Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rural Florida: Natural Wonders

Morning walks on my recent Florida visit were full of natural wonders.  Walking on the bike trail and a footpath that run between several lakes, I marveled at the beauty.  The paths, at times, seemed quite remote with moss-draped trees and nothing but wildlife noises.  Other parts of the trail were busy with retirees on foot, in an occasional motorized wheelchair, and on two and three-wheel bicycles.  Below are some of my favorite sights.

Alligators:  I saw small ones as I walked on the dock above the lake.    Every day there was a new article in the paper about an alligator attack.  It seems that people feeding them disturbs their natural inclination to stay away from humans.  Humans and small pets then become associated with food.

Great Blue Heron:  They are fun to watch as they patiently wait for a fish or underwater creature to snatch.  Their legs hardly look strong enough to hold up their bodies and their wispy feathers make them look like old men in need of a shave.

Cyprus Trees:  Cyprus trees are dramatic and have such a graceful and stately presence.  My favorite looked different in the changing morning light.  

Cooters:  This is a generic name for fresh water turtles.  The town I visited has an annual Cooterfest.  Apparently that name has other meanings and confuses some people who arrive thinking there is more to it than a celebration of turtles.  

Anhinga:  These large water birds spear fish with their pointed bills.   I encountered one on a dock, drying his wings and looking like an old flasher opening his coat!  He prepared to take off as I got too close for comfort.

Great Egret:  There were many of these snow white leggy beauties, standing alone in the shallow water fishing and looking quite content.

Cyprus Knees:  Looking like symphonies, worshipers, pilgrimages, and sometimes packs of small animals, these offspring of the cyprus trees seem to be trying to communicate something very special. 

Butterflies:  Two smallish butterflies were prevalent.  The zebras were the hardest to track down; they rarely stopped to feed.

Tree Frogs:  These adorable creatures were surely everywhere along my path, but I did not see them in the trees.  Instead, they congregated on my Mother's porch where the bugs clustered in the evenings.  I had great fun watching them and even caught one or two, getting peed on in the process.

Common Moorhens:  They were "common" on one of the lakes.  They have a distinctive, loud call and were always busy swimming, talking to one another ,and flapping their wings.  To hear their sound, and those of many other animals, see this website

Sandhill Cranes:  These enormous omnivorous birds are commonly seen in pairs or family groupings.  Each morning I heard the family of four, who live nearby, flying over Mom's house and talking to one another.  They feed on a small island in one of the lakes along my path and I saw them from a distance.  Unfortunately my photographs were taken from some distance and are not clear.  For more information on these amazing birds and to hear their distinctive call, visit this site

Moss:  Because I grew up in the South, moss is a familiar and comforting sight to me.  It screams of home, family and warmth.  It looks dramatic and beautiful in the afternoon and early morning light.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos and descriptions! Because my husband and I camp, boat and fish, we've seen all of these wonderful sights in our adopted state of Florida.