"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Birdie and I spent four days at Wekiwa Springs State Park near Orlando. It has a nice campground and several hiking trails. This was my site.
 Birdie has a 30' Class C motorhome and tows the red car. She's a full-time RVer. I'm not there yet, but will be full-timing in my 22 foot Silver Lining soon after the closing on the sale of my house.

While there we hiked the some trails and did some birding. Our first hike was to the Springs headwaters, but it was a big disappointment for Roe.
No swimming here, Roe.

But we did get to watch the these turkeys doing their mating rituals.
These two toms were strutting their stuff to impress the hens...from the front and

From the back.

 When we returned to camp this little Pine warbler? was trapped in Bandit's screen room. Bandit wasn't in it, but I had left it unzipped. He flew away happily when I showed him the way out.
 The next day we rode into Orlando to meet up with forum friend Soos for another hike before going out to Boston Lobster Feast for dinner.
 We found this pair of mixed Mallards.
Another day, another trail...to Sand Lake, a favorite for fishermen.
 Red-headed woodpecker
 and a deer
Worked on reattaching the back screen on my RV. Bandit enjoys looking out from the basement compartment.

Next up: Return to Blue Cypress Lake!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rainbow River and the La Chua Trail

I've been really enjoying my visit with friend Birdie and we've been packing in as much fun as possible in the beautiful warm weather. We took our kayaks down to Dunnellon and kayaked the Rainbow River from the KP Hole to the headsprings at the Rainbow River State Park and back down the river to the kayak/tubing takeout...about a 4 hour trip.
The Rainbow River is crystal clear.

 Approaching the head springs.
 Not very good birding, but we did see this red shouldered hawk.
A popular place for kayaking; it got a little crowded near the head waters.
For our next adventure we met Nan at the Genghis Grill in Gainesville (a unique dining experience I highly recommend), and then we all set off to hike the La Chua Trail.
 Important first stop
 The sign didn't say, but I suspect the boar we saw was wild too.
 A view of the open range on Paynes Prairie.
The Alachua Sink 
The springs
I believe Birdie said this is a Greater Yellowlegs
 Snowy Egret coming in for a landing.
 If you want to see gators, this is the place to come. There were gators large and small.
 Reminded me of pictures I have seen of crocs along the banks of the Nile. Even I would not kayak here.
 Bison coming out of the scrub.
Down to the water for a drink.
 We watched this Great Blue Heron struggle to swallow a snake. The snake fought back, but lost.
 Birdie spotted this Wood Stork in the distance. Not a very good picture.
 Wild Boar
 Tire disguised as a gator.
Sand Hill Cranes

On the way home, I gave Birdie the two minute tour of Micanopy where a wedding was taking place at the historic Herlong Mansion.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Birding 101

My friend Birdie, birder extraordinaire, went kayaking on the Silver River with me today.  She gave me birding tutorials and trivia along the way, and no additional charge for bird call IDs.
The white ibises were plentiful, and dazzling when they flew overhead with their black tipped wings on  a backdrop of blue sky.
 Birdie takes a picture.
 Tri-colored heron
 My bird of the day was this Killdeer....first time I've seen one of these on the river.
I have trouble with the little birds...they don't hold still. Birdie is patient as she reminds me this is an Eastern Phoebe.
 This one is harder, it's an immature little blue heron.
 Just monkeying around...
 I think I will never call the pied-billed grebe a duck again. This one just caught a fish.
 I know, it's a phoebe!
We're all smiling.
 Birdie liked the limpkin best.

 The sun feels good.
 We're all enjoying the warm day.
 I see you!
 To the casual bird-watcher like me, these two look alike. But the one on the left is an immature little blue heron, while the one on the right is a snowy egret. And if you don't believe me, just ask Birdie.
 The cormorants are pairing up and building their nests at the rookery.

 Do you think she'll like this wet stick he found?
 Birdie made it to the head spring!
 It's all downstream from here...
 Drifting down the river...
 Great Blue Heron shows off his plumage.
I think I tired Birdie out for today, but perhaps she'll teach me some more next time. I discovered that birders can recognize other birders instantly by the binoculars they carry. Two binocular-clad ladies stopped Birdie on the trail back to the campground when they spied her fine birding binoculars. The conversation was all about birds of course.