~February, 2018, Lake Louisa State Park near Clermont, FL.
~ Lake Louisa can be reached by walking along a boardwalk, which spans a swampy area filled with Cypress trees and Swamp lilies. Take a moment to stop along the boardwalk, who knows what you might see.
~A portrait only nature can paint.
~Swamp Lilies rising out of “green soup”.
~The boardwalk leads you to the sandy beach of Lake Louisa. Swimming is allowed if you are brave enough to endure its cold temperature this time of year. I declined, what a wimp I am.
~What a great place to enjoy hiking, the park offers over twenty miles of trails.
This huge Live Oak tree welcomes you to walk underneath its branches, and to adventure along the sandy trail to see what lies ahead.
As I walked slowly pasted this Live Oak, admiring its beauty, I thought I heard it whisper “Be careful, have fun and watch for snakes!”.
~Cypress trees rise out of the water.
~A solitary walk, beautiful scenery, an opportunity to be reflective.
~A lone Cypress tree stands guard over the lake. “How old are you I ask?”
~I’am not alone, looks like I found a friend. He told me hello and poses for my camera.
~Many trails in the park meander through piney woods, and if you are lucky a glimpse of its inhabitants.
~Lake Louisa State Park, one of Florida’s treasures~
Note:Header photo is a photo I took during a previous visit to the park. Many Gray Catbirds call Lake Louisa home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
~The Barred Owl is number 388 on my Birding Life List~
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! 😉
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!~~
~South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, November, 2017
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.
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.
~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.
Of course some of us were enjoying taking photos. More to come from South Llano River State Park.