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~
We spend four nights at this beautiful state park in Dunnellon, Florida. We have visited this park many times and enjoy it each and every time! If you love to kayak then this state park is a must stop for you.
Rainbow Springs State Park
We are currently at Silver River State Park in Ocala, Florida. This is our first visit to this state park and we have fallen in love with its huge, gorgeous sites, the thick forrest of oak and pine and the laid back environment we so enjoy!
I can’t say I enjoy leaving the park and driving around in the heavy Ocala traffic; however we will put this park on our list for future stops!
Hopefully, I will have a few photos to share during the week.