Accidental Fall

The only way to photograph within Florida’s state parks during the “golden hour” is to camp there the previous night. Opening time is 8:00 a.m. Our house is about 20 minutes from Colt Creek State Park. Camp out or miss the best light?

As we waited for the timed gate to open at precisely 8:00, Gini (who can actually hear) told me about the lovely chorus around us. White-eyed Vireo, an insistent Eastern Phoebe repeating his name, Northern Cardinals, American Crows and one of the local gang leaders, a Tufted Titmouse. The iron gate swung open and we forked over a couple of dollars to the congenial park ranger.

We made our way slowly along the park’s winding main road, noting a resident Red-shouldered Hawk, the methodical hammering of a Pileated Woodpecker and generally enjoying a beautiful morning outdoors. As we rounded a curve, a splash of red, orange and yellow slapped us in the face. This was unexpected!

Florida Sugar Maple, Red Maple and Bald Cypress on the edge of a swampy area were in full autumn display. Florida, it is often joked, has only two seasons:  green and brown. We knew, of course, certain areas could be quite colorful but it has been rare that we have observed this much color in one spot. I hiked down to the shore of the park’s main lake and was stunned at how much color was visible!

We made our way through the park, stopping to explore trails and creeks and ending up at the end of the road where we enjoyed our simple breakfast. Along the way we spotted a white-tailed deer buck with impressive antlers. Not far away were a doe and two fawns. Plenty of birds kept us busy with binoculars and I kept finding colorful trees and leaves to photograph.

It was a good day. Our hope had been to see a few birds but we were surprised by an impromptu display of riotous (for Florida) color! We returned two days later and all the color was gone. Timing is everything.

Technicolor brought to you by Mother Nature.

The park’s main lake looks great all dressed up!

White Ibises in a bright blue sky made a nice addition to a colorful day.

Covered in duckweed and algae, Colt Creek’s green surface blends in with the surrounding woods and disappears in the distance.

A Little Blue and a Tricolored Heron enjoy the view from the lake’s fishing pier.

Wandering around the edges of the swamp reveals many wonderful sights, such as this unique cypress stump.

Aware of our presence, but not wanting to interrupt his meal, a White-tailed deer has an impressive set of antlers.

Near the ranger station at the park’s entrance, a Killdeer hunts for insect snacks.

Standing water in a swampy spot reflects the bright sky and colorful leaves litter the bottom of the slough.

Mac Lake never looked better!

Who could resist exploring such an inviting trail? Not me.

I know many areas have spectacular autumnal displays and the little bit of color we discovered may not be impressive to those who live in such places. For a couple of mid-Florida natives, though, we were happily surprised by our little accidental fall.

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

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

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14 thoughts on “Accidental Fall

  1. I saw that comment about hearing….right there with you!! I did get a cochlear implant and now can hear the chorus of baby birds again though. Magical.

  2. noushka31

    Hello Wally,
    I had a close look at all your pics from this post and the previous one, they are just stunning!
    Your colourful landscapes equal your fauna photos 🙂
    Is the Glossy ibis indigenous in the USA or does it originate in Africa?
    I wish you both a great new year and lots of lovely photos like these!!

    • Merci, Noushka! You are very kind.

      The Glossy Ibis is native to N. America and is quite common in our Florida wetlands.
      Our New Year is off to a great start and we just walked in the door from a day of exploring a beautiful swamp about two hours south of here. Hope some of the images are okay!

      All our best to you!

  3. Hi Wally and Gini. I read about you waiting at the gates and I thought how awful that would be to have when and how I birded dictated by faceless bureaucrats. And then on reflection, no one steals a march like cyclists and doggy walkers and each entrant has to abide by rules and regulations. So yes, it’s probably much more civilised than a free for all.

    All that green and blue makes me long for summer but we are over the hill of the shortest day now.

    Here’s wishing you both a wonderful bird-filled New Year.

    • Fortunately, we have many alternatives if we get tired of waiting at the gate! Sometimes, the treasures beyond the gates are worth the wait.

      Thank goodness for longer days ahead!

  4. Richard Pegler

    Your fall might not be as predictable, or as lasting, as our autumn, Wally, but it is every bit as spectacular – if not more so – as depicted in your wonderful images!

    I hope that you and Gini have a Very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful 2019 – – – Richard

    • Thank you so much, Richard.

      Gini and I also hope you and Lindsay have a wonderful Christmas and we look forward to your adventures coming in the New Year!

  5. I am a big fan of arboreal fireworks. And loved the display you got (and all the other wonders). That cypress tree….
    Echoing dinahmow’s wishes for Christmas and the year(s) to come.

  6. Oops! The language caught me out again…I thought you title meant you’d had an accident. Very relieved that you refer to autumn colour!
    Beautiful! And now it’s almost Christmas.I wish you a happy and colourful one.

    • Sorry about that, dinahmow! It isn’t you. I am sometimes a bit mischievous in my word usage. 🙂

      Gini and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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