I got up early for the almost 2 hour drive to Bok Tower Gardens in central Florida in early March. The weather called for sunny and warm but halfway there the fog started. The closer I got to the gardens, the foggier it got. I was a little bummed but I figured it would lift sometime in the morning. It was still foggy when I started my drive into the gardens.
You pay at the gate and then drive for 5 minutes up to the where the gardens start. Part of that drive is through orange groves. I had my windows rolled down so I could smell the orange blossoms. The smell was strong and I pulled over for a few minutes and snapped the above with my phone. Nothing screams “central Florida” more than ripe oranges and orange blossoms together on the tree.
There’s always a lot blooming here, even in the winter.
You can see the spider webs in the fog.
I’m not sure what this pink tree was but it was almost past it’s peak.
The sun was just starting to peek out after I had been there for an hour.
The azalea bushes were still blooming with the color popping in the fog.
This was a fun trip and it was great to be out and about (even though I was riding a rented scooter). The fog eventually lifted but it kept things nice and cool.
I love these foggy winter mornings. It’s quiet and most people stay in when it’s like this. Right after Christmas I went out for a walk at the nearby Oldsmar pier. It was so damp that if felt like I was walking through a cool shower.
I then headed over to the Dunedin marina for a quick walk. The fog was almost gone but dark clouds had moved in and it started to drizzle.
I stopped at the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home (a slightly long detour) and the sun was trying to peek through.
I have been to the fishing pier at Safety Harbor a million times but I had never been in the hotel next door. I pass it as I’m doing my walk but I never stop in. I had heard their Christmas decorations in the lobby were pretty so I decided to check it out. It’s a fairly small lobby but still had a lot of history in it. One of these days I might have to eat at the restaurant here.
Another foggy walk along the Dunedin causeway in early December. I thought the sun was going to break through when I first got there but it seemed to get foggier as the morning went on.
After my walk I pulled my camera out of the car and walked down near the edge of the water. The tide was low and there were a few shorebirds feeding or sleeping. I caught a lone marbled godwit flying in to nap with the laughing gulls.
I stopped by the marina before heading home. I could see a bright red Santa on top of a boat, really popping with color in the fog.
The usual birds (a pelican and great egret) hoping a fisherman will show up to steal his snacks.
I love being out in the fog so when I peaked out the window in mid-February I got ready quickly and headed out the door for a walk on the Dunedin causeway. It kept getting foggier as the morning went on. I guess the sea fog was rolling in. The tide was super low which made it even cooler.
I had my camera in the car so I pulled it out to get some shots of the oystercatcher couple that was feeding along the causeway. Someone walked up behind me and spooked them to fly to the other side of the causeway.
A few of the other birds included a sanderling, a snowy egret, a marbled godwit and a young ring billed gull feasting on a dead fish.
Later I saw the oystercatchers again and snapped a few more pictures before leaving. They seemed to be having a lot of luck with whatever they were eating (tiny crabs?).
At the end of December I woke up and peeked out the window. It was really foggy so I got ready quickly and headed out the door. I love it when it’s foggy. I stopped by the nearby fishing pier early that morning and could not see across the bay. I could barely make out the end of the pier.
I noticed these strands of oyster shells hanging under the pier and looked them up when I got back home. These are VOG’s (vertical oyster gardens). The water around the shore of Safety Harbor and Oldsmar (which is Old Tampa Bay) was found to be the least healthy in all of the Tampa Bay. Not surprised. There’s a new Save Our Bay program and the easiest thing to start with was using oysters to filter out the water. One oyster can filter out 50 gallons of water a day. There were a lot of these on the dock and they are encouraging people who live on the water to hang these on their docks as well. It will take several months for the oysters to start to grow on these so I’ll keep an eye out.
Next I headed to the Safety Harbor fishing pier since I was close by running errands. It was foggy here as well but that didn’t stop those kayakers from being out.
I saw several manatees coming up for air right next to the dock and was bummed I didn’t have my camera with me but these phone shots turned out okay.
I think the sun was trying to peek out by the time I left.
The welcoming committee at Chinsegut Wildlife Area. This is the 3rd time I’ve seen these sandhill cranes hanging around the nature center. One is a juvenile and didn’t quite have the red on his face this past summer. It’s great to see the family is still together. I’m assuming they nest somewhere on the lake here.
Later when I was leaving they were hanging around the parking area and I snapped this with my phone.
I’m sure these are some type of weed but they were really pretty along the trail.
It was foggy when I first got there but wore off as the sun got higher.
I love going to Circle B Bar Reserve early in the morning when it’s foggy (as long as it burns off quickly). It makes the reserve look different than other days. You can see all of the spider webs across the marsh and it makes you realize just how many spiders there are out there.
Black bellied whistling ducks flying out across the marsh.
The bur marigolds were blooming in mid-November and the marsh was a blanket of yellow.
A few of the little critters flying around.
It was a quiet day for birds, except for some of the usuals including purple gallinules and swamp sparrows.
I left the house in the dark in early October, heading north to Chinsegut Wildlife trail. It’s only an hour away but feels like a completely different place. I made some quick stops along the way, taking shots of the light coming up over the trees and through the fog.
Right before the trail I saw this old building. At first I thought it was a house but it might have been some type of small factory or type of barn. There were trees growing in the middle of the building. I had to stop and get a shot of it. As I was taking some pictures with my phone, some crows flew out of the building. I thought “Is it Halloween already?”
When I got to the conservation center to park the sun was just coming up. I hadn’t been out for a long walk in a while and it felt good to be out in the woods.
Due to a lot of recent rain, things were pretty swampy. I had on a lot of bug spray so I was able to linger a while and listen to the swamp sounds.
It looked a little like fall with a few red leaves but I would suspect that they are really from the trees being so flooded for a while.
I found a sandhill crane family near the parking area and junior was almost grown up. He didn’t quite have a full red head yet though. They walked around for a while, picking off some bird seed in the ground feeder and then eventually headed into the woods.