Swallowtail Kite are in the area

Swallowtail Kite Flying 3-1-2013 3-07-55 PM 4608x3456

The Swallow-tailed Kite is truly one of the coolest birds to see on the wing.  They have an unmistakeable swallow tail and rotate their tail in flight to fly gracefully and with the precision that only master of the skies can achieve.  Although it is hard to see in this picture, they have white plumage and black wingtips and edges and black tail feathers.   This morning on near Six Mile Charter Academy, I had the pleasure of seeing a Swallow-tailed Kite up close and personal about 6:45 am.  It flew over my vehicle crossing Six Mile Cypress Rd, just past the intersection of Daniels Road and Six Mile Cypress in front of the Century Link Stadium.

These remarkable birds, can be seen roosting every spring in Six Mile Cypress Slough preserve, and often perch just inside the entrance on the right hand side in the large Slash Pine Trees.

All the best,

TomSwallowtail Kite  5-30-2013 5-51-41 AM 4608x3456

 

to act justly and walk humbly

Today I reflect on this passage and the fact that this simple act is what God requires of us.    This is a two edged sword that is a comfort because of how simple it is, but cuts easily and deeply as well.  As we know sometimes just how easily it is to act justly when the other person is a Mother Theresa, but what about when the person is always acting in an unjust manner.  Does our justice system always act justly, or what is the dilemma when the person has gotten away with so much and not been punished, can we stack the deck against them and leave out information that might exonerate them and prove they are innocent?  I think when we look at ourselves against this standard, we have all the more respect for the only one who was able to accomplish this during his life on earth.  God uses just scales to judge us and we all come up short without the addition of Jesus to our side of the scale.

Paynes Prairie Gators on the move

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Paynes Prairie Gators are on the move

On a recent visit to Paynes Prairie I was able to easily photograph these magnificent gators sunning themselves along the La Chua trail.

This gator found on the left was approximately 11 feet long, and I am guesstimating as I was certainly not going to measure him as he warmed himself on the bank for obvious reasons.  The second gator below was about the same and bellowed as his personal space was invaded by the never ending stupidity of several tourist trying to get a personal shot with the gator and approached too close to the prehistoric beast.  Unfortunately the signs to leave the gators alone were useless to those unwilling to exercise the sense to follow them.  Evolution if you believe in it, and or stupidity seldom is rewarded when one chooses to approach a stomach with large teeth and a walnut sized brain.  The rest of us watched in wonder as I was fully expecting to be giving a report to the news later about the loss of the life of the stupid tourist.  In addition to the gators I also was rewarded with seeing wild horses, Cormorants, Anhinga’s, Moorhens or Common Gallinules, American Coots, Mallards, Great Blue Herons, and Red Shouldered Hawks.  I recommend this trail and park as a great spot to walk when in the Gainesville Florida area.

 

Osprey Spotted

April 7, 2015 at 1:47 PM

This Osprey landed a rather large grass carp and had a meal in the Six Mile Cypress Slough near the lake in the Colony Community.  I hope you can appreciate the short amount of time he posed for the picture.  The last photo of him leaving is a little out of focus, my regrets to the photographers reading this, on burst mode I only got one out of the five if you understand what that means.DSCN8854

 

Osprey Spotted in Six Mile Cypress Slough

This Osprey landed a rather large grass carp and had a meal in the Six Mile Cypress Slough near the lake in the Colony Community.  I hope you can appreciate the short amount of time he posed for the picture.  The last photo of him leaving is a little out of focus, my regrets to the photographers reading this, on burst mode I only got one out of the five if you understand what that means.

 

 

 

Paynes Prairie Gators are on the move

On a recent visit to Paynes Prairie I was able to easily photograph these magnificent gators sunning themselves along the La Chua trail.  

This gator found on the left was approximately 11 feet long, and I am guestimating as I was certainly not going to measure him as he warmed himself on the bank for obvious reasons.  The second gator below was about the same and bellowed as his personal space was invaded by the never ending stupidity of several tourist trying to get a personal shot with the gator and approached too close to the prehistoric beast.  Unfortunately the signs to leave the gators alone were useless to those unwilling to exercise the sense to follow them.  Evolution if you believe in it, and or stupidity seldom is rewarded when one chooses to approach a stomach with large teeth and a walnut sized brain.  The rest of us watched in wonder as I was fully expecting to be giving a report to the news later about the loss of the life of the stupid tourist.  In addition to the gators I also was rewarded with seeing wild horses, Cormorants, Anhinga’s, Moorhens or Common Gallinules, American Coots, Mallards, Great Blue Herons, and Red Shouldered Hawks.  I recommend this trail and park as a great spot to walk when in the Gainesville Florida area.

Belted Kingfisher finally sits down for an interview

The Belted Kingfisher is one common but elusive bird in the Six Mile Cypress Slough Park during winter migration.   The rattle chatter it makes is distinctive and you can often hear them as they approach the water they are fishing in.  They usually fly quickly and encircle the pond rattle chatting as they fly, so this bird posing for this picture was unusual.  As you can see this bird is primarily blue / white and gray, with the underparts white.  The Chest has a blue gray breast band in males and females, and the female also has a rust or brownish red belly band.  They eat fish primarily, but often take a while to do so, so it is not unusual to see a part of the fish sticking out of their mouth; they also eat shrimp, crabs, lizards, and insects if fish are scarce. They have a rather large bill like a woodpecker, and they nest in cavities like woodpeckers, but usually along a riverbank.  These birds are monogamous and both share the raising of the chicks and young.

Wild Hogs in the Swamp and no BBQ Sauce in Sight!

Today on my usual walk through the Six Mile Cypress Slough, I ran across two wild hogs, and all I could think about was how long it has been since I have had any Carolina BBQ with Mustard Sauce.  These destructive animals introduced by the Spanish Colonialist when Spain controlled “La Florida” almost 300 years ago still inhabit the swamp near Fort Myers.  Today I saw only two sows, but often they are accompanied by piglets.  They eat almost anything and root up endangered and rare plants as well as the eggs of turtles and birds.

 The next several pictures are of a Yellow Rat Snake, and a Black Rat Snake also seen on the walk.  Today as usual I also saw a number of birds, from the Black Crowned Night Herons, Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Green Heron, and Wood Ducks to the ever present and popular “Snow Birds” visiting Florida in their tour buses.  If you have not visited Six Mile Cypress Slough Swamp Sanctuary and would like to, it is located on Six Mile Cypress Parkway between Colonial and Daniels and parking is only a dollar an hour.  The boardwalk surrounds the various birding and nature hot spots and has a plenty of room and friendly guides and volunteers.  Please do us a favor however,  and do not leave your water bottles and trash in the swamp, as the animals will get sick, it it is just irresponsible and careless.  

When in doubt, take a walk and let nature do the talking.