An Owl on the Trail

Thursday March 3rd 2016

I found another section of the Van Fleet Trail today. I didn’t have the bicycle with me so I walked about 2 miles of the trail. Now that I know where it is, I’ll return with the bike another time. This section is much further north than the other sections I’ve been on. It’s about forty miles from the RV resort.  The trail head is accessed by winding 2 lane roads about 7 miles from the main route.
This section of trail is primarily through heavily forested wet lands. Other than a few groups of fast moving bicyclists that appeared to be practicing for a race, I had the trail to myself.
On all of my adventures on this trail I am look for wildlife. It is easier to spot things walking than on the faster moving bike. Today I wouldn’t have seen most of the birds I took pictures of if I was riding. They were very well hidden. Below are three pairs of photos. One as the camera and eye see the scene and one well cropped to magnify the image. The owl in the first set of pictures called attention to itself by swooping in low over my head before it landed on the branch in the picture.

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Owl on branch in the center of the picture.

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The owl from previous picture magnified.

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Anhinga drying its wings in the middle of this picture

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Anhinga from previous picture magnified

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The white spec in this picture is probably a Florida Wood Stork

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Florida Wood Stork from previous picture

The other major activity for the day was the laundry. This time I had to do two loads since it included the bed sheets. The hardest part of that is putting clean sheets on the bed. I have to pull the mattress forward from the headboard to have easier access. It’s not really difficult just complicated.

Spring Training

Wednesday March 2nd 2016

One of the things I wanted to do this winter was see a few Spring training baseball games. The season began yesterday and today I saw my first game.
I went to see the Atlanta Braves play the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota. The Braves scored 7 runs in the first inning. One Atlanta prospect, Mallex Smith, had two triples in the inning. Baltimore was playing catch-up from that point forward. The final score was 11 to 4. It was a good game to watch, but was obviously an early spring training game; not very good pitching and lots of players used.

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Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota FL

I plan to see more games. Most of the teams are on the west coast of Florida or the extreme south east. Only a few teams are near my location here in Central Florida. I will be traveling to the coast a few more times for games.

Morning visit to Animal Kingdom

Tuesday March 1st 2016

I went back to Disney’s Animal Kingdom today. The goal was to see if the warmer weather brought more animals into view. When I was at the park in January, I had the sense that the number of animals was down. It was a little better today, but I think they have fewer animals on display overall.
I didn’t speed a full day at the park; just the morning. My focus was on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and the two animal treks. The only other attraction I went to was the It’s Tough to be Bug show.

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Pair of Parrots near the entrance to the Animal Kingdom. There used to be a lot more animals in this Oasis area.

Some pictures from the Safari.

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Hippos taking the sun. They are usually under water.

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Giraffes grabbing some lunch from the tree.

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Elephants.

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Zebra

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Cheetah in bad lighting.

On the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in didn’t take as many pictures.

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Meerkat and friends. Picture taken through glass window.

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Male Gorilla

On the Maharajah Jungle Trek I got a good picture of one of the tigers.

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Tiger

This is probably my last visit to the Animal Kingdom this winter. I will try to visit again later in the year.

 

Convenience Store Turkey

Monday February 29th 2016

It was another great day with temperature in the high 70s. I took a drive down to the Winter Haven Florida area. My goal was to explore some of the lakes in the area.
Winter Haven is the home of Cypress Gardens. This was a theme park from 1936 to 2009. The area is now Legoland Florida a theme park oriented around the theme of the building block. The actual botanical gardens that made up the bulk of the Cypress Gardens park are incorporated into Legoland. This is because the botanical gardens have been protected by conservation easements and public ownership.
I’ve been to the original Cypress Gardens three times or more. My first visit was in the 1960s. It made a strong impression on me as a boy. The gardens with girls in antebellum style gowns and the water ski show are strong memories. I don’t have any desire to cloud those memories with Legoland so my mission was just the area not the place.
I stopped at several lakes in the area looking for walking trails and animal life. Mostly all I found was boat launching areas. Each of these had nice views of the lakes, empty boat trailers, and an occasional fisherman but no significant wildlife. The warm weather and gentle breeze were nice for sitting and enjoying the views.

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Florida Turkey

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Turkey at the 7-11

The best of the wildlife I saw today was from the car window on the way down to Winter Haven. While stopped at a traffic light waiting to turn onto the busy US 27 a turkey was walking along the grass strip in front of a 7-11 convenience store and gas station. It was a lone bird not a rafter of them. It was wary of the people, so I don’t think it was a common occurrence.
Since I started this blog I’ve been wearing my Canon PowerShot camera on my belt. I was able to pull out the camera and zoom in on the turkey to get a couple of pictures before the light changed. My cell phone would not have been able to capture the picture as well.
Having the camera with me all the time is just one positive example of how writing this blog every night has enhanced my travel life. The biggest value is that needing to find something to write about every night forces me to get out and look for things to do. I think I write about the weather and grocery shopping to much, but it is what it is. I plan to continue the daily blog.