Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Forest Capital Museum in Perry, Florida

We have spent most of our lives in this area and had never been to the Forest Capital Museum in Perry. We have talked about it for years and so finally on Labor Day weekend, we went down to check it out. It only took about an hour to see pretty much everything, but it was worth it. In addition to the interior hall displays of forestry history and products, the outside is the site for a little settler homestead.



The scuppernongs were begging to be sampled. They were the best I have ever tasted.



Monday, September 29, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Little Brown Bat

This little guy mistakenly thought we held night school where I teach. I guess I can understand that when so many teachers there work so late into the evening preparing for  class.



It was discovered clinging to a hurricane shutter. It slept on as probably a hundred noisy children passed by. (The light sleeper in me is impressed.)

A webpage reports that Florida is home to thirteen different bats. It is possible that this is a Seminole bat, since it was solitary, very furry and brown with pink. That would also fit since it was found in Tallahassee.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A School Visitor

One of my loyal readers works at school with me. Today, she brought in a small snake in a sand pail for help to identify it. She had caught it in the parking lot. This picture was taken through the Saran wrap that ensured that it stayed in the pail. Thanks to the internet, we were able to determine that it is a juvenile black racer. Who knew that they look so different when they are young from the almost solid black adults? What I read is that as they mature to about 12 inches long, the spots will merge together and create the dark tone. This one was probably close to that length. It was spunky, as I have read is characteristic of this snake. They do not like to be messed with and will generally strike.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's Not Easy Being Green---Or Is It?

I was trimming back some tall salvia when I almost harmed this guy before I even saw it. On my computer screen, it is life-size--the  length of my pinky finger. That is a good-sized tree frog! If they eat mosquitoes, I can understand how it got to be this big.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trail Bridge Over the Train Tracks

We have a trail system in Tallahassee that links several parts of town. At one spot, hikers and bikers would cross the train tracks. In the past year, a nice bridge was built that allows for safe crossing of the tracks. One morning, B and I went out to explore it.



There is a nice lake view from the top.




The canopy of trees shades much of the walkway.


We were on our  way back to the car, when we heard the rumble of a train coming. We ran back to the bridge in time to see it from above.







Pretty cool!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More Spoonies at the Refuge

We saw thirteen spoonbills at the lighthouse on Sunday. One was hanging out with some egrets and the other dozen were a mile or so away.


These are some of my favorite birds.



I   thought it was interesting that they had found the very plant that helped them blend in: look how the red stems match their legs.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Homeless

Once upon a time, there was an eagles' nest. It was high in the top of a pine on a salt marsh island. The nest was old and the size of a Volkswagen Bug. We have loved it because it could be seen from the road, so it was our best observed nest. We have seen the parents in the nearby trees or in the nest for years. We have seen fuzzy-headed babies in the nest.


A few weeks ago, a prescribed fire got a little hotter than I suspect was expected, and the nest caught fire and was destroyed. We were shocked to see it gone. These eagles migrate and were gone at the time.


Today, we were approaching the viewpoint when I said, "Well, maybe they will rebuild. Maybe they had fire insurance." That was when we saw a lone eagle perched in the tree that had held the nest.



On our return drive, we were pleased to see the pair in a nearby tree. 


Our daughter-in-law said that clearly the female is saying:
"...And I want the new place to have a bigger kitchen."

If you look very carefully, you might be able to see the male rolling his eyes.





Monday, September 15, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Never Mock a Moccasin

We were leaving the lighthouse Refuge when we stopped for a moccasin that had claimed the road. It was about three feet or so in length.


Here it was showing how it gets its nickname: cottonmouth.


We drove around it.

Friday, September 12, 2014

September is Here and So Are the Love Bugs

 When I saw the sign, I thought, "Seriously? Who would name their  business that?" 

I took this picture in Utah in June. I had to remember that they don't have our kind of love bugs in Utah.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Two Kinds of Water Lilies on Lake Miccosukee

On our morning paddle, we discovered two kinds of water lilies inhabiting Lake Miccosukee. The white was the more common.



The yellow is just as striking.


Below is a water lily seed pod, that are often seen in floral arrangements and especially wreaths. We have some brown dried ones that our toddler grandson is particularly interested in.



The leaves of the two lilies vary as can be seen in these photographs. One is much paler green than the other. I believe it is the yellow waterlily that has the darker colored leaf because it is split to the center, which is a characteristic of that lily. The paler one, which I think is the white water lily, was also much more water repellent and the lake water would just roll off the top.




Sunday, September 7, 2014

Paddling Lake Miccosukee

One morning this summer, the forecast was for some cooler air. We took that as a sign that we should take out the aluminum canoe and get it wet. We agreed on trying out Lake Miccosukee, as we had never had a boat in there before. There are times when the lake dries up until it is disconnected puddles, but we have had enough rain to fill it up. The air was so still.


 Water lilies clog the lake in most places. It made paddling challenging at times. We had to look for weak links to push our way through.




This little green heron was enjoying the morning air. These birds are said to drop crusts of bread, worms, twigs, feathers and other objects onto the water as lures to entice fish to come to them.


An osprey was nesting high above the lake.




We also saw a rail, but I was not fast enough with my camera.

 It was a pleasant morning-- that quickly became broiling. We decided that the reason no one else was on the lake was because there aren't any fish in it. We certainly did not see anything but minnows and B was not able to get a single nibble on his line. Still we were glad we had taken the time to enjoy the cooler morning.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Chainsaw Fail

Between Tallahassee and Georgia on the road to Metcalf, there is evidence of some chainsaw work that didn't quite work out. As you can see, the tree had grown around a utility wire. This is a large chunk of wood suspended probably a dozen or more feet above the ground.



Even if it is shady, it's probably not a good parking spot!