~Birding in Florida, Barred Owl, #388

~Ross Prairie Campground, January 15, 2018

OoO-The Beauty of Nature…

The path leading into the live oak forest is hard packed sand and covered with years of fallen leaves, making its color rusty brown. It is early evening and the light filtering through the heavily treed canopy creates long shadows. Some of the trees are huge with thick trunks and long branches giving away their age.

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Ross Prairie Trail

Some of the branches are so heavy they grow toward the ground. The branches are covered with moisture loving green moss and ferns, perfect compliments to these old giants.

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Ferns in the arms of a beautiful Live Oak Tree
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Ferns growing at the base of a tree.

We are walking along the trail, enjoying the quite, Howard in the lead with Skye and I bringing up the rear. All of a sudden Howard stops in front of me and I run right into him. He softly tells me, “I saw an owl fly and it landed on a branch just ahead.” We stand still for a few seconds not wanting to scare the owl and then began slowly walking toward the tree. Howard says, “Hand me Skye so you can get closer, I will stay back.”

I walk quietly and slowly not wanting it to fly. My heart is pounding, because it looks like a Barred Owl, which I have never seen in the wild. Oh my gosh, it is a Barred Owl. I am so excited.

I don’t have my camera, but I take a photo with my phone. It isn’t a good photo, because the owl is so high up in the tree and the lighting is not the best.

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Barred Owl

It doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is standing there in the forest, watching the owl. It stays perched looking around and looking down at me. This encounter was unexpected and amazing.

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A tree passed its prime.

~The Barred Owl is number 388 on my Birding Life List~

 

~Okay, where to pick up posting…

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I love these two!

January 10, 2018

Howard and I are camping at Ross Prairie Campground near Ocala, Florida. We have been hanging around the Crystal River, Ocala areas since leaving Eastbank COE campground in late December.

Weather wise our days have been mostly rainy with cool temperatures, with some nightly lows in the twenties. I have been thankful for a few sunny days in between the cloudy, rainy days.

My last post was back when we were at South Llano River State Park. My dilemma is — where do I pick up posting again?

Should I go back and post where we have been in chronological order, start with current locations or see what comes?

I don’t have many photos since leaving Eastbank, because of the weather and a resulting lack of enthusiasm. I am hoping for a flash of creativity! ūüėČ

I just wanted to say hello and to wish everyone a wonderful 2018! May your dreams come true, may you have good health, may you be surrounded with loving family and friends, and may you experience fun adventures!

~~New posts coming, I think I’am back in the mood!~~

 

 

~Birding in Texas, Pine Siskin

~South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, November, 2017

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Pine Siskin

Although it is patterned like a sparrow, its shape, actions, and song all reveal that this bird is really a goldfinch in disguise.

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Note the shape of the bill.

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It was fun to observe 30+ Pine Siskin up close. In Colorado I would see them while hiking; however they tended to flit high in the trees out of photo range.

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Cammouflage

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To learn more about the Pine Siskin go to: Pine Siskin.

 

~Birding in Texas, Hermit Thrush

~South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, November, 2017

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Hermit Thrush

I believe this is the first photo of a Hermit Thrush I have taken. Generally, I don’t get an opportunity to observe one. This one was hanging around one of the bird blinds at South Llano River State Park when we were there over Thanksgiving, and I am thankful I got its photograph.

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A few facts about the Hermit Thrush – taken from WhatBird.Com….

Hermit Thrush: Small thrush, with olive-brown to red- or gray-brown upperparts, black-spotted white underparts and rufous tail. Distinct white eye-ring. Pink legs, feet. Swift direct flight, may hover briefly over prey. Considered to have one of the most beautiful songs of all North American birds. The state bird of Vermont.

  • In the Appalachian Mountains the Hermit Thrush is displaced at lower elevations by the Veery and at higher elevations by Swainson’s Thrush.
  • East of the Rocky Mountains it usually nests on the ground. In the West, it is more likely to nest in trees.
  • Walt Whitman construes this bird as a symbol of the American voice, poetic and otherwise, in his elegy for Abraham Lincoln, ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’.
  • A group of thrushes are collectively known as a “hermitage” and a “mutation” of thrushes.

Range and Habitat

Hermit Thrush: Breeds from central Alaska east to Newfoundland and south to southern California, northern New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Virginia. Spends winters from Washington and southern New England southward. Preferred habitats include coniferous and mixed forests; deciduous woodlands and thickets are favored during migration and winter.

~Happy Birding~

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The beautiful South Llano River

 

~South Llano River State Park

 

~South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, November, 2017

Howard and I spent several days, during the Thanksgiving holiday at South Llano River State Park. Because, it was a holiday weekend the campground was full and crowded. Lots of people enjoying this beautiful park, birding, walking, hiking, biking and fishing.

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South Llano River

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Fallen

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Me and my buddy!

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A little Fall color

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Hiding in the Woods

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Clear Water

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Mules

Of course some of us were enjoying taking photos. More to come from South Llano River State Park.

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Vermillion Flycatcher

~Rock Hound State Park

~Rock Hound State Park, Deming, New Mexico, November, 2017

We left Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, AZ and drove to Rock Hound State Park in New Mexico. We had a reservation for one night, tried to get two nights, but they were booked. This state park is popular and has been filling up every night.

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The rugged slopes of the Little Florida Mountains are the setting for this park, which boasts trails, unique geology, wildflower displays, and a peaceful campground. The stunning scenery of the Spring Canyon unit of the park provides a peaceful area for hiking or picnicking. (Description from the Web)

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Here is our site, which was the only one available at the time we made our reservation.

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Curved-billed Thrasher

I only saw two birds during the short time we were here – a Cactus Wren, which visited us at our site and this Curved-billed Thrasher who stopped to say goodbye. We had just hooked up the tow car and were ready to pull out of the campground when I saw this bird. I ran inside to retrieve my camera and was able to capture him with my “short” lens.

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When we were driving toward the campground on a two-lane country road, having driven over several cattle guards, we came upon these Texas Longhorns. Whoo, Whoo! I enjoy seeing them and love when I get an opportunity to photograph them.

I asked Howard to stop, grabbed my camera off the sofa and quietly opened the door. I readied my camera and peaked around the frontend of the coach.

Well, in doing so, I scared the heck out of this big cow with long horns. She jumped back and twirled around.

Well, she scared me even more; I took a few steps back behind the coach. I through for sure she was going to run away, but instead she stopped and just stared.  I guess she realized she was bigger than me.

I got my photo and jumped back in the coach. Notice the black and white one in the background.

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~This New Mexico State Park is a beauty…¬†you are surrounded by mountains with views in all directions, the sunsets are stunning, and the dark skies are breathtaking. And, maybe if you are lucky you will see a few longhorns along the way.~

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home