Monday, August 29, 2022

The Abominable Snowman moves to Florida!

 OK...maybe I exaggerate! Maybe he just came for a summer vacation! 

But I did look out in the preserve at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve and wonder what in the world was out in the marsh.

I thought it was a mound of sand or a bleached out tree maybe.

But when I got home and looked at my photos.....

it was a big web full of caterpillars.

I couldn't resist playing with photos and overlaying a few to get some neat effects!

And I put him up in this big tree right along the trail! EEEEE!!!

And then I looked around at some of my other photos and found a few more 'monsters' to share.

So even when the sky is blue and bright, the woods could have monsters lurking.

You just never know......

if you let your imagination run WILD!

And come walk in the woods with me!

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, August 26, 2022

The Roseate Spoonbill, my Florida Favorite

 It's hard to pick a favorite bird when you live in Florida! 

But I fell in love with the Roseate Spoonbill when I first moved here.

And we've only had a few sightings of this beautiful pink bird 'in the wild' over the years.

You would think you could go to the same trails and see the same sights but that's not at all true here in North Central Florida. 

My husband and I went over to the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve and hiked from the Pruitt Trailhead a week ago and looked up in the sky and saw Roseate Spoonbills!

It was cloudy and they showed up nicely against the grayish silver sky. Later we saw another one fly over when we were having a snack.

Roseate Spoonbill flock, Cedar Key

I looked back at posts that have featured the Roseate Spoonbill and found the one of our sighting of a flock of them in Cedar Key, back in July 2012 HERE.

That was the first time I had seen them in the wild and I wasn't even sure what they were!

We can see them at Ellie Shiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

This is a mosaic I made of photos we took there a couple of years ago and posted them HERE.

Close up of their feathers

So that was our excitement on Hike #104! We also had a really good sighting of an Owl but only one photo. I stood there and watched it fly by without even lifting my camera but hubby got one. It was amazing!

Owl in flight

I went back over to this trail a week later and didn't see any of the same birds. Time and chance!

Roseate Spoonbill

Hope you can get out in nature this week and see something neat. Time and chance...but you have to get out there often for that to work in your favor!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.   

Monday, August 22, 2022

Let's drive over to the recycle center!

 I know that doesn't sound exciting but our recycle center actually borders Ross Prairie State Forest so it's a good place to see birds and wildlife (and to recycle! lol).

The wild turkeys were fun to watch!

I think we scared them and scattered the flock. 

They were strutting and trotting on both sides of the car.

And then we made a loop to get back home and stopped at 3 more trailheads!

Shangri-la is a trail we have to save for cooler days. The trail goes into the dense forest and is perfect for a cool windy day. After you climb a steep hill, you drop back down into the canal diggings and you don't get any wind or even a breeze down there. There's also a little issue with poison ivy on the trail. But we'll be there when the weather changes! I can't wait!

We pulled into the 49th Ave trailhead and looked around too. And then drove around to another entrance that doesn't have parking. 

We were fortunate to see Florida Scrub jays, a female Cardinal and a Rufous-sided Towhee singing his heart out. We saw lots of animal tracks on the soft sand too. But it was too hot to do a regular hike. We were just scouting around!

So that was our exciting trip to the recycle center! We saw White Ibis in our backyard before we left too. Summer time is a great time to be in Florida! And recycling is always a good idea!

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, August 19, 2022

I Spy Something Red!

It's not always possible to find answers to your questions when you view your photos from a hike.

But it sure is fun when you do!

So what happened to the red berry?

We saw the Red-bellied Woodpecker with a red berry in his beak in one of my photos.

And then we found it stashed away in a little crevice of the old snag of a tree when we looked at hubby's photos. Of course the most interesting part of the photo is the yummy snack the woodpecker has pulled out of the top of the tree. But do you see the red berry above?

It seems like we see Woodpeckers on every hike this summer.

This Pileated Woodpecker is right in the center of this photo.

But we managed to change our angle and get a few more.

He's so beautiful!

And we've seen a few Red Headed Woodpeckers. Not many. Just a few so far.

 Red headed Woodpecker

And I love seeing a young one (possibly a Red-bellied Woodpecker) that doesn't have much color at all.

The Flicker is a neat sighting too.

Do you see the red on the back of his head?

We started this post with a red berry. 

How about this beautiful red Cardinal flower to end it! We're getting out for more hikes lately! 

A few people asked if the Luna Moth I featured in a post HERE was still alive when we saw it. Yes, it was alive but struggling. It was flapping it's wings and flopping around on the ground, not flying away. I guess it was at the end of it's life. 

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.   

Monday, August 15, 2022

The Luna Moth

We saw a Luna Moth on the side of the trail at Blue Run Park. Someone had spotted it and was standing next to it when we hurried along to see. I knew it was a Luna Moth when I saw it. But I was surprised to learn some interesting facts about it when I did an online search.

Luna Moths are not rare but are rarely seen by humans. They are nocturnal. And they only live in their adult form for 7 to 10 days. The adults have vestigial mouthparts and no digestive system. The don't eat at all during this one week of life. They use energy stored up as caterpillars. Isn't that amazing?

And how neat to get to see one up close. It's considered a mega-moth and was as big as my hand outstretched.

 My camera shows the greener color, hubby's had less color but a better focus! 

Some of the best websites for info are HERE and HERE.

Right now Florida would be considered 'buggy' and we are seeing lots of dragonflies!

They are real beauties too.

My husband took the photos below and they really stood out, almost looking 3D!

(these were taken at Felburn Park on the Gulf Coast)

Another mosaic, a water lily with an insect on it and blue dragonflies.

Lion's Ear

I found a whole bed of these Lion's ear plants near the Pruitt trailhead, Halpata Tastanaki Preserve.

I found the ID HERE.

We looked straight up above this trail at Blue Run Park and saw this beautiful spider web. 

We can always marvel at nature's beauty if we just take the time to observe! 

I'm joining Angie for Mosaic Monday HERE . 

and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, August 12, 2022

A Walk in the Woods

With the heat and humidity, I've been sticking to the paved trails that have some shade.

But I wandered into the big woods to watch this Mama Deer and Fawn.

They were not very nervous about my presence over on the primitive trail.

So I just kept walking slowly and stopping when they did to take photos.

The little one was just like a 'kid'. The Mama would get a little ahead and then it would take off to catch up!

And then the little one crossed the trail in front of me.

It looked back to see who might follow.

And the Mama came out onto the trail and just stood there giving me a stare!

She was cautioning me not to follow.
So I stayed still and let them go off into another part of the woods.

I felt so privileged to get to watch them.

And I walked until this trail came back onto the paved trail.

Of course I saw some birds along the way too. The Rufous-Sided Towhee sang and sang. The Dove looked like he had been fluffing his feathers and the Kestrel was preening.

These were taken on the Florida Trails (49th Ave Trailhead) on a hot and humid morning this week. Over 100 hikes this year so far! 

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.