I left Brett back in Tampa and headed up to Birmingham to visit my sister over Easter weekend. Even though Friday was going to be a cloudy rainy day, we risked it and headed up about an hour north of Birmingham to visit the past. Noccalula Falls was our destination. I hadn’t been since the early 70’s and was wondering if it looked the same. I’m sure a lot has changed but I remembered the park looking bigger. The story is that an Indian princess was already in love with someone else but her father told her she had to marry a neighboring chief instead so she fell to her death. Full story here. We were there after a big storm so the water was heavy coming over the falls.
Looking through the trees and down the Black Creek Gorge.
Some of the old buildings on display throughout the park.
Canadian geese at the top of the falls.
I found some old pictures that my dad had taken of the falls back in 1973. My sister and were posing on an old wagon (I’m on the left). We looked for the wagon when we were there but couldn’t find it. I think we were pretending to hold on to the reins. My dad always liked actions shots
My first alien sighting of the season. These are common moorhen babies. They are the funniest looking babies of all of the ducks and are pretty common around here. Moorhens have babies starting in early spring and all through the summer so I will see them everywhere but they are so funny looking that it makes them cute. From those little wings sticking out to their bald red heads, they have a lot of personality for such a tiny thing.
These cute little burrowing owls are looking out for predators. If anything looks suspect, they run back into their burrows. We don’t have any living in the Tampa Bay area so on a recent trip to see Brett’s relatives that live near Fort Lauderdale, we stopped by a sports park on the way that is known for having the little owls living there year round. It was the beginning of nesting season so they were all sticking close to the burrows. Many might have had eggs already in them. While Brett sat in the car and answered emails (it was a Friday after all), I ran around and took all of the above. All were taken with my 300mm with extender and cropped up.
White pelicans are true “snow birds”. You only see them in Florida in the winter and even then it’s rare to see them. For the last several years there have been a few hanging around Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland (also know for their resident swans that live on the lake). I had seen a few earlier in the winter but when I stopped by to see if any of the swans had babies yet in mid-March, the lake was full of white pelicans. They were busy fishing and didn’t notice me at all standing on the side of the lake.
They seemed to be herding the fish into the vegetation and then scooping up the fish. You would think that after doing this all day they would eat all of the fish in this little lake. I went back several weeks later and all of the white pelicans were gone. I”m assuming they moved on to another pond or left to head up north. I realized when I cropped that last shot that there was a northern shoveler swimming in front of them.
Many of the pelicans were busy preening or flying around.
Every year in the winter Brett and I head down to the Miami area for a long weekend to visit some relatives before it gets too hot. This past February we were looking for something to do with his aunt and uncle and were going to be close to Homestead one afternoon so we stopped at the Fruit and Spice Park. We were way down south of Miami right before heading to the Keys. Lots of farmland down there. The park is a farm that grows different exotic spices and fruits that you can tour. We took a long tram ride with a guide who explained all of the different plants that are farmed there. We got to taste and smell some of them. It was a nice way to relax and spend the afternoon outdoors and I took a ton of pictures.
The above Rainbow Gum tree was very cool. As the bark peels off, it exposes different colors. It can only be grown in frost-free areas of the country.
There were lots of critters crawling around from the pretty green lizard to the big iguanas. The kids on the tram went crazy over them and we stopped and were allowed to get pretty close.