Saying Goodbye to the Ocala Birds

Sunday January 8th 2023

It was another nice Florida winter day. The temperature climbed into the low seventies from a start in the low fifties. There was bright sunshine and a gentle breeze all day.

With any luck, today was my last full day in Ocala Florida. I’ve been here for four weeks and I didn’t even plan to be here at all. My first two weeks in the middle of December were a replacement for my stay at Myakka River State Park. That campground didn’t recover from hurricane Ian until later in December. The second two weeks here were the result of a fuel leak problem in my motorhome. While that was fixed within a week, I chose to cancel my two weeks at Lake Manatee State Park in Bradenton Florida. My next stop is north of here in the Gainesville area, so traveling 150 miles south and them back again for around a week didn’t make sense. Let’s hope everything works when I crank the engine in the morning.

I stopped at the Ocala Wetlands Recharge Park to say good bye to all the birds I’ve been taking pictures of for the last month. I’m pretty sure it has been the same set of birds I see every time I stop there. Today, the ducks were out in the middle of the ponds rather than back in the weeds. The water level today was the lowest it has been since I arrived. For some reason I expected there to be more water in the park during the winter than there was in August and September when I first visited. That is not the case. There also seems to be fewer birds this time of year than in late summer. Migratory birds apparently do not consider the Recharge park a good winter home.

Tomorrow I’m traveling north to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in the Gainesville area. It is only about twenty five miles from here. Since I need to be out of here by 11AM and checkout at my destination is 1PM, I need to kill time along the way. I will probably stop at a rest area on Interstate 75 to give the people on the site I’m destine for time to depart. The official check in time is 3PM, but I’ll try shortly after 1PM. Once I arrive at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, I’ll be back on my planned set of winter reservations. The next potential problem is six weeks out at Collier Seminole State Park east of Naples Florida. The campground at that state park is currently closed do to hurricane Ian damage.

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