A small heron, adults dark blue-gray with purple-maroon neck, immatures are unique among all herons in that they are white. Prefers to feed in fresh water and edges of grassy pools. Eats fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, turtles, shrimp and crabs. When water disappears they will eat grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and other insects of the grasslands. Flight is graceful and strong, wing strokes quicker than that of larger herons.Flies with head drawn in on shoulders.
Photos from Myakka River State Park, Florida – January, 2016
In many cultures, storks represent fertility, springtime and good luck.
Beauty I have none,
grace in flight I have plenty,
perseverance, I am proof.
This species seems to have evolved in tropical regions; its North American presence probably postdates the last ice age. A fossil fragment found might be of the living species; it is at most from the Late Pleistocene age, a few 10,000s of years ago.
I captured these photos as the sun was setting. They were fishing where an inlet runs into a lake. This series of the Snowy Egret are some of my favorites; I never get tired of watching them.
A little “this and that”….
We are currently back at Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, Florida. It has been rainy and cool. Not much going on here, and in between rain showers we take long walks, just enjoying the beauty of this Florida State Park.
Monday, I hope to go play Pickleball at the Clermont Recreation Center. When we were here a month ago, I got to play. Loving my new paddle!
Yesterday we enjoyed a late lunch at World of Beer.
Ham Radio and what’s coming up on our schedule…
Howard has setup his Ham Radio antennas and has spent a little time “on the air”. Wednesday we pull into the Orlando Fairgrounds, with a group of friends, for what is called HamCation.
HamCation is a huge convention of ham radio operators and other electronic vendors. Our group, FMCA, Amateur Radio Club, park our rigs on the grounds with easy access to all the activities. People from all over the world attend, shopping for bargains. It is a lot of fun and we are hoping for good weather, no rain!
This tells us, some of the park buildings were build during 1934-1941.
This tells us,the park was established in 1935 and 1,920 acres were donated by the Palmer family.
Notice the photo of the plaque above, it is attached to these old log buildings, currently being used as a restroom and a picnic pavilion. Again, letting people know when and by whom these building were constructed. Right behind these building is the river and some people choose to launch their kayaks there.
There is a small room attached to the open, covered, picnic pavilion that houses a fireplace. Benches are placed around the room for people to sit on while enjoying the fire.
One cool morning while on a walk, we discovered that a fire had been started, and it was nice to stand there for a few minutes gazing into the flames. The last photo above is an outdoor amphitheater.
Lots of paths in the park to choose from. On this day a walk through moss covered oaks and palms, some covered with ferns.
Also, while out walking the paths, you are guaranteed to see Black and Turkey Vultures, and Herons fishing along the banks of the Myakka River.
The sites in the Palmetto Ridge area at Myakka River State Park are all full hook-up, some are pull-through, some are back-in, and even a few are drive-in, such as the empty one above. There are two bath houses, both with washers and dryers. All roads in Palmetto Ridge are paved, all sites are gravel. And, when it rains really, really hard, like it did on Friday, you will have your very own pond!
This state park is unique and gorgeous. A lot of people come to see the alligators; I come to see the birds and the sunsets. Each of us have their own reasons for wanting to walk along the Myakka River.
I took the photo of this gator while standing on a bridge looking down at him.
Last Thursday, Howard and I took a walk down a path in the park.
We ran into a naturalist, on Wednesday when we arrived, and he told us about this path, saying he has seen Barred Owls in this area. We met him last year when we visited the park for the first time, and found him to be a real character and very knowledgeable.
I was sharing with him my lack of never having seen a Barred Owl in the wild. Saying, “it would be a nice Life List bird for me”. So off we go in search of this elusive owl.
It was a pleasant walk with temperatures just about perfect. The path we were walking on was slightly higher than the forest floor with swampy areas between us and the trees.
As we walked along enjoying the scenery, we saw something fly across the road up ahead of us. We tracked it to where we thought it entered the forrest. We were looking up into the trees and this Red-shouldered Hawk had landed on the ground next to the water. Seeing it standing there, near the water, was a surprise. It appeared to be digging in the moist earth. Of course as we approached it flew up into the trees.
Sadly, no Barred Owl sighting for me on this day, just a beautiful hawk. I will keep searching.
We continued, over the next 30 minutes or so, to watch this hawk as it hunted along this path. After observing, it fly into several different places and its behavior, I believe it was gathering nesting material; however, I can’t be sure.
Here are several photos as it flew from the ground to tree to tree.
The hawk flew to this stump and sat there looking around. Notice its muddy beak.
It took to higher ground landing on this tree branch.
This spot was near the ground; a low branch over the swamp.
Last location, was back into a tree. This photo is blurry, but it shows this beautiful Red-shouldered hawk snapping small twigs.
The feathered photo above shows a Palm Warbler with its back to me. I took this photo while watching the Red-shouldered Hawk.
Later in the day, in a different location, I took this photo of another Palm Warbler.
The header photo above shows Black-bellied Whistling Ducks catching a few winks.