Friday, October 27, 2023

A Tree with Character

 This was our turn around point in a hike we took at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve this week. (Pruitt trailhead)

It was very hard to turn back because there are trails taking off in every direction and they all look inviting. 

But we had been hiking for over an hour and had to be realistic. Our hike ended up taking 2 1/2 hours total and that's about our limit. I'm hoping there are leftovers in the 'fridge for dinner at this point! lol

We are hiking just about every other day now with the weather so perfect so I have a lot more photos to share.

I'll hit some of the highlights of this particular day.

I think the fall months are just as colorful as the Spring here in Florida.

The pink muhly grass is simply gorgeous.

And the brown eyed susans are in full bloom.

They spread out over the preserve with thousands of blooms.

It was amazing to see a young Bald Eagle.

 Northern Harrier

This Northern Harrier flew over us from time to time and a Hawk tried to chase it away.

 Thanks hubby for this amazing photo!!!

We were surprised to see the American Kestrel, too.

 Eastern Meadowlark.


So much to see and do right now. It's hard to stay indoors!

Have you had a good week? 

I hope you've had a chance to get outside and enjoy the beauty of Autumn.

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, October 20, 2023

A Colorful Hike (with some colorful danger on the trail)

 I headed over to the Shangri-la trailhead for a short hike. It was threatening rain so I knew I could park close to the trailhead and get back before I got wet.

Well, the weather improved and I ended up hiking for about 1 1/2 hours which is ideal for me.

What drew me into the forest were the wildflowers.

The Showy Rattlebox was in full bloom.

There were fields of these bright yellow flowers as far as the eye could see.

I've never seen so many at one place!

Close up of the flower.

One more looking out into the forest!

A bright red Cardinal eating Sumac berries.

(if you look closely you can see that he has lost a berry!)

It wasn't hot and the walking was easy.

So I went a little farther down this trail than I had been before.

I finally had to make myself turn around and head back to the trailhead.

And just when I made my turn, I ran into this danger.

Eastern Coral Snake

This Coral snake has the second strongest venom of any snake (Black Mamba has the most), so it is a bad snake to encounter on the trail. I gave it a wide berth and it turned and slithered off into the forest. 

It gave me quite a start when I spotted it and I'm glad it was in the open enough that I could see it from a distance.

So that's some of the Fall color in Florida!

Some good....some not so good!

Do you have pretty Fall colors at your house?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, October 13, 2023

When a Tortoise goes WILD!

 They shift into a high gear and meet you head on!

This was one of the funniest encounters I've had with a Gopher Tortoise!

I was walking on the Florida Trails, on a wide trail that had recently been mowed.

So I could see him headed my way at a high speed (for a tortoise)!

And he did not waver! He could see me ahead but he would not yield.

So I stopped and moved over and I found out why. 

I was standing right next to his path into the tall weeds that probably led to his home.

He was on his way home and nothing would stop him....and he was smiling all the way!

I saw lots of amazing birds at the Pruitt trailhead.

Loggerhead Shrike

It's always neat to see this beautiful bird and it perched close to the trail for a photo shoot.

The Black eyed Susans (or brown eyed) are in full bloom!

Do you have Fall wildflowers where you live? 

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !  

Friday, October 6, 2023

Longspurred Mint is in bloom!

I hiked to the spot where I remembered seeing the Longspurred Mint in the past. It's easier to locate when it's in full bloom and it has gorgeous deep pink blooms right now!

Longspurred Mint or Longspurred Balm is a rare species of flowering plant endemic to Florida. This flower is only found in Marion County and possibly Sumter County and there are only 15 known occurrences. It is a federally endangered species.

I was excited to see several plants in a group that look healthy and in full bloom. 

That really was the highlight of the week.

And although the Bluecurls aren't as rare, they are one of my favorite wildflowers.

The bloom is tiny and resembles an orchid.

It's in full bloom now too.

Wildflowers make the prettiest mosaics!

And now for my 'mystery bird'. 

I took several photos of this beautiful little bird but when I got my ID book out, I wasn't sure what it was.

I feel certain it's a Warbler but we see a nice variety of Warblers here and this one didn't look exactly like the ones we normally see. 

We probably see the Palm Warbler and Pine Warbler the most often.

If you can help, I'll add the ID and give you a shout out too!

 Thanks Jennifer...Reflections from Crumbly Acres. I think it IS a Common Yellowthroat, female. I appreciate your help with the ID!

The weather here is gorgeous now! How's your weather?

I’m joining Saturday’s critters HERE

  and Mosaic Monday HERE !