Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa River

Comprising 7.800 acres, including the springs that bubble up to form the headwaters of the Wekiva River, this state park offers a glimpse of what Central Florida might have looked like when Timucuan Indians lived there. More recently though, Creeks and Seminoles occupied the land. These acres are surrounded by innumerable housing developments,whose residents are surprised to see the occasional Black Bear who wanders out of the park..

Wekiwa Springs is a popular swimming, hiking and kayaking destination. I have been there many times, but have never explored properly, nor did I this time..Orlando visits revolve around family.. and this was the first time for nature foot and by kayak.. 

Brown Anole, a non-native
out-competing the native Green Anoles

Alligator Lillies (Hymenocallis palmeri) were in bloom along the river. 

My first ever close look at a Red Shouldered Hawk

See the eponymous red shoulders?

The Little Blue Herons were numerous and friendly

Curious at the bridge over the swimming hole..

More regal on the river

Intent on fishing

My time on the river had been short,
but full of wonders
The next evening, I found time for a brief walk along one of the trails..

Sand Pine Scrub Land

Palmetto & Scrub Pine are the dominant species

Lichen on the pines..light was fading..
Time to squirrel myself away (Fox Squirrel)
One does not sell the land the people walk on~ Crazy Horse

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Build it & They Will Come: Orlando Wetlands Park

Often when I travel, I look first and ask questions later. This preserves an element of discovery and surprise. My first impression of Orlando Wetlands Park was that of a pre-historic landscape. I was soon absorbed by the scads of birds, like a kid in a candy store; at one point the Vermillion Flycatcher I had seen "advertised" at the entrance flew right by me! So, it was much later that I read the park brochure..

According to the brochure: "Orlando Wetlands Park represents the first large-scale man-made wetland designed to treat reclaimed water and provide wildlife habitat". From the plethora of birds-in-residence, it would seem that they have successful. This is we may indeed be able to restore a semblance of the wild places we have destroyed.

There were Black Vultures.
E-Gadwall.. a two headed duck!

A pair of Sandhill Cranes.
Heading to visit the vultures..

Who soon left the scene
Heh, heh..
Savannah Sparrows flitted in nearby brush.

A Common Moor Hen..
Or two..

Uncommonly beautiful.
As I wandered, dusk approached..

Now what is this? A Limpkin I later learned, a life bird, very tame, and unconcerned with me..

I have way too many pictures of this Limpkin

As I've mentioned: pre-historic landscape

Why did the Tricolor Heron cross the road?

A covey of Coots heads off one by one..

Dusk is in the wind

And on the wing..

Female Boat Tailed Grackle in the fading light

And her mate.. I'm blurry, but don't you love my blue hue?

An Anhinga roosts for the night
Sun is setting

Cormorants settle in, and the vultures too..

Good night Gracie..
I come more and more to the conclusion, that wilderness, in America or anywhere else, is the only thing worth saving ~ Edward Abbey