Swiftly Flow The Days*

Time. We talk about slowing it down. Reversing it, even. Many throughout history have tried to stop it altogether. About 500 years ago, a guy from Spain tromped around not too far from here looking for a spring from which a sip of cool water, it was said, would keep him eternally youthful. (Not a bad yarn to tell your Queen if you need a load of money for men, ships and supplies! “And of course, Your Majesty shall be the only recipient of such a precious gift.“)

I am a time criminal. I waste it profusely. There are important tasks to be performed and I delay beginning them. Perhaps at some point the important tasks will diminish in significance and I won’t have to accomplish them at all. Alas, I was assigned a Time Guardian. She knows my proclivity toward procrastination and will not allow my idleness to interfere with important tasks. Once upon a time, I thought I could disguise my laziness by “appearing” to be busy. That is when I discovered my guardian could read my mind. She can divert my inattention before I even know I am about to delay the start of an important task. It isn’t natural. But it sure is effective.

Fortunately, my Time Guardian is, on occasion, amenable to looking the other way if she thinks my avoidance of an important task might be of a worthy nature. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest she may be an actual accomplice to my crimes against time, but …..

Me:  “Tomorrow the sunrise and moonset times are close to each other and it might present a chance for some interesting photographs at the beach.”

Time Guardian: “There’s some cold chicken in the fridge and we can throw in some fruit. What time do we need to leave?”

The following images are from the past several days and were taken from various places of local interest which we have visited many times. Each represents a trip taken on “the spur of the moment” and each was an avoidance of some important task on my part. I could not have been successful in these endeavors without assistance from a complicit Time Guardian.


Sunrise can be the most beautiful part of any day! Or, it can be shrouded in fog where one has to strain to see anything at all. The sun rising over Lake Kissimmee begins to give shape to familiar objects such as the bridge over the river.

Lake Kissimmee


Before the woods begin to glow from a rising sun, many creatures enjoy the cover of darkness to carry on their business without being seen. With huge light-gathering eyes and a sort of “radar”, the Eastern Screech Owl can easily locate some of those creatures for breakfast. We had been hearing Whip-poor-wills calling and thought that’s what this was until a flashlight showed our error.

Gator Creek Reserve


On a rainy morning in the Lake Marion Wildlife Management Area (east of Haines City), we found several Barred Owls hunting over the upland pine tract. This one didn’t want to leave his perch as we walked underneath.

Huckleberry Island Tract


Hillsborough River State Park was established in the mid-1930’s and is one of Florida’s oldest parks. With the rainy season beginning in earnest, the river’s rapids are higher than normal.

Hillsborough River State Park

Hillsborough River State Park


It seems no matter where we go, if there are trees and bushes, there are White-eyed Vireos.

Huckleberry Island Tract


In between rain showers, dragons are on the hunt. This one is a Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis).

Lake Parker Park


It is still spring and many birds are courting, nesting and raising chicks. This pair of Eastern Towhees were likely not pleased at our intrusion.

Huckleberry Island Tract


One of our favorite places to stop for a quick look is close to a very busy highway. SUMICA is a French acronym (Societe Universelle Mining Industrie, Commerce et Agriculture) which described a turpentine and sawmill town which existed from about 1917 to 1927. A Loggerhead Shrike welcomed us with song. (Okay, he was more likely singing to a nearby female shrike.)



As with the dragons, a few moments of sunshine brings out other insects, such as a bright Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae).

Tenoroc FMA


Closer to home, nearby Lake Parker Park is host to a diverse population of birds, especially water birds. I found this cute pair of new Green Herons close to one of the footpaths.

Lake Parker Park


Also at Lake Parker Park, a young Limpkin is impatient for Mom to show her how to open a freshwater mussel. Their bills are especially adapted for getting into an apple snail, but the mussels require brute force. Mom used her bill like a hammer until the shell broke open.

Lake Parker Park


With our abundance of rain, it hasn’t always been possible to enjoy a sunset. This one was from an area near the house which is a reclaimed phosphate mining area. Saddle Creek Park offers fishing, camping, hiking and some of the county’s best birding, especially during warbler migration. This evening, storm clouds remain, but parted just long enough for a pretty spectacular end to the day.

Saddle Creek Park


“Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years”*


Time is an issue for all of us humans. There never seems to be enough of the stuff for us to do what we want. It is important to have a Time Guardian to help us efficiently organize what limited time we have. And if she happens to understand the importance of bending the rules once in awhile, consider yourself lucky. I know I do!


We hope you enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!


*(From Sunrise, Sunset, written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick for the musical Fiddler On The Roof.)

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Swiftly Flow The Days*

  1. Hi Wally! Just catching up after Lindsay and I returned from a vacation in the Scottish Outer Hebrides – a fabulous time.

    And what a treat to return to this delightful post from you! Not only have you given us super birds, but you’ve included owls, a dragon, and a butterfly – what more could I ask for?

    Thank you also for helping me find a name for my affliction – I too am a ‘Time Criminal’. I see no cure, but Lindsay tries her best to be my Time Guardian in her own subtle way.

    With my very best wishes to you both – take good care – – – Richard

    • I can’t wait to hear about your trip! Sounds great. Thank you, Richard, for your really kind remarks. I don’t want to be accused of being politically incorrect (horrors!), but there does seem to be a trend with many males being Time Criminals and an almost equal number of females taking on the role of Time Guardian. But I’m sure it’s just a coincidence! 🙂

  2. Perhaps my most favorite of your posts yet! Maybe because as your sister, we share a strong genetic proclivity for spending time in nature (I prefer to think of it as investing time), and you express my own thoughts and feelings so beautifully.

    • Good thing we both found understanding partners who don’t mind sharing a bit of sand in their shoes and sandspurs on their jeans!

      Our investment in nature has definitely rewarded us handsomely.

      Love you!

  3. noushka31

    So well expressed, Wally!
    Indeed the more you grow old, the more time is very much an issue!
    I do too have to fight against myself to get going and this is why I have organised quite few trips abroad this year and at the beginning of the next!
    At least I have goals I can’t escape once the plane tickets are paid for ! LOL!
    What a great series of pictures you are showing again here. That first one is so misty and mystic,
    and the last one incredibly magic.
    In between many interesting critters and even a dragonfly!
    Keep well both you and bring us back more beautiful pics like these 🙂

    • Merci, Noushka! Thanks to my Dear Gini, every day is very special indeed!
      Take care on your travels. We so much enjoy our “virtual safari” with each of your posts.

  4. Photos of the Screech Owl could not have been easy Wally. I spent to weeks trying to get pictures of Scop’s Owl in Menorca and failed – strictly nocturnal you see. The owl, not me. By the way, Menorca is Spain, not Greece but as you’re from the other side of the world I’ll let you off that geographical faux pas.

    A great Limpkin picture that’s better than all the words. So too those two herons eenny and meeny.

    • The “accidental” photo of the owl was about an hour before sunrise and we could not yet make out the shapes of trees. A nice surprise that he remained perched for two shots, the first being overexposed.
      Menorca – Spain. Got it. (Didn’t the Greeks conquer Spain recently?? LOL!)
      You are not the first to recommend I dispense with words and convert to an “image only” blog. Sigh.
      All the best!

  5. Adele Jennings

    What a stunning picture of the mother Limpkin and her baby…such innocence! Reminds me when I was teaching kindergarten how eager and impatient my students were to learn and try new things. I very much enjoyed your journey today! Thank you!

  6. Rain? How I long for it.
    Any day with an owl in it is a good day. (much like rainbows). How lucky you are that your Time Guardian understand the necessity of restorative wanders in nature.

    • Thank you EC! My wanders are only truly restorative when She is with me. Here’s hoping your weekend is off to a joyous start!

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