Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets were in their gorgeous breeding plumage when I spotted them on the St. John’s River near Blue Springs State Park here in Florida on Valentine’s Day. I also saw the Belted Kingfisher, Turkey Vultures, Anhingas and so much more! A fabulous day of wildlife watching. Today’s post concludes this series of posts concerning that wonderful short river cruise. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
White-tailed Deer; Nine-banded Armadillos; a Juvenile Little Blue Heron; a Great Egret; a Double-crested Cormorant, a chatty Red-bellied Woodpecker, and an enormous migratory flock of Turkey Vultures were spotted at the lovely Manatee Springs State Park near Chiefland, Florida on November 8, 2016. Sorry to say, I did not see a single Manatee. I think it is probably too early in the season for Manatee sightings here.
This beautiful little Florida State Park is on the shoreline of the Manatee Spring and also the Suwanee River. There is a very nice campground and the park also has a canoe and Kayak rental program also with a nice launch area and small concession stand restaurant. People may swim in the 72 degree spring but there is no lifeguard service. I chose not to swim as it was too cool for that. I will conclude my series about this park on Monday with my next post. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Cypress Tree “Knees”
The Suwanee River
I visited the Apalachee Bay section of the St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge on May 20, 2015. I had a great time as we drove a few miles through marshlands to the coast. I spotted a few shorebirds, a couple of Turkey Vultures, a White-tailed Deer, a huge Fiddler Crab nursery area in the mud, and a domestic pet goat that was feeding in the tall grass along the highway in front of the home where it belongs. I sure enjoyed my all-to-brief visit! Wishing you a happy and safe holiday today. I am remembering the families and friends of lost service members in my thoughts and prayers.
This Turkey Vulture and another Turkey Vulture were hanging out on the fencing and trees surrounding the horse farm or ranch pond in Northwestern Marion County, FL on S.W. 110th Ave. below Highway 40, where I often go to observe wildlife from the side of the road. The vultures were guarding the carcass of a large turtle in the grass next to the wooden fence.
I took the pictures from the side of my car but the vulture spotted me and flew up to a nearby power pole where it perched. After a bit, I left the scene thinking that I would let the clean up squad do its natural work. On the way home, I spotted a large number of vultures gliding and flying way up in the skies above the neighborhood. I took these pictures on Jan. 13, 2015. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This flock of Black Vultures was running towards a meal on the highway we were traveling along, when I quickly snapped the pictures. I took these pictures through the windshield of our pick-up truck as we drove past. I took these pictures on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, a few miles from my home.
The more commonly seen Turkey Vultures (red face and brown feathers), and these Black Vultures, are nature’s clean-up squad and often can be found eating dead critters that have been hit by cars on the roads. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
A Killdeer, several Turkey Vultures, and a Hawk (Red-shouldered???), were all seen in the development where I live on December 4, 2013 in the late afternoon. I also spotted a large flock of birds, likely also Killdeer. The Turkey Vultures, often nicknamed “Buzzards”, were circling and soaring. There were three of these large vultures and only one ventured low in the sky.
The Hawk was perched with its back to me, in a small tree. It probably was just resting. The Killdeer was spotted along a section of the golf course fairway near the road. I sure enjoy seeing the broad variety of birds here in Marion County, Florida. More birds are on the way South. I am very interested to find out which birds I will see next. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This is the Paynes Prarie State Park, and it is several miles South of Gainesville, Florida, near a town called Micanopy. The part of the park where we were, is a fresh-water wetlands. We had pulled off the highway (not the I-75 freeway which is close-by) to see a park overlook. This stop was an un-planned, very quick visit. We went out on a wooden boardwalk over the swampy landscape, and viewed several Great Egrets, two Little Blue Herons, and one Great Blue Heron. That Great Blue Heron stood stock-still and almost looked like a statue during the ten or so minutes we were out watching the birds.
The birds were a long way from this boardwalk so it was a good thing I had my long zoom lens! I also saw a Red-shouldered Hawk perched in an old tree across the highway, and a Turkey Vulture flying overhead. I have read that this park has quite a lot of wildlife. This is a park I definitely want to return to. I took these pictures on August 31, 2013. Please click on the thumbnail images to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
White-tailed Deer, Turkey Vultures, and Western Grebes were among the animals and birds that I was watching in the past few days here in my greater community and on the lake where I live. We have a rather large flock of Vultures that lives in the more undeveloped woodland area of our community here on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau. These big birds roost together in large pine and hemlock trees in a sparsely developed neighborhood that borders a wildlife management area. I also came upon three Deer when on a drive to that same forested area of the community. The Western Grebes are a mystery to me. I think that these water birds are out of place but I do welcome seeing them. At first, I was confused as to what kind of bird these were. I wondered if they were a Yellow Billed Loon, or some type of Cormorant. Upon reading on the Internet, I have come to believe that no, they are not Loons, and they are not Cormorants, and they are not even Clark’s Grebes. I believe them to be Western Grebes. The Western Grebe lives in areas in the Western U.S. and generally is seldom seen here in Cumberland County. I have been happy to see all of these unique animals and birds! I took all of these pictures on 12/8/10 and 12/9/10. By the way, I have been trying out a new camera. I took the pictures of the Vultures with a Panasonic Lumix FZ40 Model point and shoot digital camera with zoom. That little camera will be my “Keep it in the car” camera for times when I come across animals or memorable sights while out on drives. A side note, I am seeing several new and different waterbirds here on the lake in the last several days. I’ll be posting the pictures here soon. Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Vultures are commonly known as “Buzzards”. My husband and I took a day trip yesterday to the Falls Creek Falls State Park here in Tennessee. The park is quite striking in that it has geologic features such as sandstone bluffs and dramatic tall waterfalls. It is an extremely beautiful park! At one overlook, we saw a couple of Vultures (Likely Turkey Vultures) soaring in wide sweeping circles in the air. As time went on, more and more of these huge Vultures came. I captured a few pictures of six Vultures soaring together way up in the sky. I bet they were enjoying catching updrafts and just soaring on the winds. The Vultures are often attracted to carrion or dead animals. These birds are nature’s clean-up crew. The reason these over-sized birds have no feathers on their red necks is that they eat the carrion. I took these pictures on 11/22/10 in the mid-afternoon. The backdrop for some of the pictures is a huge sandstone and limestone bluff. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Falls Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee and would highly recommend this park as a day trip or overnight visit. The park has a campground for trailers and tents and also offers cabins and an inn. By the way, the falls there are the highest waterfalls East of the Rocky Mountains. Please click on the thumbnail view to see the larger picture. Enjoy!