Posts Tagged With: sunrise

The Rain Falls, Mainly It’s A Pain

I often joke about how being a meteorologist in Florida has to be the easiest job in the world. No matter what time of year, you just say: “Fifty-percent chance of rain.” Collect a paycheck. Repeat.

In our sub-tropical climate, much of the year produces conditions conducive to moisture. Sometimes it rains. A lot. We are currently in the “dry season”. So, naturally, as I glanced at the forecast for the day:  “Fifty-percent chance of rain.” Sigh.

The good news is I planned to only travel about ten minutes from the house, so if I get up and it’s raining, hooray! Back under the covers.

It wasn’t raining.

Lake Parker Park officially opens at 7:00. Sunrise was scheduled (?) for 7:02. Fortunately, I arrived at 6:50 to find a nice welcoming open gate. The sun remained under covers of its own for awhile. When it did peek out from the low clouds, some very nice golden light warmed the shoreline.  The birds don’t care so much about schedules, gates or even the weather. They gotta eat. So there was plenty of activity in the air, on the lake’s surface, in the shallow water, among the reeds and in the trees throughout the park.

Yours truly was thankful for no rain. My outlook on our forecasts is: “Fifty-percent chance of not that much rain.” I’ll take those odds. The morning was mild with only a gentle breeze and a hint of actual coolness to the air. Some trees showed a bit of color and a large flock of Ring-necked Ducks overhead confirmed fall and winter migration is proceeding right on time.

It’s rare that I only spend an hour-and-a-half here, but today I headed home early. When I arrived, Gini was busy threatening some fresh fruit with a very sharp knife. I put the kettle on for coffee. Once the images were processed Gini nodded her approval. We agreed that we continue to be blessed in so many ways.

Hope you enjoy the morning walk. No brolly needed.

 

Sunrise.

Lake Parker Park

 

Cypress trees turn a rusty color during the winter. (An Anhinga is perched at the extreme left.)

Lake Parker Park

 

A quartet of Double-crested Cormorants greet the day from their overnight roost.

Lake Parker Park

 

An immature Bald Eagle soars over the lake in search of a fishy breakfast.

Lake Parker Park

 

Cypress knees are vertical protrusions above the roots of cypress trees. Their function is not really understood. One theory is they help anchor trees growing in saturated soil. Trees growing in well-drained areas do not develop “knees”.

Lake Parker Park

 

I choose to believe this Wood Stork was yawning. The other option would be he was laughing at me, and I just know that couldn’t be possible.

Lake Parker Park

 

The American Coot is extremely common and is usually passed over when it comes to photo ops. I think they are quite handsome in their black plumage, white bills and red eyes.

Lake Parker Park

 

Across a narrow inlet a small cypress tree is bathed with morning sunlight on its right side and bright yellow flowers cover the ground beneath its branches.

Lake Parker Park

 

In the shallows, a Glossy Ibis probes the soft mud for insects, fish and crustaceans.

Lake Parker Park

Lake Parker Park 

An actual autumn leaf! In Florida! Pretty sure it’s a maple species, possibly Florida Maple (Acer saccharum var. floridum) or Red Maple (Acer rubrum).

Lake Parker Park

 

If you go about willy-nilly taking pictures of creatures bathing and preening, expect to receive a nasty glare. Black-crowned Night Heron, disturbed.

Lake Parker Park

Lake Parker Park

Rain in the forecast does not mean it won’t be a beautiful day. At worst, the rain will replenish the watershed, bring relief to dry flora and offer a drink to our thirsty wildlife. Where’s the pain in that?

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

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

Fog, A Log and A First

Gini would say I’m stitching together pieces of adventure to form a nice patchwork quilt of memories. (See why I married her? —> She is the smartest person I know.)

When last you tuned in, we took a brief walk about Colt Creek State Park and found a few insects and hardly any birds. Today’s patch exploration found precious little of either of the above. However, it was a glorious morning walk! Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands may be difficult to pronounce, but it’s an easy walk of 1.5 miles on a raised berm around the wetlands or one can opt for a mile stumbling along the creek-side through old-growth hardwood forest. Naturally, today I chose the path less traveled. (Okay, I was the only one there so “less-traveled” is not really accurate. But the fog obscured the actual wetlands so I thought I’d see what the forest looked like. Good decision.)

In keeping with my current theme (what, you didn’t know there was a theme?), this patch is only nine miles from the house.

Upon arriving, the pre-dawn was crystal clear with that peculiar color of blue the sky displays before the rising sun sets it afire. Even as the first bright rays shot above the tree line, wisps of mist began to materialize above the wetlands. Almost immediately after the sun was fully above the horizon, dense fog formed and enveloped the wetlands in a damp gray blanket.

Our weather for the past several weeks has been very wet with regular thunderstorms in the afternoons dumping several inches of water daily. The recent rains added a deep, saturated green to the tree leaves. It wasn’t long before the sun’s beams began to break through the fog and forest canopy.

Although I didn’t get many photographs of birds (again), they made their presence known in calls and songs. Northern cardinal, white-eyed vireo, tufted titmouse, northern parula, a red-shouldered hawk screaming in the distance.

On the way back to the parking area, I was surprised by a King Rail with two juveniles in tow feeding along the edge of the wetlands. The photograph is not good, but it’s the first time I’ve gotten any image at all of this particular rail. Not to mention the significance of confirming that this somewhat rare species is breeding here! Icing on the already delicious cake of a good day!

Patch:  Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands 

Sunrise over the wetlands.Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

 

Ordinary scenes take on an ethereal quality when cloaked in fog. An island with the bright sun behind it seems to glow with a special halo. A pool of water with trees on the far shore appears mysterious and one wonders what might be discovered beyond.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

 

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands 

Itchepackesassa Creek, still foggy in the distance.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

A log fallen across the creek immediately screamed to my inner child:  “Climb me!”  My senior self immediately said: “Not likely, ever again.”

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Deer Moss (Cladina spp.) is actually not moss but a lichen. When there has been plenty of rain, it is very soft to the touch but during dry periods it becomes quite brittle.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

The path is not always clear. Then comes enlightenment.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

A King Rail adult and juvenile.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Another patch with which I should be intimately familiar. I am not. That just means I must return (again and again). I feel certain you are all well versed in what to expect within your own birding patch, and I am jealous of you.

 

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

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

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