Breakfast and Lunch

Since owls are primarily nocturnal hunters, I wonder if they consider that first mouse caught just after sundown “breakfast”? Once upon a time, I worked a regularly changing shift schedule. Four days were from 0700-1500, the next four from 1500-2300, then next 2300-0700 and then I enjoyed four days off. The four days off were quite nice, but 12 days of changing hours every four days with no break – not that great. Meals were a challenge for poor Gini as she tried to keep the kids on a schedule but I never knew whether to eat scrambled eggs at 2200 or a sandwich or roast chicken and salad. Apparently, I worked it out and did not starve.

Now that modern medicine has declared everything we ate in our youth is either poison or caused us to be ugly (Gini obviously avoided those things), it’s much easier to decide what to consume each day. Oatmeal, fruit, green stuff or some kind of bean. Since all the joy of preparing and sharing a meal has been sucked out of our lives, we try to make up for it by having some of our meals in the beautiful outdoors. Fortunately, we have found a few spots where the ambience is so breathtakingly wonderful it just doesn’t matter what we’re eating.

One of these is particularly suited to beginning a day peacefully as the sun breaks the horizon over the deep blue of water and gorgeous greens of reeds, lilies and huge trees. Breakfast here is usually accompanied by the chatter of gallinules and coots, the calls of limpkins, a shriek of a red-shouldered hawk or the muffled gobbles of a flock of turkeys under the oaks. Coleman’s Landing on the western shore of huge Lake Kissimmee has picnic tables, boat ramps, a floating dock, restrooms and has recently added modern campsites, including spaces for RV’s and new shower facilities. A visit here at any time of day is refreshing.

Less than 30 minutes from the house is one of Florida’s jewels, Colt Creek State Park. Since it’s so close, we can have an impromptu lunch by the shore of a sparkling lake while we watch bluebirds catch caterpillars, grebes dive for fish, swallows swarm in front of us, eagles soar overhead and chickadees scold from the trees. If we tire of looking at the water (which hasn’t happened yet), we could enjoy an open field of wildflowers full of butterflies and dragonflies or hike through mixed hardwood and conifer forest or check out the swampy wetlands for barred owls or wading birds. A weekday visit here usually finds us with the place to ourselves and it’s so soothing to close our eyes and not hear any human-made sounds. The wind rustling a tree top, a fish splashing in the lake, a bumble bee, a wren declaring himself available for love – who cares what’s for lunch?

Pictures. One thousand words each.

 

At Coleman’s Landing, the breeze ruffled the feathers of a Red-shouldered Hawk as he scanned the water’s edge for his own breakfast.

Coleman Landing

Red-shouldered Hawk

 

A pair of Belted Kingfishers clucked at us and each other – probably about disputed territory.

Coleman Landing

Belted Kingfisher

 

I couldn’t get this Prairie Warbler to face the camera but he’s beautiful from any angle.

Coleman Landing

Prairie Warbler

 

Mating Halloween Pennants blend in well with their environment.

Coleman Landing

Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)

 

A visit to Colt Creek State Park coincided with several species of wildflower blooming which, happily, attracted a few insects. The Gulf Fritillary is hard to miss even at a distance.

Colt Creek State Park

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

 

White Peacocks seemed to be everywhere.

Colt Creek State Park

White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)

 

This Sleepy Orange finally sat still for a couple of seconds after I got dizzy chasing him through a field.

Colt Creek State Park

Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

 

Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers are pretty easy to see thanks not only to their size (up to 3 inches/8 cm) but also to just a little bit of gaudy color.

Colt Creek State Park

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptera)

 

One of our larger dragonflies, the Great Blue Skimmer, can be identified by the powdery blue body, greenish eyes, dark wings and white face.

Colt Creek State Park

Great Blue Skimmer – Male (Libellula vibrans)

 

Carolina Saddlebags is one of our most abundant dragons.

Colt Creek State Park

Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina)

 

Overhead, a trio of White Ibis flapped lazily in the bright blue sky.

Colt Creek State Park

White ibis

 

A small wetland attracts good numbers of waders, such as a Little Blue Heron.

Colt Creek State Park

Little Blue Heron

 

The proliferation of Apple Snails near most bodies of water in central and south Florida has seen an increase in the range of the Limpkin, who feeds almost exclusively on these freshwater mollusks.

Colt Creek State Park

Limpkin

 

We really enjoy having a meal while surrounded by the extraordinary beauty of nature. All of a sudden, the actual food often becomes secondary. No matter what you call your next meal, try having it outside, under a tree, by a lake, listening to the birds.

 

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Breakfast and Lunch

  1. Great photos and i especially like the Belted Kingfishers.
    I do admire your ability to put a rosy tinted gloss on your descriptions of birding outings! However, this time my common sense kicked in very soon with images from Kipling about Englishmen and the midday hear!! Then I remembered that it is winter in your part of the world. I am not sure what the winter temperatures are over your way but I am sure they are less than our summer ones!! Oh yes! I enjoy all those rosy tinted descriptions!!! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

    • Oh dear – spelling!! “midday heat” of course!!

    • Well, Mick, our winter has been the warmest on record, so you were not far off about that midday heat! I was out in the bush all day yesterday and had to take in plenty of water to avoid dehydration. The good news was we saw a lot of good birds (and snakes, turtles, alligators, etc.). We had a great Christmas feast and met our grandson’s girlfriend who happens to live near Brisbane. He’s headed down under next week to meet her family. This could be serious! We may soon have an Aussie in the family!
      Take care and some day I may get another blog post up — 🙂

  2. I love this post, Wally, with your words that bring back happy memories for Lindsay and I, and your wonderful images. My favourites are those of the Halloween Pennants, the White Peacock, and the Eastern Lubber Grasshopper.

    Those happy memories? – My mother used to come and stay with us every Christmas. She was a great nature lover, and when she passed away Lindsay and I decided that we’d celebrate her memory and Christmas, from then on, by having a picnic lunch on Christmas day in a beautiful place in the countryside. We did this for a number of years until, a couple of years ago, our daughter decided she wanted us to have Christmas lunch with her at her place. We still have our picnic, but it has been moved to Boxing Day lunch! We’ve got the venue (and the menu!) for this year’s Boxing Day sussed out already – we might well be on our own there, surrounded by water and birds!

    Our very best wishes to you and Gini for a wonderful Christmas – – – Richard and Lindsay

    • What a wonderful tradition, Richard! Being on your own surrounded by Nature sounds pretty good to me. Our Christmas was fantastic and we hope yours has been, too!

  3. Wally my friend, I am so jealous of your Florida breakfasting in the sunshine to the sight and sound of birds. With a rest room and shower facilities too? – Simply amazing luxury but I hope that such indulgence doesn’t let you forget that birders have to suffer a little hardship for their hobby. Try birding in the soggy, windswept landscape that is currently Lancashire, England.

    You have some great sunshine pictures again. Simply outstanding Belted Kingfisher and early morning Red-shouldered Hawk. But I have to admit the creepy-crawly, the grasshopper picture is the winner today, even above the birds. Such a fabulous insect (and the accompanying skimmers) that it almost makes me think I should take up entomology and throw away my bins.

    Go easy on those breakfast beans, if only for Gini’s sake.

    • Don’t be jealous, Phil. About the time your weather clears up we’ll probably have a hurricane. Birders need to suffer?? No one told me. Now I have to find a new hobby.
      Thanks for the kind comments on the images. I appreciate it.

      Gini and I hope you and your family have an especially Happy Holiday time!

  4. just beautiful shots. i am working nights – 12 hour shifts 3 1/2 days a week – i can attest to the messed up sleep/eating habits. i sometimes get home and have a glass of red wine at 6:30 a.m. 🙂

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this post from first sentence to last photo, Wally. And I agree with Charlie, that grasshopper shot was my favorite out of a whole bunch of nice images. As always, your text brought me more than one smile of appreciation. Nicely done.

  6. Terrific photos, especially love the detail in the macro shot of the grasshopper.

    • Thank you, Charlie! Those big guys are considered “pests” by most (especially farmers!) but I still think they’re good lookin’ bugs.

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