Would you believe I took all these photographs yesterday morning from sunrise through about 9:00 AM at several local marshes, and lakes in both Sumter and Lake Counties in Florida. Amazing! I am so lucky to live in an area where there are so many larger birds (and animals) in the wild.
Additionally, I saw Sandhill Cranes, a Limpkin, Wood Storks, a Tri-colored Heron, Great Blue Herons, Mallard Ducks, and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. I’ll be posting snapshots of these birds in coming posts. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version. Enjoy!
Great Egrets, Snowy Egret & Common Cormorants
American White Ibis
Juvenile Little Blue Heron
I visited St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge in the Panacea, Florida area on May 20, 2015. I was at a small picnic park area of the refuge on the shore of Otter Lake at the small boat ramp, when I spotted these birds and a couple of alligators. I believe the better time to visit this refuge would be in the Winter when I expect that many more birds are there. I did enjoy the visit tremendously! It is a beautiful wild place.
I will share a few pictures I took featuring sea-shore wildlife, there in the refuge at the Apalachee Bay section, in an upcoming post. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger picture. Enjoy!
Male Boat-tailed Grackle
A Green Heron in breeding plumage, was spotted perching on a low overhanging tree along the banks of a large freshwater pond in the Blue Run Park in Dunnellon, FL on April 17, 2015. The pond is next to the Withlacoochie River and has several Alligators in it.
I had spotted a pair of River Otters in this same pond last year. There is a bike trail on one side of the pond next to the river, and a looping trail around the pond. It is a short level hike that is fun and scenic. I have included a picture of the river with Cypress Tree “Knees”. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A lot of wildlife was spotted at the lovely La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park near Gainesville, FL, on March 12, 2015. I saw 14 large American Alligators just off the wide easy trail. One does have to be careful about the alligators but they were all in the water and off of the path while I was there (alligators do get close to the trail!). I photographed that Common Gallinule (below center) just a moment before one of the alligators snuck up on it and had it for dinner.
The trail is about 2 miles long and is flat with several shade areas with benches. There is a large overlook at the end but I did not get that far as it was a hot afternoon and I was pretty tired. I only did half of this beautiful trail. We paid a $4.00 parking/entry fee at the trail head parking lot. If you go, don’t forget a bottle of drinking water! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, a Limpkin, Turtles, a Little Blue Heron, and Moorhens were all active and easily spotted at the Haynes Creek Canal in Lake County, Florida near Eustis, Mt. Dora and Tavares. This creek has a canal portion with a lock. It was a lot of fun to go through the lock. This is called the Burrell Lock and Dam. It is between Lake Garnett and Lake Eustis. It may be best to inquire ahead about open hours and boat sizes if desiring to transit this lock.
This canal is just teaming with wildlife! I have also been told that the fishing is good here as well. Haynes Creek has a lot of Water Lilies and aquatic plants. The area is mostly wilderness but once in a while there are homes or a small marina, along the creek. I took these pictures on Friday, April 25, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Alligators made themselves quite present in the two foot deep waters of the marsh at the Paynes Prairie State Preserve near Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, April 5, 2014. I was there late in the afternoon when I spotted five adult and one older juvenile American Alligators. I would not be surprised if there were many more Alligators around as I heard many bellow-like grunts from all over the acres.
This park is a very large place with most of the area I was near, swampy marshland. It had rained several days earlier and the area looked flooded. I think it is breeding season for the Alligators. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the thumbnail image. Enjoy!