Monday, February 27, 2023

Butterfly Brambles at Shangri-La!

 I found a little side trail at the Shangri-La trailhead where there are branches piled up with vines growing up through them. I saw butterflies there a few months ago so I went back a few days ago to see what it looked like now.

Orange Sulphur Butterfly

There were yellow wildflowers blooming everywhere with butterflies fluttering.

So I named it Butterfly Brambles.

Painted Lady butterfly that I spotted there in December.

I was hoping to see the Painted Lady again but I didn't see one today. I did see several others though!

Gulf Fritillary

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Longtailed Skipper

I walked another direction to try to get closer to a huge Wild Plum tree in full bloom.

It was beautiful!

You could smell the sweet scent from the trail!

This was another tree blooming.

Lyreleaf Sage

And more wildflowers.

I wish I could drive over there every day! It's only 4 miles from my house so it's tempting!

Have you seen wildflowers in bloom this week? 

I'm joining Mosaic Monday HERE 

and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, February 24, 2023

From the elegant Great White Egret to the rugged's all at Blue Run Park!

 We spent a couple of hours at Blue Run Park in Dunnellon one afternoon and took about 100 photos!

Withlacoochee River

It's easy to do! 

Rainbow River

But I'll share just a few.

Great White Egret

Great white Egret, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis


Too much 'picture taking', he's taking off! 

Moorhen and Pied-billed Grebe going their separate ways!

Wood ducks

It's the one place we can see a lot of birds and wildlife right from the paved trail.

And yes, we saw 4 alligators...every size! 

Small Alligator observed (zoomed in) from the bridge.

We even saw a baby gator but didn't get a great photo of him. We'll go back and try again though!

Always an adventure to hike the Blue Run Park trail! 

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

Monday, February 20, 2023

I love maps! 'Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway'

I've always loved maps. I'm not the best at following them but they have always intrigued me. 

And now they are a great tool for planning a hike!

A few years ago a sweet couple that volunteered for the Cross Florida Greenway gave me a set of maps. We used to see them on the ATV with the blower attachment that cleaned off the paved trail. And then the last time I saw her, she told me her beloved Kenny had passed away.

Now we can walk past the bench dedicated to Kenny with fond memories. 

We hike from several different trailheads when we hike what I usually call  the 'Florida Trails'.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon when we started our hike at the 49th Ave Trailhead.

And it was too nice to stay on the pavement so off into the woods we went.

Lots of neat things to see like this Fence Lizard.

And the wild plum is blooming all through the forest!

Lots of green year round here.

Lots of palmetto palm and ferns in this area!

And a view from the trail.

Several people have poured over these maps to look at the trails close by but I can't be talked out of them! 

I love pouring over maps. Do you?

I'm joining Mosaic Monday HERE 

and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, February 17, 2023

Birds of a Feather in February?

 What do Sandhill Cranes, Tree Swallows, American Robins and Cedar Waxwings all have in common?

I see ALL of these birds just about every day right now. 

We start seeing Robins around Christmas. 

They usually show up on the golf course behind our house on Christmas day.

And this month, they are everywhere! In the trees, on the ground and using the bird bath in our courtyard! According to the info I found, they come for the abundance of food here in Florida.

Is there room for one more?  

The Cedar Waxwings usually show up for my birthday in January. They are 'hanging out' with the Robins!

Don't LAUGH! This one is enjoying the wind in his feathers! 

Tree Swallows spend the winter months here in North Central Florida. 

We talked with some bird watchers from the Audubon Society in January and they said they had counted over 500 birds at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve that day. We saw the big flocks too but couldn't determine the number. We were surprised and happy to know there were so many.

And we always see families of Sandhill Cranes at HTP.

They are such beautiful birds!

Now we are hearing the large flocks of the migratory Sandhill Cranes flying over when we hike. 

There are hundreds of them!

You can hear them squawking overhead and then the challenge is to find them in the bright blue sky!

I learned a lot by doing an online search.

Bring your camera when you visit Florida in February!

And take some pics where you live too!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

Monday, February 13, 2023

Yellow Jessamine and the Red-banded Hairstreak

We always feel like Spring is just around the corner when we see the Yellow Jessamine in full bloom.

It blooms in February here and our weather has been in the 70s and 80s for highs so it does feel like Spring.

The vines were draped all in the trees and at one point we were walking on a carpet of yellow blooms that had fallen on the trail.

We hiked a part of the Florida Trails that we call Limerock Road.  (views from the trail)

It has a gate but there's no sign. It's off SR 200 across from Ross Prairie and a trailhead that is easy to miss. We turned down a side trail and hiked a trail we hadn't been on before.

There was a water hole but it was just about dry. (hopefully there are others nearby for the animals)

And up on a plateau was a new bench.

Don't you love the details on this bench?

It was a beautiful day to be trekking through the woods.

We even spotted a small butterfly and identified it as a Red-banded Hairstreak.

Have you seen any signs of Spring yet?

I'm joining Mosaic Monday HERE 

and I like Thursdays HERE !