Posts Tagged With: sunrise

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: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Coast

A dictionary provides two different definitions of “coast”.

  1. Noun – the land near a shore : seashore
  2. Verb (intransitive) – to proceed easily without special application of effort or concern

Not too long ago, Gini and I visited the “land near a shore” where we were very careful to “proceed easily without special application of effort or concern” for a few days. Hard work, but SOMEONE has to do it!

As the philosopher/sailor/singer, Jimmy Buffet, sings:

“These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, Nothing remains quite the same. Through all of the islands and all of the highlands, If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane”

I’m happy to report there was much laughter and we returned no more insane than when we departed.

The coast is a wonderful place for us. In our sub-tropical paradise, the salt water is warm and the currents gentle. Sand caresses your toes and there is always a fresh breeze to cool your brow. We attempted to overdose on boiled fresh shrimp but were unsuccessful. There were plenty of birds to see especially if you put forth the effort to visit a few different environments. But we constantly reminded each other of that pesky definition. To coast: “to proceed easily without special application of effort or concern”. We wouldn’t want to violate an actual definition.

Here’s some stuff we saw while we were coasting through the days at the coast.

Sunrise from the back porch of the houseboat.

Apalachicola

 

Ring-billed Gulls were abundant. And noisy.

Apalachicola

 

Across the marsh a prescribed burn in the nearby national forest produced what Gini called a “smoke monster”. Happily, it didn’t head our direction.

Apalachicola

 

A bright male Northern Cardinal provided a nice splash of color in the reeds of the marsh.

Apalachicola

 

Sunsets were somewhat spectacular. A Great Blue Heron headed home after a day’s fishing.

Apalachicola

 

On our second day, we drove into the national forest (past that burn area!) for a little exploration. Sunrise along the way caught our attention.

Apalachicola

 

In the heavily wooded forest, a Hermit Thrush was curious about us.

Apalachicola

 

A male American Kestrel was annoyed with us because he was tracking a small critter in the understory.

Apalachicola

 

Back on the houseboat, we watched a pair of Bald Eagles fish as the tide receded. The two mates, perched on that sign made me think of Gini and I. Like the eagles, we’re partners for life and like the sign says, we’re going through life at a slow pace trying not to create much fuss.

Apalachicola

 

The Laughing Gulls always sounded the alert when they saw us on the porch, hoping we had brought a helping of shrimp for them. Nope.

Apalachicola

 

Brown Pelicans are fun to watch as they soar and dive onto a school of fish, scooping them up with their net-like beaks.

Apalachicola

 

A final sunset from the porch. Heading home in the morning. Sigh.

Apalachicola

 

We coasted to the coast and back again. Can’t wait for an encore. If you don’t have a coast nearby, coast away somewhere special for a day or two. Laugh a lot so you don’t go insane.

 

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

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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