On the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve

The squirrels were busy grooming and eating.

Plants along the trail.

Roadblock on the trail. I was almost all the way down Marsh Rabbit Run trail when I saw this. My choices were to sit and wait and see if he moves or turn around and go back. I sat down on trail for about 15 minutes when a park ranger came from the other side of the trail in a cart and spooked the gator off the trail. The park ranger said he slept there for over 2 hours the day before. I probably would have given up and turned around after half an hour if the ranger hadn’t come by. That little moorhen was not as close as it looks in the shot. He was busy preening and ignoring the gator.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World

A trip down south (south Florida)

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.

More to come on this trip down “south”.

SkyWatch Friday

Pretty things at Lake Morton

Flowers were blooming in early March.

One great blue heron wagging his tongue. The other had his pretty breeding colors on his face. You can see the color difference in the one above that’s not ready for a girlfriend yet.

After a bath.

There’s several fully grown gray swans. Might be a hybrid of the white mute swan and the black swan? They are really pretty.

Baby swan up close.  The original “ugly duckling”.

Looking at the feet of a wood stork. It looks like his toenails are painted.

A quick walk around Lake Morton in downtown Lakeland before lunch. I only found one baby swan and not many swans nesting. Maybe they are nesting late this year.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

End of winter plants

It was a slow critter morning so I started taking pictures of the plants at Possum Branch Preserve near my house. It was a mix of end of winter and not quite yet spring things around the preserve.

I saw the above hanging on a tree. Some sort of cocoon?

The plants in the marsh were just starting to turn brown.

The usual gators in the pond.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.