Friday, September 29, 2023

Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway

 Most of my hikes take place on the Greenway. 

It's close to my house and there are several trailheads where I can park to start a hike. I'm over 100 hikes for this year!

Pileated Woodpecker

I love these big noisy woodpeckers!

There are 3 trailheads less than 5 miles from me so it's quick and easy to drive over for a hike on the paved trail or on the many primitive trails in the forest. 

And some of the trails have birds and critters that the other sections don't have. (or I don't see!)

So I thought I would share some of the sights I've seen over the past couple of weeks of hiking the Greenway. 

The weather has improved and I'm back to hiking just about every other day. It sure feels great!

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker juvenile

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker (back)

Red headed Woodpecker juvenile

Warbler (pine warbler I think)

And last but not least, Rufous-sided Towhees.

Florida towhees have the pale eye!

I saw about 6 of these birds flitting around.

They were a family of Towhees!

I named this one Scruffy!

We found a lot of these trails by going on the internet and searching and a few we found using google maps. 

I hope you can find places close to your home to get out in nature. It's fun to do the research online!

 It's a great time of the year to get outside.
Is it good hiking weather where you live too?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, September 22, 2023

I once caught a fish THISSS BIGGG!!!

The fish story will be at the end of the post but I'll assure you now, I only took the photo! I didn't actually catch the fish! But it's a whopper!

We drove out to the Gulf Coast last weekend and it was a gorgeous day.

It started with a few sprinkles of rain and that scared most people off and we had the trail all to ourselves!

The first bird we saw was a Roseate Spoonbill but I wasn't fast enough to get a photo. 

But then when we got closer to the Gulf, a Bald Eagle was on the shore and flew to a tree nearby.

It was an elegant mature Eagle and we stood there and took lots of photos while it preened.

That was one of the highlights of the day. 

And a great way to start the day!

We saw a few Osprey too and they are always fun to watch glide overhead.

This one perched nearby and we took the pics from the truck!

Looks like he's saying, 'are you looking at ME?'with attitude! 

I took these through the truck windshield. (it was clean from the shower earlier!)

And then when we finished our hike on the Withlacoochee Bay Trail we headed out on the 4 miles of dirt road. We stopped at one of the observation platforms and that's where we saw the 'catch of the day'.

I think it may be the catch of a lifetime! This young lady pulled in a 27 pound, 3 ft long Black Grouper! 

It was amazing! I was almost as excited as she was!

It was 'catch and release' so they put it back in the water to live another day! 

A fun day was had by all!

Don't stay home just because of a few sprinkles! You might miss the gorgeous clouds at the end of the day!

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, September 15, 2023

Horses and Cows and Bees....OH MY!

 I always see a lot of birds when I go to the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve but I also see some other interesting sights.

When you drive into the Pruitt Trailhead from hwy 484, the road goes through the preserve to the Florida Trails and HTP trailhead but it also has some private land to the West. 

I love seeing the horses on this horse farm.

They look so peaceful in this setting and the sky was darkening with a shower coming in from the Gulf.

There are also cows grazing....

or cows gazing!

So those were some of the sights I saw when I started my hike.

What did I see when I ended the hike?

A swarm of honey bees.

I've never seen that on a hike but when I went back a week later they were still there.

The bees are right in the center of this photo.

I know they may not be dangerous but I gave them a wide berth and zoomed in for these photos.

They were quite active! Hope the scout finds them a hollow tree or good place for their hive. I guess I'll check on them again in a few days!

So what's buzzin'.... 

or mooing where you live?

Have you had a good week too?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, September 8, 2023

Learning to identify birds!

 It's not easy to identify the birds we see! There are so many things to take into consideration when you see a bird that is not readily recognized. We see a lot of birds here in Florida and take a lot of photos.

I think it's great fun to come home and get the photos on the computer and start zooming in on them to see if we can figure out what we've seen. There are definitely some 'fly bys' that we are never sure of.

The Sibley Guide to Birds is the best book in my opinion.

We have a lot of books specifically for Florida but so many of the birds we see are migratory and not year round regulars.

So here are a few that we identified this week on a trip to Halpata Tastanaki Preserve, hiking from the Pruitt Trailhead.

I think this is the most beautiful bobwhite I've ever seen. The plumage was so colorful. 

Florida Bobwhite

And here's the ID page in Sibley's....

Another beautiful bird perched in a tree!

A close up of the Florida bobwhite....

Sometimes birds are quite a distance away or high in a tree.

Common Ground Dove

The ID page in Sibley's....

And this one was a little trickier. We have seen the Blue Grosbeak in this area all summer but this one wasn't blue! 

Blue Grosbeak (1st Winter)

The page in Sibleys....

It's always fun to get out in nature and learn more about the birds you see. 

Do you enjoy ID books too and learning something new?

And other books you would recommend?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !