Seven years. This period of time seems to have some significance. Break a mirror – seven years of bad luck will follow. The first acknowledged “global war” took place primarily in Canada and the northern American (British) colonies and lasted seven years. The Bible relates the story of seven years of famine in Egypt and predicts that seven years of tribulation will precede the end times. Marriages are supposed to experience a “seven year itch” and some folks run off to seek scratching which results in lawyers becoming more prosperous.
It is not all bad news. I can name at least four marriages (including my own) which experienced no itching or subsequent need for scratching. I personally broke a mirror in high school and was rewarded with moving next door to a girl I eventually married (over 45 years ago). Periods of global peace have lasted much longer than seven years. The Bible is full of stories about very long periods of joy and happiness.
More good news! Seven years ago this month, Florida opened its 160th State Park!
Colt Creek State Park in Polk County has, over the years, been a cattle ranch, commercial pine tree forest, hunting preserve and was briefly used to mine lime rock. This land was purchased by the state due primarily to its importance within the floodplain of the nearby Green Swamp region. Water flowing from the park makes its way to four of Florida’s major rivers including the Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, Peace and Ocklawaha.
There are over 12 miles (19.3 km) of trails within the park from which one can enjoy pine flatwoods, cypress domes (see “Additional Resources”), open pastures and bottomland forests. In a recent year-long survey, 150 species of birds and 79 butterfly species were observed. Mammals within the park include white-tailed deer, bobcat, river otter and Sherman’s fox squirrel. Fishing is possible and canoes and kayaks are available. The park has plenty of picnic tables and grills while a large screened pavilion could host over 100 people. There is access to primitive campsites for those who want to backpack into the park’s more remote sections.
I visited the park early one morning this week and enjoyed a very quiet walk in the forest, a rest by the lake and an exciting wildlife encounter. It was very windy throughout the morning and not many butterflies were about. I think that may have affected the bird activity also as I didn’t see a lot of variety today. It’s a beautiful park, well maintained and (maybe it’s best feature) very close to the house. I shall return.
Hope you enjoy a bit of the sights as much as I did.
The largest of the lakes (which is actually quite small) in the park, Mac Lake, has a pier for easy fishing and small boats are permitted (no gasoline engines). It’s a scenic lake and was quite tranquil at the start of the day.
Pickerelweed is pretty common throughout the state anywhere it can find a wet place to grow.
I surprised a pair of juvenile White Ibises on the path near the lake. They will molt into the distinctive all white plumage early in their second year.
The sound of the wind blowing through the tops of tall pine trees made for a very pleasant walk through the woods. Fresh pine scent all around me didn’t hurt, either!
A Blackeyed Susan brightened up the hike.
You’re never really alone in a forest. This Red-shouldered Hawk kept a wary eye on me.
Butterweed was blooming in profusion along the edges of the fields.
Two types of thistle are common within our county. This one is the less prickly, Nuttall’s Thistle.
A Sandhill Crane was busy feeding in a small pool and didn’t notice me right away. A second crane soon appeared but I didn’t see any chicks (most pairs currently have young).
The surrounding bottomland is full of beautiful trees which offer shelter for all sorts of life.
Mushrooms abound in the area. I have not attempted to identify any of them.
This common member of the Gaillardia family is called Firewheel.
I think this may be a member of the Skullcap (Scutellaria) family but I’m not sure. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The Mexican Pricklypoppy provides a sunshine burst of yellow. Be careful if you get too close, though!
While I was taking a rest and water break, a Bald Eagle appeared overhead. He was apparently hoping to enjoy a morning of quiet fishing. It was not to be.
A Red-shouldered Hawk flew in to voice an objection to a violation of his air space.
The eagle ignored him and the hawk retreated. He was soon replaced with a more aggressive raptor.
The kite harassed the eagle for several minutes, displaying his versatile aerobatic technique.
Soon, the eagle performed a barrel-role and flew upside down under the kite, no doubt to emphasize his talons were MUCH larger than the kite’s! The kite disappeared.
A scream from the eagle advertised for all to hear that he was claiming this piece of air this morning. He wasn’t bothered again.
So, Colt Creek State Park has weathered seven years without bad luck, wars, plagues or lawyers. We hope it survives for a very long time.
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!
Linking to Stewart’s “Wild Bird Wednesday”. See more birds from around the world at Paying ReadyAttention for