Bur marigolds and alligators

I think late November and early December is the most beautiful time at Circle B Bar Reserve.

A few of the critters. I thought I had found a 2 headed gator but just realized they were just passing by.

Traffic jam on the trails. Some of the trails are heavily populated but there are also some quieter ones as well that you can walk to be alone,

A beautiful start to the day.

SkyWatch Friday

I’m in Oz?

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It felt like it in late November at Circle B Bar Reserve. The entire preserve was covered in yellow. Bur marigolds bloom for a short time in late November in central Florida.

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Instead of the scarecrow and the cowardly lion, we had very aggressive alligators. One really big one was napping right up against the trail.

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Lots of other pretty plants there as well. When the wind blows, the plant in the last picture has small white flecks flying off.  You would almost think it was snowing, if you weren’t sweating in the 82 degree weather.

Driving around a lake in central Florida

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The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is an 11 mile drive along a lake north of Orlando.  The weekend Brett and I stayed in Orlando, we got up early and drove through the area before heading back to Tampa. The 11 miles zig zags back and forth with channels running on either side.

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The first things we say were birds of prey.  A northern harrier, a young red shoulder hawk and a kestrel right when we drove in.

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A great egret fighting with a snake.

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Fulvous whistling ducks were far out in the lake.

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Alligators of all sizes were along the drive including that big one in the last picture. His head was huge. I wish his entire body was out of the water. He has got to be the biggest one I’ve seen out in the wild.

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Pretty plants along the way.

SkyWatch Friday

If birds could talk

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“I need to get an agent” said the limpkin who sat there while tons of people were taking his picture.

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“I’m going back to sleep” said the grumpy red shoulder hawk.

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“I’m not going to do anything interesting. Take my picture just like this lady” said the great blue heron.

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‘Yes, we are a dime a dozen” said all of the phoebes.

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“Look ma, no hands” said the anhinga climbing up the branch.

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“What are you looking at?” said the snowy egret.

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“No I’m not going to look at you just so you can take my picture” said the gnatcatcher.

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“We’re trying to blend in but I don’t think it’s working” said the great egret to the cattle egret.

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“Everyone look up at me” said the rare Harrier Hawk.

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“She’d better be bringing home bacon cause I’m tired of bringing all the sticks” said the bald eagle as he headed for the nest.

Lots of birds but not a lot of activity in mid-November. They were all just sitting there, except for the eagles. They were both bringing sticks back to the nest. You could see them flying back and forth over the trail heading to the nest but you can’t see the nest. It’s hidden high up in the trees, facing the lake. In the mornings before 11am, people are lined up on the trail to see the eagles flying back and forth.

The Northern Harrier hawk was a surprise. It was a first time ever seeing one. I had heard there was one flying around earlier but didn’t think I would see it and right before leaving he flew right over my head.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Beauty and the Bees

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A big wasp nest hiding on the trail.

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Bees were everywhere.

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Peeking out from the lake.

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Snacking high up in a tree.

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Pretty spider hanging upside down. These guys are really tiny.

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Fluffy bushes blowing in the wind.

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The bur marigolds made their usual November appearance this year. The park was a blanket of yellow as far as you could see. They don’t last long.  This was in mid-November and two weeks later they were already dying off.

November is not the busy wildlife season at Circle B Bar Reserve but you have to go just to see the marigolds in bloom. It’s like walking through the land of Oz.

SkyWatch Friday