Monday, March 28, 2022

Don't go out after dark!

 Or maybe I should say.....

don't HIKE after dark!

I started a hike on a bright sunny day but ended up deep in the forest!

It's one of my favorite things to do. I would probably follow all of the deer trails if I hiked in jeans and boots. (a good reason to stick with hiking shoes and capris! lol)

But there are some trails near the Shangri-La trailhead that go down into the canal diggings...

and deep into the forest.

Can you imagine how scary these huge rock formations would be in the dark?

What if it was stormy and a flash of lightning lit them up? 

And there were all those EYES looking back at you!!!

Just use your imagination!

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

And plan your hikes during the daylight hours when you can see all of this beauty! 

And enjoy getting out in nature!


Have you ever followed the deer trails in the woods? It's pretty awesome! Now where's my old pair of leather boots? 

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays and

I like Thursdays HERE too!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Halpata Tastanaki Preserve and Antler Shedding

 I've hiked on the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve trails a little more this month because they are doing some prescribed/control burns on some of the Florida Trails I usually hike. It's a good thing and they alternate burns but it still means you go to plan B when you see smoke. lol

I met a young man recently that had found something pretty unusual, a deer antler still attached to a deer skull. 

What a discovery!!!

When I first saw him, he was standing away from the trail to give me a chance to pass. 

His dog was from a shelter and did not trust people so he kept the dog close to him. (all dogs are on leashes even on the forest trails) He sure was a beautiful dog and now he has a good home! 

I've never found a deer antler but I did a search online HERE and learned a little more about shedding.

We learn so much from getting out in nature, don't we?

Birds abound in Florida at this time of year.

Phoebe and Bluebirds


And wildflowers are blooming like crazy! 

Yellow Jessamine

Blueberry bushes are in full bloom too!

Have you ever found deer antlers on a hike? I don't think I really look for them but I probably will from now on!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Springtime at Johnson Pond

 I was looking for a day with big billowy clouds for a drive over to Johnson Pond in the Withlacoochee State Forest and this day was picture perfect!

The trail was dry and the woods are starting to green up even more.

It's only about a mile to the pond observation deck but it is getting pretty dilapidated. 

There was even a board missing in the walkway. 

But I took my time and then stood still to soak in the beauty.

I kept seeing something jump in the water below the deck and just happened to see this tiny frog jump out of the water onto a lily pad. That really made my day. 

Little things like this tickle me.

Do you see him now?

The lily pads are beautiful year round and I saw one big bloom in the distance.

I love coming here and I didn't see anyone else on this hike.

This is the marshy area near the pond with teeny tiny flowers growing in the water.

But when I finished, I saw that my hiking friend had left a painted rock. 


What a beautiful way to spend an afternoon!

Have you been to a state park or state forest lately? It's worth the drive!

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays and

I like Thursdays HERE too!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Jungle Birds

I was in the bad habit of calling birds by whatever name I thought fit, back in the olden days. 

When I lived in the mountains of NC, I encountered a large bird that flew up and down the creek, making sounds just like a jungle bird. But since I've never been to a jungle, that may be my imagination too! lol 

It turned out to be a Pileated Woodpecker. And I heard him for a long time before I ever got a good sighting.

Pileated Woodpecker LINK

At Blue Run Park, they are a regular. But of course they are still fun to see and hear!

Another bird I saw this week with a flaming crest was a Cardinal.

Northern Cardinal LINK

Usually the male is the showiest but the sun was just right to show off the pretty colors of this female.

We've had some rain but no bad weather here at our house. We watched the weather channel and saw the damage just East of us though. One lady even sat in her car as a tornado tore through the area. We had no idea any of that was happening, but it is the time of year for violent thunderstorms here in Florida. The rain has brought some of the most beautiful wildflowers and along with those, butterflies galore! 

Always something beautiful to see in nature!

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly LINK

I hope you have a chance to enjoy it where you live too!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

March Hikes

 I thought I would get my hiking journal out and share some of the 'stats' for the hikes I've made this month. I might not always share how long it took me to go whatever distance I went. It always depends on how much I see to photograph. When we are at Blue Run Park, we stop every few steps to look at the birds and wildlife. When I walk on the Florida Trails, I cover more distance in a shorter amount of time.

Blue Run Park

March 1st Blue Run Park
Hike #34, 2 miles
71 degrees 53% humidity

list of sightings: alligators, Anhinga, Tri Color Heron, Ibis, Little Blue Heron, Turtles, Grebes, Moorhens, Warblers, Pileated Woodpecker, Hawks, Limpkin, River Otter, wildflowers, dragonflies

Florida Trails East

March 3rd Florida Trails East
Hike #35, 2 miles
66 degrees 53% humidity


March 5th Halpata Tastanaki Preserve (SR 200)
Hike #36, 2 miles
67 degrees, 81% humidity

Florida Trails West

March 6th Florida Trails West (CR 484)
Hike #37, 2 miles
73 degrees, 73% humidity

49th Ave Trailhead

March 8th Florida Trails 49th Ave Trailhead West
Hike #38, 3 miles
75 degrees, 89% humidity

So you can see the weather has been ideal and I've seen a lot of neat things! 

I hope you have some nice parks and trails that you can enjoy when the weather is good!

Happy Hiking!

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

I’m joining Thankful Thursdays and

I like Thursdays HERE too!

Saturday, March 12, 2022

What do YOU see?

You really have to 'look' when you are at Blue Run Park.

There's so much vegetation

and there are sights and sounds all around you!

So here are a few photos from a hike this past week at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon.

The Red-shouldered Hawk is a favorite.

It's not an unusual sighting. 

But it's special to us.

We saw these Hawks when they were in the nest and watched them grow!

The camera focused on the spider web but can you see the Hawk?

This turtle has seen it up above him too.

And how about this lazy alligator?

Those are big turtles behind him on the log.

Oh the lazy days of Spring! lol

And do you see the gator from the bridge?

A side view!

Lots of Pied billed Grebes on the river too.

We've had some beautiful weather to enjoy the great outdoors!

Enjoy your weekend!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.