lapel? Would he be waiting at the trailhead to arrest me? Could I plead that we NEVER pick the wildflowers but there were so many and it was just this once? The happy ending of this story is that he never found me. But my RED Jeep is pretty distinctive so I decided the best idea was to paint my Jeep.

What do you think? Do you like it?

Just kidding.....just kidding!!! 

I did NOT paint my Jeep...some of the other parts of the story are true! hahahahahaha!!!

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays and

I like Thursdays HERE too!