A new preserve close by

I had only recently heard about Lake Dan Preserve through a hiking group. It’s only 30 minutes north so I decided to check it out in early February. It was a colder morning but the sun was warming up. The parking lot was small and hawk was sitting in a tree right over my car. There wasn’t a lot of birds when I first got there.  Only a few yellow-rumped warblers. Probably because that hawk was sitting there out in the open. I hit the trail and walked across the bridge over the lake.

Out on the edge of the lake I could see deer getting a drink.

As I got farther down the trail, I came across a deer that was standing right in front of me. She stared at me for a few seconds before taking off across the field. She did stop and look back for a few seconds before heading into the woods. There were a lot of deer up here roaming around.  All females that I saw this morning.

The only thing I didn’t like about the trail here was that most of it was soft sand which didn’t help my hip. Even walking on the edge didn’t help. I could feel my hip starting to hurt. I really need hard dirt or paved trails for now to keep my hip from going back out again so I didn’t walk as much as I would have liked to.

I found this interesting swamp pond about half way on my walk on a side trail. It was very quiet and I could barely make out deer getting water on the far end. I’m sure lots of critters use this instead of the big lake close by. It was kind of cool to be out here in the quiet and the bald cypress trees in the middle made it feel like winter. It’s amazing what you can find a half hour out of Tampa. First shot is out of the camera, the second I added a filter to make it look more like winter. I wasn’t sure which one I liked better.

My Corner of the World

 

On the trail in early November

The yellow flowers were out in full force in early November at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Usual birds along the trail. That anhinga has something stuck on his beak. Hopefully he was able to scrap it off. He would be really hard to catch since his is flying and was on a stump in a lake full of alligators.

An eagle flew over my head along the trail.

Later I saw a young eagle sitting on a tree far off the trail close to the lake.

This one was close to the trail. Probably waiting for foot traffic to stop so he could cross.

A tree next to the lake was full of cormorants.

Scenes from the trail on this beautiful morning.

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Long walk on the trails

Looks like a good morning for a walk.

Still a little bit of yellow along the trail.

I found these young juvenile purple gallinules feeding along the trail. One was almost completely purple and the other hadn’t quite got his bright purple feathers in yet.

Views from the trail including that small alligator cruising along the lake.

The long walk around. I took the long way around Eagle’s Roost Trail to avoid the crowds later in the morning. I had the trail all to myself. This was right before my hip started hurting so I’ve only made a short trip back since then and stayed close to the parking lot area,

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A drive along the lake

Everyone was eating breakfast at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late October.

A great blue heron off in the distance.

A young purple gallinule showing off his big feet.

A kingfisher sitting still. I took this from the car since I knew the second I opened that door he would be gone.

A tricolored heron guarding the sign.

A few of the smaller gators along the drive. I never seem to see the really big ones there.

More along the drive. I was having hip pain in late October so I decided to head over to the wildlife drive in Apopka and stay off me feet for a while. I ended up with hip bursitis which has slowed me down for a while in early November. It was taking forever to heal since I can’t seem to sit still very long.

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Growing along the trail.

Wild things growing on my walk down the trail at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in south St. Pete in the beginning of September. Not a lot of wildlife then but they have great trails to walk on.

Some areas have a lot of dead trees and some areas looked just like you were standing in the middle of Florida. Lots of moss growing on the trees. There were very few people out on the trails. Not sure if it’s because it was so hot and humid or if people were still just staying at home. This is the place to be if you wanted to get out. The trails are wide and there’s a lot of them.

Cool new statue up in the tree by the nature center.

The view of downtown St. Pete from the trail. Typical morning of clouds moving in before lunch so the skies were overcast when I took this.

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Waiting out the rain

Walking down Marsh Rabbit Run trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in early June. Not much along the trails but gators. I had a rare day off in the week and the reserve was quiet. And, the threat of rain kept people at home.

As I got down to the end of the trail (as far away from my car as possible) the dark clouds were moving in fast.

I quickly ducked under the small rain shelter as the bottom fell out. That was fine. I’ll rest here for a while until it stops.

It started pouring sideways and the rain was coming into the shelter which has a roof but no walls. I had my small umbrella in my backpack that I pulled out but I was still getting soaked from the waist down. There was no one else around except for my friend Henry, the great blue heron, who stayed near the shelter during the pour.

I played games on my phone for a while and took a lot of pictures and after almost an hour of pouring, it dwindled down to a light sprinkle and I headed back down the trail back to the parking lot.

The birds along the trail were all wet. By the time I got back to main trail to the nature center, the sun was coming out and  people were coming in looking at me like I was a wet rat. It was still a fun morning.

SkyWatch Friday

 

A walk down Marsh Rabbit Run

Different herons down the trail, A great blue, tricolored, a night heron and then another tricolored almost swimming.

Turtle on the trail.

Why do always get the butt shot pose?  I almost never see these guys walking around and when I do they have their back to me. Usually I just see the below, snoozing and cruising.

All along the trail.

Trees and flowers along the trail.

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A quiet morning at Lettuce Lake Park

Things up in the trees along the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Park.

You can usually find several night herons in the swamp.

The view from the tower above, taken with my phone. It always makes me feel like I’m somewhere else other than close to downtown Tampa when I’m standing up here.

Looking into the swamp from the boardwalk. There’s gators hiding in there somewhere.

At the end of the boardwalk, the HIllsborough river floats by and turns the corner.

Under the trees along the trail, it was quiet early in the morning. I had the trail all to  myself

SkyWatch Friday

Back on Alligator Alley

Things along the trail including a snack left behind by some bird.

A great blue heron strutting along.

Alligator Alley trail was finally opened after being closed for 2 years. When Hurricane Irma came through in 2017, part of the trail was washed out. The county finally rebuilt the trail and it was great to walk down it after all that time.

The view along the lake.

The marigold were still out in late November, washing the trail in yellow.

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The view along the trail through my phone.

I knew it was going to be a beautiful morning when I walked out on the trail to this.

After 12 years of coming to Circle B Bar Reserve, I still love walking these trails even with all of the dead trees in the background.

Things close to the trail, although I cropped up the one with the big gator so he wasn’t that close.

An alligator cruises by a great blue heron.

The view from the blind on the dock.

Sitting on a bench near the nature center before heading home.

I had just replaced my old iphone with a new one days before so I was taking lots of pictures with it.

SkyWatch Friday