Exploring Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Tuesday January 10th 2023

The temperature got down into the forties last night. My campsite at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is in the trees. While I prefer this type of site, it doesn’t allow the sun to warm the inside of the RV quickly. I have to help Mother Nature with the heater. Overall it was a sunny day with a high temperature just shy of seventy degrees.

A lonely swim.

Today was a park exploration day. I was last here in February of 2021. Not a lot has changed in two years. There has been some maintenance and repairs to benches and walkways along with a few cut up trees. More people seem to be using the day use area as well.

View across Lake Wauberg in the morning.

I took two walks to the day use area from the campground. The first was in late morning and the second was around sunset. I wasn’t dressed warm enough for the morning walk. I needed pockets or gloves to keep my hands comfortable. There were a lot of fishermen out in boats on Lake Wauberg this morning, but none in the late afternoon.

View of the prairie through the hanging Spanish moss.
Flock of very noisy birds on the prairie at maximum camera zoom.
A couple of wild horses.

During the afternoon I drove the approximately two miles to the prairie and visitors center. The prairie observation tower was busy this afternoon. With the unaided eye it was possible to make out a flock of very loud birds near the water several hundred yards out in the prairie. With the my camera zoom it looked like they were primarily sand hill cranes, but that is just a guess. A couple of wild horses were near the birds grazing under a big palm tree. Even further out on the prairie there were blobs of black and brown visible with the aid of the camera zoom that were probably cattle and bison. Knowing that they are inhabitants of the prairie is the only way one could possibly identify them at long distance. I’ll return to the observation tower many times over the next two weeks and will probably hike out onto the prairie a time or two to get a better view of all the creatures.

The only wildflower blossoms I found all day.

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