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.
A few things blooming on the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve at the end of March.
Looking across the pond, I took this straight into the sun.
The painted buntings were still there and I was able to catch two males sitting near each other. After feeding they both flew across the canal.
A crow showing me his nesting material before taking off.
A few fly bys. A cattle egret up in the sky and a great blue heron cruising low over two alligators.
It doesn’t get much better than this. A cool sunny morning on the trails.
I could see an eagle high up in the cypress tree across the pond.
Farther down the trail I saw two eagles chasing each other.
They both landed high up in the trees and sat together for a while, often yelling. Mating season was over so I’m not sure what they were doing. Maybe a late nest? Maybe they were making plans to meet up this fall? Or they were talking about how great their new kids were?
I’m thinking this will be my last trip here until late Fall. It’s a long drive to Lakeland and it’s too hot to be out on the trails in the middle of summer. I’ll be sticking close to home and the coast to catch a little breeze (although probably a hot one).
The winter months are my favorite time of the year since the weather is so mild here in central Florida. But, when April rolls around I always think it’s my favorite month. It’s still cool in the mornings and everything is blooming everywhere. The flowers look fresh and haven’t been fried by the summer sun yet.
Even the pitcher plants were blooming.
The little critters were buzzing around.
Painted buntings were everywhere this year. This couple only stopped at the feeder for a few minutes.
Of course cardinals are always around.
A bunny on the trail at Bok Tower Gardens in early April.
In late April, I went out for a walk at Crescent Lake Park. It would be hard to close this park down since it’s really just a small lake with a sidewalk around it in a neighborhood. Although the baseball field was empty and the fenced in dog park area was closed. There were several fitness classes going on in the open grass under the trees. The groups were small and everyone was spread out. Looks like people just moved the gym outdoors.
A female grackle in the reeds.
At first I thought this grackle was just standing on one leg but when he flew up into the tree I realized he was missing a leg.
I cannot seem to get a good shot of the otter there. This time he was coming right at me and I would be shooting right into the sun. He was chewing something in the middle of the lake and then disappeared across the other side of the lake. He’s always so quick and doesn’t stay still for a second. I’ve heard there are several here but I’ve only seen one.
The fields were covered with these pink puffy plants. And they were covered in bees.
It’s always a nice quiet walk at Possum Branch Preserve. It’s a hidden gem right off of a busy main road but most people don’t know it exists. It never closed down so I’ve been going there for a long walk a few times a week since it’s close to home.
Flowers and plants from Bok Tower Gardens in central Florida in mid-March. Around here things bloom early if not all year round. I have not seen the dark orange sunflowers there before. I think those were my favorite. A bad storm had come through the state the night before and I thought I might get rained out but the next morning the sun was up so I headed out. Everything looked bright and damp.