Friday, May 26, 2023

The Gulf Coast, Postcard Perfect!

When you walk the Withlacoochee Bay Trail to the Gulf Coast, you are constantly looking around.

The views are amazing!

Northern Cardinal

There are birds everywhere!

Gulf Fritillary

And butterflies?

Wildflowers and butterflies are in abundance.

This Gulf Fritillary made us stand on our heads for a good shot!

The one bird we were surprised to see was this Northern Harrier.

They are more commonly seen over the preserve and along the greenway.

But this one soared over the water.

The Queen butterfly stayed on the flowers long enough for us to get some neat photos.

It's not often that ALL most of my butterfly photos are in focus! lol

I've seen butterflies everywhere this week and even some hummingbirds!

We didn't see any Manatee this trip, but we'll be back!

Has it been a good week for you too?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

  Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, May 19, 2023

A Day on the Gulf Coast

We are enjoying the Spring weather and spending time on our favorite trails and preserves.

The nice thing about living in North Central Florida is the proximity to the Gulf Coast. It takes us about 40 minutes to drive to the Gulf Coast on back country roads with very little traffic. The 'real' Florida!

The temps were in the 70s when we started our day and 85 degrees when we drove home at about 4 pm.

It was perfect for a walk on the boardwalk at Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve. More info HERE

As I've written before, this is a beautiful preserve that most people drive right by. The dirt road is narrow and may not look as inviting as other trailheads. But of course we love it!

The highlight of the day was the Tricolored Heron in breeding plumage.

Do you see the white feathers coming out of the back of his head and the white feathers on his rump?

At first we thought we were seeing something 'new' but the long neck, small head and large beak is the description of a Tricolored Heron.

A few 'ruffled' feathers!

Something else we rarely see are the huge Blue Crabs.

They were almost as big as a dinner plate!

Small colorful crabs were in the wet sand.

It was a beautiful day at the preserve and we had it all to ourselves. I always hope others will discover these hidden treasures. We love the peace and quiet but there's always room for more nature lovers!

Do you have a peaceful place to spend some time this weekend? ENJOY!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

  Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Monday, May 15, 2023

Butterfly havens!

 I hope everyone had a beautiful Mother's Day weekend. We had a wonderful Sunday. The weather is so fabulous here right now that we're working in a few extra hikes. It's hot already and it will only get hotter! 

But the mornings are nice and there are wildflowers and butterflies on every trail.

We even had a neat sighting in our front yard.

A Monarch butterfly was on our rose bushes and then it flew down to the grass.

Hubby put his hand out and it crawled right up onto his hand.

We don't see as many Monarchs and it was a special treat to see it up close and personal.

Lots of other butterflies, bugs and bees to share!

Gulf Fritillary 

I may need to do a few more posts while I'm seeing so much and taking so many photos.

Are you spending time outdoors this Spring?

Here are a few more of the bunny I saw on Beauty Berry Lane (49th Ave trailhead).

It's nice to go outside, even if it is just in your own backyard.

There's even more beauty to observe when you get out on the hiking trails!

I picked my first few blackberries on a hike this weekend. And yes I ate them without washing them first. I blew on them! hahaha!

Joining Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE ! 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Gone Fishin'!

 I keep looking for good spots to fish in case I decide to go fishin'! I remember my Grandmother loading her car to go to the river to fish. I think she was about my age at the time.

When we were walking the paved path at Blue Run Park, a Black-crowned Night Heron flew out from the lower branches and caught a fish in one 'fell swoop'! 

It's probably about the size I would catch or more likely I would snag one of the lower branches! lol

Swallowing it WHOLE!

This is a bird we don't see often so it was a nice sighting.

And something we've never seen before were these 4 Pileated Woodpeckers together.

I think the one in the center was doing all the work. The other two were preening!

They are common at the Rainbow River but I think the most we've seen at one time is 2. There were 3 on the tree and another one down below.

Someone stopped to watch with us and he kept saying he had never seen this many together either.

A Limpkin greeted us at the beginning of the hike.

A good day was had by all!

Have you been fishin' lately?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

Friday, May 5, 2023

Sunset at the Pond

 I love to walk over to the neighborhood pond at sunset. 

It's not the best time for bird photos and it doesn't count as a hike but it's a relaxing evening stroll just down the street from my house.

I was thrilled to see so many Ring-necked Ducks. Thanks Wally for help with the ID! They are similar to the Scaup Ducks but when you see photos of them side by side, it's easy to tell the difference! Whew! I'm still learning!

I kept taking photos knowing they wouldn't be in sharp focus.

But the water did take on some sunset colors and looked beautiful.

One more before it gets too dark!

There were lots of other ducks and birds there so I'll share a few.

Great Egret hiding in the long grass along the bank.

Red-winged Blackbirds singing louder than the other birds.

A mosaic of the bird, purple Irises and roses.

And all along, you can see that I was lifting my camera to capture the spectacular sunset.

What a wonderful way to end the day.

One more mosaic of the Red-winged blackbird.

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

  Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE !