Saturday, May 23, 2015

Making It ‘Home’ and Exploring A New Wildlife Area

A quick trip from the west coast to the east coast with a short stop over in Lake Wales and in no time we were all settled in at Nicole’s folks’ place (a.k.a. her childhood home).

    A few moments after our arrival the resident Ibis came to check us out.

Two days after our arrival we boarded the train and headed to Miami Beach to visit with Nicole’s oldest brother, Alex.  A funny thing about packing an overnight bag... it had been so long that we haven’t done so (because everything including the kitchen sink is typically always with us) that it was a bit of a challenge.  On our way back to her brother’s condo he asked about our swimsuits.  Um.... We forgot those!

We stayed the night in Miami Beach and then Alex drove us back north to the parent’s house so that he could stay and visit for a few more days.  On our way back we stopped off at a Wildlife Management Area in Palm Beach Gardens.  It was a super hot and steamy day in South Florida but we persevered and explored the boardwalk areas anyway.

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                                    Some things were obvious.

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                            Some things were not.  Can you see me?

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                             How about now?


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                             Can you see me?

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                              How about now?

It was too hot for the birds so most of the action was in or near the water.  Still, there was activity which was nice.

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                               Can you see me?
        Of course you can’t silly.  I haven’t hatched yet.



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                              Can you see me?

                             How about now?


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       Are you seeing me?  Or just a reflection of me?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bok Tower Gardens

We’ll wrap up our quick tour of Bok Tower now with a few remaining shots.

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                               More to come as we try to get caught up....

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Un-Real Time and Tall Things in Florida

We moved on from the panhandle of Florida and headed down south.  In ‘Real Time’ we are nowhere near south Florida.  But in the ‘Un-real Time’ that our blog exists (for the time being) that is where we reside.

One of our plans in heading south was to once again visit an area that we used to know as  quiet and slow paced.  We had actually scheduled to volunteer with a NWR here next winter but after seeing that it was no longer the sleepy, Old-Florida, that we remembered it to be, we cancelled that plan.  Supposed we’ve been spoiled by the ‘out of the way’ nature of some of our previous gigs and boondocking locations.  That and our perspectives on ‘quiet’ have also been seriously skewed (in a good way)!

So, having opted out of exploring the now crazy busy location of Crystal River / Homosassa, we moseyed on down the road nearest to the water that allowed us to keep moving without turning around.

    Somewhere along the side of the road Nicole spotted these Zephyr Lilies.

We had many well recommended, dry-camping spots picked out for our time in FL and we stayed at not-a-one.  However, as the weeks of rain (had it since leaving NM) finally began to clear they gave way to the kind of heat that only the Sunshine State can deliver.  The kind that brings things inside the van to well over 100 degrees and relief arrives for about an hour at around 4 or 5 a.m.  So, instead we Wally-World’d it and made a beeline for a visit with Nicole’s family.

                         The great American White Pelican fly-over.

Before arriving at our southerly destination we had a stop to make.  Nicole has become somewhat of a Bird Nerd and had heard from her co-nerd friends that Painted Buntings were being seen at Bok Tower Gardens.  It was on our way!  Or at least it could be...

Carolina Bristle Mallow - Don’t let the cows eat it or you’ll have bad mooooos.

We’re not even going to pretend that we saw Painted Buntings.  If we did then
you might would think we were mocking you.

But we had a wonderful day at the tower which is located on Iron Mountain.  YES, Florida has a mountain that isn’t a landfill!.  Actually it has FIVE mountains.  Iron Mountain is the second tallest mountain in Florida at 298 feet above sea level.  But even the tallest mountain in Florida is not the highest point in the state.  That title goes to a HILL.  Britton Hill peaks at 345 feet above sea level and also receives the distinction of being the ‘lowest high point’ of any state.  The lowest “mountain” peak in Florida by the way stands an impressive 56 feet above sea level.  And, in case you thought that we were kidding about the whole landfill thing, Mount Trashmore is at the center of the tallest peaks in Florida list at 225 feet tall... and growing.

         Who knew that sweeping views like this could be had in Florida?!

Bok is a 205 foot neo-Gothic art deco Singing Tower housing a 60-bell carillon.

We sat and listened to a few concerts and walked around the flower gardens.  Much was in bloom especially the Azaleas and Camellias. 

                         Greeted by Orchids.  Now that was nice!


                 Stay tuned for some shots of the flowers and critters...