This Green Heron was spotted on Sunday afternoon in the flooded marshland off of FL 441 at the overlook at Paynes Prairie State Park. We have had a lot of rain in the last week and it also rained earlier on Sunday. I do not recall ever seeing the marshland looking like a lake before! I also spotted a Great Egret and a male Red-winged Blackbird during our very brief visit to the overlook area. I don’t know the name of the aquatic flower I photographed but it sure was a beautiful blossom! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Male Red-winged Blackbird
Temporary Lake on the Prairie
I spotted an Osprey atop a huge high tension electric tower along Highway 441 near the Paynes Prairie Preserve overlook when I was there on May 3, 2015. I did not see many birds or animals but did notice a few Red-winged Blackbirds, Boat-tailed Grackles (I believe the center picture below shows a Boat-tailed Grackle in flight) and heard a few Alligators.
It was pretty breezy out so I just enjoyed the blooming purple flowers of the Pickerel Weed that seemed to be carpeting the fresh water marsh. Please click on the thumbnail image to see a slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
The La Chua Trail birds are fabulous! I so enjoyed seeing Great Egrets, Great Blue and Tri-colored Herons, Common Cormorants, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Anhingas; White Ibises, Snowy Egrets, Common Gallinules, and of course, the other animals – alligators and turtles.
I did not see any of the Wild Horses or Bison which once in awhile can be seen from this trail. I photographed these birds, gator, and trail scenes on March 12, 2015 at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, near Gainesville, Fl. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. 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!
A Bald Eagle, Great Egret, a Sand Hill Crane, a hawk, two Turkey Vultures, and an Osprey were all spotted yesterday during my brief visit to the Paynes Prairie Preserve overlook on highway 441, just South of Gainesville, Florida. I enjoy going there to try and do a bit of bird and critter watching. I did not spot any American Alligators or any snakes. It is very hit and miss what will be seen on any particular day. I did not get good pictures of the Osprey on its nest or the vultures so I decided not to include those shots here.
By the way, most of the time, the critters are spotted a long way off so having a long lens or binoculars is a good idea there. Also be sure to look for the birds of prey on the electric poles across the road as that is often where some may be found. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, South of Gainesville, Florida, is a beautiful place! It is close enough to a small city yet it is wilderness. Within the park there is a woodland area; a few fairly tropical-looking spots; the nice small Visitor’s Center; a vast, marshy prairie; small ponds; and a medium-sized lake.
We went into the interior of the park and paid the nominal day use fee. We did see the Alligator at the Highway 441 overlook just outside of the official park (no charge to go out on that boardwalk pier overlook). The huge observation tower within the main part of the park was closed for repairs yesterday.
There is a lot of varied wildlife at times within this park. I took these pictures on November 30, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
White Pelican and Cormorant
Roadway in Paynes Prairie State Park