Friday, June 30, 2023

How blue can a 'blue' bird be? The Blue Grosbeak

When I saw this Blue Grosbeak at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve (the Pruitt trailhead) I was very happy to see it again. I've seen it in the same location every year for several years now. And I think that any sighting of a Blue Grosbeak is cause for celebration.

This handsome male is sporting some vibrant breeding colors.

He is a deep, rich blue with a tiny black mask in front of his eyes.

He has chestnut wing bars and a black and silver beak.

The information I read stated that there is not a decline in the number of these birds. There have never been a great number.

I went back a few days later and saw it again. So I feel doubly blessed!

He was quite a distance and I zoomed as much as I could and then cropped my photos.

What a beauty!

The Jeep is always ready at the trailhead and this is a red bellied woodpecker I spotted on this hike.

And now to a wildlife sighting that gave me a 'start'! A small coyote came out of the brush and onto the trail in front of me. He was not very close but he looked at me....and I looked at him....and I don't know who jumped higher! 

He's in the lower right hand corner by the shady spot.

And now I've cropped the photo. He disappeared into the tall weeds so I kept on walking. I'm careful around wild animals but I didn't have a reason to turn around and end my hike early. He didn't appear to be a threat. And since I'm telling the story....all's well that ends well! 

Have you had some good sightings this week?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

  Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, June 23, 2023

bob WHITE, bob WHITE

As most of you know I was 'born and raised' in Arkansas and then lived many years in Texas. So I grew up knowing what a bobwhite was but it still thrills me to hear and see them along the Florida Trails.

I was walking very quietly on a trail at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve (from the Pruitt trailhead).

It is a road that is used by forest rangers and park personnel but it has a locked gate. You enter the trail through a small opening next to the gate. So it's an easy walk and you can see up ahead. 

And so begins my bobwhite story.

I looked up ahead and a beautiful female was walking across in front of me.

She took her time and kept her eyes on me at all times.

I was surprised that she didn't fly away.

But she took her time while I stood still and took photos.

When she got across, she hid in the tall grass and watched me.

So I walked on by. After a few steps, I stopped to look back.

And that's when baby boy bobwhite came across headed for mama! (a male has white above the eyes and on the side of the face)

But then he saw me and froze.

And then he started walking towards me! 

Mama bobwhite started crying...CHIRP CHIRP...over and over again.

And then she finally got concerned enough to intervene! She flew over him into the grass where they had started from and he flew off after her. WHEW! I guess he had never seen a hiker in a pink hat before! But I think he'll remember me from now on!

What a tale I had to tell when I got home. I saw lots of other neat sightings, a Checkered butterfly and beautiful wildflowers.

Have you seen a bobwhite or heard the bob WHITE call? 

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

  Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, June 16, 2023

Birds, Here There and Everywhere!

We don't have to leave our homes to see beautiful birds here in Florida. 

This Juvenile White Ibis has been walking through our yard every day this week.

And yesterday he wandered through the flower garden with a friend. These beautiful flowers are across the street at my sweet neighbors' house. (I came back to add that.) I don't want to take credit for her gorgeous flowers! I have roses blooming in my flower beds but the Ibis in these photos were across the street! 

I was hoping they would stay in this area to get more photos of the gorgeous blooms.

We've had a few afternoon showers lately and everything is blooming like crazy.

Oh, a photo bombing Crow! lol

And of course the forest is all atwitter this week too.

I saw this beautiful male Downy Woodpecker on a hike near the Shangri-la trail.

And then on another day I saw a pretty female Downy near the hwy 484 trailhead.

It's been a good week for getting out early and enjoying a hike.

You can see that the female doesn't have a red spot on her head.

But if you need to stay inside one day...look out the window!

I stood in my courtyard here to see what was under the trees in the backyard.

A big Tom Turkey was taking a break and enjoying the cool shade of the oak trees.

Have you seen some birds at your house this week?

 Get outside and enjoy nature when you can and look for a shady place to take a break!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

  Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, June 9, 2023

Summertime Adventures and Blackberry Crumble (recipe)

 It's been a nice start to the summer here in Florida.

Our temps have been nice enough in the mornings to hike.

And I even made a special trip to the blackberry patch at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve. (SR 200 trailhead)

I put on a long sleeve shirt and reached in the brier patch and picked sweet ripe blackberries until I had enough for a Blackberry crumble. 

I saved a few to eat with vanilla yogurt too. Yummy!

One of my favorite sightings this week was this beautiful White-tailed Deer.

 When I looked over into the woods, he was looking right at me. I think it's a 6 point buck.

It was hard to get good photos through the trees and when I moved he bolted.

He ran across the trail in front of me so I got another good look.

But as you can see in this photo

....he easily disappeared into the deer woods.

One of my favorite bird sightings this week was this pretty yellow Summer Tanager.

And here's the best recipe I've tried lately. I took a recipe and changed it up so that is was 'lower' carb and sugar free. The topping came out so crunchy and perfect for the tart blackberries. 

Blackberry Crumble

Wash blackberries and pour into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of Erythritol 'sugar'.

Crumble topping

  • 3 tbsp Whole Earth Organic Erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1/4 cup of oat fiber
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter cold
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 1/4 cup of slivered almonds (opt)

  1. Mix dry crumble ingredients except the almond slivers.
  2. Cut up the cold butter into chunks.
  3. Work the butter into the crumble.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Sprinkle the crumble over the top of the berries.
  6. Sprinkle slivered almonds over the top. (opt)
  7. Bake at 30 minutes until a golden brown.

I didn't have any almond slivers but I'm sure that would add to the crunch. And it would be really good with sugar free ice cream on top or whipped cream. 

And what do you mean some of it is missing? 
Those crazy kids! You have to watch them all the time! 😉

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Get outside if you can and enjoy the great outdoors!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

  Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE !  

Friday, June 2, 2023

Cannon Farms in Dunnellon for Sunflowers!

It really feels like summer when I take a trip to Cannon Farms for fresh produce and sunflowers.

So let's take the Jeep for a little trip to Dunnellon!

We've already driven past the farm on our trips to Blue Run Park and the Gulf Coast.

I like to reserve a day when I have lots of time to walk in the fields and take tons of photos.

The weather was beautiful and I packed a lunch.

So I had all day! 

I shopped for fresh produce first and put all of that in the cooler. 

Then I picked up a bag and some clippers and headed for the sunflower fields.

It really takes your breath away to be surrounded by so much beauty...and LOTS of honey bees!

I was trying to describe it to someone and I couldn't find the words to express what an amazing experience it is to be immersed in so much beauty.

So I'll just keep plugging in photos and probably do another post later with MORE photos!

I saw lots of Cattle Egrets flying over the fields.

There were goats, turkeys and chickens on the farm too!

There were Sandhill Cranes and ducks on the drive over. (no photos but nice sightings!)

Even these 'spent' blooms are beautiful in their own way!

Do you love old barns as much as I do?

I wanted to include photos of the Jeep and this was my favorite!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

and I’d Rather B Birdin’.  

  Mosaic Monday HERE and I like Thursdays HERE !