Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

day trip

saturday hubby and i made the most of the cloudy, dreary weather we had here all day long. i took a break from gardening (until that evening anyway) and we drove north to citrus county for a day trip. after stopping for breakfast we landed at the homosassa river and made a stop into the wildlife state park.

recently i've added a new fascination to my "interests list" which now includes photographing natural wildlife. it can be challenging at times but some of the photos i took in the park were easy-peasy since the subjects were right in front of me. all the animals at this particular park have been rescued due to some circumstance that prevents them from being in the wild. The birdlife for the most part, although banded, are free to come and go. The park offers a perfect habitat for them so on this drizzly rainy morning there was an abundance of activity. the park is home to florida panthers, black bears, manatees with an underwater observatory in the spring, bobcats, deer, otter and even a hippo. the birdlife included all types of shore birds, waterfowl and birds of prey.

be prepared for lots of photos... of course these will only be some highlights.

the exotic flamingo

wood storks

bald eagle with his flag proudly displayed
along the river there was more birdlife ... these are the critters that i captured hanging out close to the park but not in the park.

fulvous whistling duck

great blue heron nest

pileated woodpecker

double-crested cormorant

a couple of anhinga's drying their wings

on the way home we detoured off 19 down some side roads with a stop at bayport and pine island. it was a florida scenic view of marshland and beach. this was my favorite sight captured there.

gulf fritillary enjoying the beach daisies

i don't always opt for the fun stuff. sometimes it is easier to keep right on working through the weekend. when i do give myself a break from the usual, i realize how important and vital it is. taking time for a fun pastime, amusement or hobby is good for the soul and helps to keep us healthy don't you think? what was your diversion from the normal this weekend?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

flora and fauna at wakulla springs part II

saturday morning i got out early to walk the grounds of the park with the hope of capturing some of the "life in the park". to my thrill i came upon a fire bush shrub with at least a dozen butterflies fluttering energetically about.

is this a cloudless sulphur???

is this also a cloudless sulphur??? there are many species of yellow butterflies with slight variations... i am not certain which this one is.

there were so many of these coming and going but even so --i had to be patient to capture some- they just don't stay in one spot for long.


this (queen- i think) beauty was not a problem. it just opened and closed its wings over and over so i have dozens of snaps of this one. hubby even commented, "that one let you get right in its face."

gulf fritillary - agraulis vanillae

the colors of autumn

surprise (or hurricane lilies) lilies are blooming everywhere

bee exploring a wildflower

banana spider enjoying its butterfly breakfast

berries for the birds - more signs of autumn. i'm a sucker for 'all things berry' - i think because not only are they appealing to look at... they are a symbol of the season if there ever was one!
we made the most of our overnight stay at this florida landmark and really enjoyed the beautiful landscape. then it was on to tallahassee for saturday night.

Monday, October 8, 2007

flora and fauna at wakulla springs part 1

there was no time to dawdle. the last "tourista" boat down the wakulla river was leaving in 15 minutes according to the schedule. it wasn't anything we had planned so we barely had time to drop our luggage in our room and hustle to get our boat ticket. it wasn't so much that i relish a boat ride with 30 strangers; it was more my excitement and anticipation of snapping some wildlife along the way that was the draw for me. only problem... i hadn't bargained for the fact that the boat never stopped moving. it's really much better to be still, keep the camera still and for the object to be still for snaps of the best kind. alas.

the first three miles of the river is a protected wildlife sanctuary within the wakulla springs state park. who knew i would become a nut for taking photos of every living creature i come across? today i'm sharing just some of what i discovered in my contrived adventures.

wood ducks
these two quickly swimming away from the boat advances. the very next second they took to flight.

we were told the gators have become accustomed to the boat tours so they just hang out instead of dodging the humans.

green heron
this was the only green heron i saw - it was on the other side of the boat and by the time i spotted it- this was the only shot i was able to get. usually i snap several and choose the best. so this is the worst and the best. :-)

suwannee cooters
enjoying the evening threat of rain i think- we did dodge some sprinkles.

the fascinating thing about these guys is they spread their wings in the sun to dry them. this one sat unconcerned on its perch as we passed by - slowly turning its head as if just to keep an eye out on us.

love the moss in this photo as much as the bird and its webbed feet like a duck.

little blue heron
poking along in the shallow waters for its evening meal

i tried and failed with fairly poor photos of a great blue heron, a great egret, a snowy egret, white ibis, a purple swamphen, and several common moorhens. not a bad grab for a 45 minute pseudo exploration.
lodge built by Edward Ball in 1937
this is one of those places with lots of charm and fabulous views. the state has kept all the original architectural features with upgrades for comfort. our room was on the corner and on the water- the (original) windows cranked open and we left them open all night long.
interior of the lobby
our stay here was an added detour at the last minute. our original plan was for saturday only in tallahassee. it turned out to be very fun and well worth the extra day on the road.
stayed tuned for more photos of flora and other critters.