Feb 12 & 13 – Walking Around the RV Park

We have not been too busy the last two days, so I don’t know why I forgot to post yesterday.  So here are two day’s worth of pictures around the RV park.  I really need to get you out a little more often.

We were taking one of our daily walks when Andy made a pit stop.  I sat by the canal to wait and watched a manatee swim by.  I ocurred to me that my manatee pictures usually post don’t have any scale. So here is a 17-ft boat in the background to give an idea how long the manatee is. Adult manatees average about 10-feet long and 800 to 1,200 pounds

b Manatee and Boat
Manatee and Boat

b Pink Flower

The manatee beat us to the end of the canal and joined two others lollygagging behind another boat.

b Three Manatees in Canal

This morning, we were sitting outside in our screen room drinking coffee when I heard a woodpecker.  In previous years, they have been common on the utility pole behind our shed, but we had not seen them yet this year.  I ran out to have a look.  One was on the pole and its mate was in the mangroves.

b Woodpecker
Woodpecker

Winter is not over yet so here is today’s weather report, courtesy of our neighbor Bill.

b Weather Report by Bill Latz
Bill Enjoying the Sunshine

At the waterfront, there was a truce between the Snowy Egret and the Tricolored Heron.  They were not a yard apart and were not paying any attention to each other.

b Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret
b Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

A Little Green Heron was standing on the float.

b Little Gree Heron
Little Gree Heron

This Plumbago is growing next to a trailer near the park entrance. It is really bluer (more blue?) than this picture shows.

b Plumbago

Andy pointed out the moon so I took a daytime picture.  It turned out better than my nighttime shots. This was at 3:00 pm.

b The Moon at Three in the Afternoon
The Moon at Three in the Afternoon

I spotted a large iguana on a pier near the canal entrance.  When they are small, they are bright green, but get more brown as they age and grow.

b Iguana on Pier
Iguana on Pier

Here is a close up.

b Iguana Closeup
Iguana

A walk to the post office and two walks around the RV park got me five miles on the activity tracker today. But a stop on the Publix (grocery store) scale told me that I have gained another pound. It’s diet and exercise. It’s time to add more diet to the program.

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Unwriting, unwriting, and more unwriting!

Editor Patricia is finally getting around to giving me some more feedback.  Big Creek is WAAAAY too long.  I knew that.  Two days ago, Patricia told me to cut 20,000 words.  It’s not really too hard as I had so much material.  It is time consuming though. So that is what I have been working on the past few days.

I am a compulsive volunteer.  At our first Middle Keys Concert Association performance, they announced that they needed a volunteer to help with some record keeping.  It turned out that they needed someone with spreadsheet experience and I am the spreadsheet Queen. It was a perfect match.  The concert, by the way, was The New Xavier Cugat Orchestra. It was a great Latin music performance featuring the music of Cugat and Desi Arnaz.  They even wore those huge frilly sleeves. We were also treated to some Latin dancing. Very sexy.

We have been affected by the great blizzard.  The second week our performers, Trio Solisti, were unable to fly out of New York.  They are fabulous and I am sorry that their schedule will not permit them to appear this year.  All was not lost.  Violinist William Hagen, scheduled for the third week, was already in the south and was able to come a week early.  He played some amazing Mozart, Prokofiev, Tartini/Kreisler, and Ravel.  The whole audience jumped up and cheered when he finished “The Devil’s Trill” and again after “Tzigane”.

We’ve still been taking our walks, which refresh me.  I’ve taken some pictures too. We’ve had some brilliant blue skies obscured by clouds.

b Blue Sky Obscured by Clouds
Blue Sky Obscured by Clouds

We have a lot of cats in the RV park. They stare at us as we walk by.
b Cat 1

I don’t know why I have not taken pictures of them before.

b Cat 2

The hibiscus (or is that hibiscusi? No, it is hibiscuses. I think you can also just say hibiscus.) have burst into bloom again.  Many RVs have some blooming in front of them.

b Pink Hibiscus

I don’t mind the clouds; they keep it cooler for walking.
b Clouds Over Water

One windy day, we had a flock of birds at the end of the canal.  Here are a Great White and a Snowy Egret. I noticed that the Snowy did not chase away his larger cousin.    There were also two pelicans, but their photos did not turn out very well.

b Great Egret and Snowy Egret

We took a short walk at Sombrero Beach the other day.  It was cold and windy.  I was wearing jeans and my new “dark orchid”, fleece-lined, raincoat as a windbreaker.  I could not believe all the people lying on the beach with nothing on but swimsuits. They must have been Canadians or Germans, or English. Those folks are tough.

b Sombrero Beach
Sombrero Beach

We came across a man blowing bubbles with one of those wands made with two sticks and some twine. It was too windy and most of the bubbles burst quickly. This one was huge!!

b Huge Bubble
Huge Soap Bubble

This one stayed together longer.

b Bubble
Soap Bubble

The heron was close to the seawall, so I got a portrait. The float in the background is not so great.

b Tricolored Heron Portrait
Tricolored Heron
b Desert Rose
Desert Rose

Martin and Betsy suggested having lunch at the Marathon Ocean Park.  We ate in this tiki.

b Lunch Tiki
Marathon Ocean Park Picnic Pavilion

I don’t know why I even noticed this iguana basking in the sun near the peak of the roof.

b Iguana on Tiki Roof
Iguana on Tiki Roof

Martin and Betsy posed for a picture for me in a smaller pavilion at the water’s edge. We sat and chatted for a long time and it turned into a very long lunch break.

b Martin and Betsy
Martin and Betsy
b Orchid 2
Orchid
b Orchid
Orchid

 

Activity Tracker Encourages Walking

I have been wearing pedometers for more than ten years and was happy with them, except for their short life span. I didn’t see the need for anything fancier.  But, now I have to admit that we are walking a lot more with the activity trackers.  If I have been sitting at the computer for too long, the wristband buzzes and tells me to move. Then we go out and take a walk.  Another change that has made it easier is to take more, shorter walks rather than do it all at once. In the past, something (hips, knees, or back) would be hurting after four or five miles. In the last three days, we have covered over five miles and nothing hurts. It helps that we are about a mile from the grocery store and our mailbox at the UPS store.  That racks up two miles. Even taking the trash out makes for a good walk.

Speaking of trash, Cuppy, the snowman, traveled to the dumpster last week. I hated to throw him away, but there is no place to store him.  So I stood him atop my granny cart and off we went.

b Cuppy Goes to the Dumpster
Cuppy, the Snowman, Goes to the Dumpster

We have had a lot of rain and clouds over the past week or so.  It has been cold and windy too. Often, there is a strip of bright blue/green on the horizon when it is cloudy.  Sometimes wider, but usually narrow like in this picture. It might be the edge of the shallow water and grass.

b Stripe on Horizon
Blue/Green Stripe on Horizon

A Snowy Egret and a Tricolor Heron have been hanging around the end of our canal for the past few days. They like to stand on the yellow floats to fish or sleep.  Several times, they have squabbled over territory.  Other times they have been close together  peacefully.

The Snowy Egret is distinguished by his yellow feet and the yellow patch at the base of the bill.  The backs of his legs are also yellow.

b Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret

After this morning’s squabble, the heron moved to the mangrove roots across the canal.  It was there again when we took a late-afternoon walk.

b Tricolor Heron in Mangroves
Tricolor Heron on Mangrove Roots

October 11, 2015 – Alligator Lake Park, Lake City, Florida

We had a wonderful walk today.  One of the nicest ever. Alligator Lake Park is a county park right in Lake City. It is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. We chose the three-mile Montgomery Trail, which is on a dike around and through the lake.  The lake had been diked and drained in the 1950s for agriculture.

I have tried to keep my photos in the order taken. I took about 235 pictures today, so this is just a small sample of the park experience. This is the beginning of the trail, just past the trail head sign.

b01 Beginning of Montgomery Trail

This is my first glimpse of the water from the trail.  It looks like Monet took the picture.  The photo did not turn our weird, that is exactly how it looks.

b02 Water Scene

As the trail rounded a curve, it became a grassy lawn. It was grassy most of the three miles.

b03 Path on Dike

There was water on both sides, but it took me a while to realize that we were walking on a dike. My turtle picture did not turn out too sharp.  A lot of the pictures were a bit fuzzy today.  I think the camera had trouble focusing, because the background was always so busy. I am a snapshooter and don’t mess with the camera settings, but I really should learn to use the manual focus. He is a big guy.

b04 Turtle

This is a snowy egret, a bit out of focus as well.

b05

It was a pretty day, but mostly cloudy. Here, we wee approaching a bridge.

b06 Bridge

The landscape was full of these tiny Morning Glories.  They were only about and inch or two across.

b07 Tiny Morning Glories

Here are a couple views of the open water/marsh.

b08 Lake View

I think I took this one from that bridge.

b09 Lake from Bridge

Butterflies were everywhere, fluttering all around us. This one is a Gulf Fritillary.

b10 Orange and Black Butterfly

We got a laugh out of this Tiger Swallowtail inside a blossom.

b11 Butterfly in Flower

I don’t think I have seen one of these before.  Google Images tells me it is a Cloudless Sulphur.

b12 Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly

Zebra Wings always flitter around so fast that I have a hard time getting a picture of one. This one cooperated for me. I had never noticed the red dots along the body on the underside of the wing before.

b13 Zebra Wing Butterfly

I thought this was a moth, but found it with Google Images.  It is a Buckeye Butterfly.  I suppose it is from Ohio.

b14 Buckeye Butterfly

Here is another Snowy Egret standing on a clump of grass out in the water.

b15 Snowy Egret

 

We are a long way from the Everglades, so I was surprised to see Anhingas here.  This is a female.  You can tell by the brown neck and head; males are all black and with white marking on the back.

b16 Anhinga Female

I liked this little island of small cypress trees.  Notice all the water lillies in front of them.

b17 Cypress Trees and Water Lillies

We were walking along and minding our own business when suddenly this huge Great Blue Heron flapped and squawked out of the tree next to us.  It landed just a few yards away, up to its belly in the water.  I said we were just as startled my the heron as it was by us.  Andy thought that knowledge would be of little comfort to the heron.

b18 Startled Great Blue Heron

There were thousands of water lillies on the lake, but I did not get a single picture in sharp focus.  This may be one of the best.

b18 Water Lillies

We came across another Great Blue Heron a bit farther along.  This one was not bothered by us. I just love those red thighs.

b19 Great Blue Heron

Here is another snap of the trail.

b20 Trail

We came to a second bridge.

b21 Arched Bridge

Here is an Ibis sitting in a cypress tree.

b22 Ibis in Cypress Tree

A bit past that bridge, we saw a genuine swamp on the right side.

b23 Swamp

It is beautiful, in a swampy kind of way.

b24 Swamp 2

One more Snowy Egret with the yellow feet showing.

b25 Snowy Egret

After the swamp, we left the water’s edge and walked through a bit of marshy forest.  Before long, we got back to the playground and pavilion where we had parked the car.  The parking lot was full and there were several picnics in progress.  The playground was covered in children. There is also a large, screened in pavilion.

b26 Screened Pavilion

Despite the name of Alligator Lake, we did not see a single alligator today.