Posted on April 3, 2019
After the previous post about early spring in Ohio we thought we’d travel back in time to late January and explore the natural beauty of Florida’s Lake Kissimmee State Park. After our third visit we now consider it a cornerstone for any winter camping trip to Florida.
An advantage to many of the parks we visit in Florida is that they’re not separated by great distances so it’s an easy matter to pull up stakes in one and head down the road to the next. Lake Kissimmee SP is not far from Little Manatee River, is a much larger park so there is plenty of nature to explore without ever leaving the park. The greatest variety of birds can be seen if one quietly paddles the lake shore, Zipper Canal, or Tiger Creek but birding is also very rewarding along the hiking trails. When not observing warblers, gnatcatchers, or kinglets. the trails are a great way to see the park’s many Red Headed Woodpeckers and there are rumors of Scrub Jays although that’s one we have yet to see.
Folks sometimes ask if we’re concerned about taking expensive camera equipment in a canoe. The answer is yes, but we’ve been blessed to see many birds that we wouldn’t have otherwise and are sometimes lucky enough to get a picture so we feel it’s worth the risk. Within reason the canoe doesn’t limit the amount of equipment one can take and while you may get lucky from time to time don’t expect tack sharp “tripod” images. Where the canoe fails as a photography platform is when wind and water conditions create excessive motion or make the boat hard to control leaving little opportunity for pictures. Although some might not agree, a bonus when exploring overgrown Florida shorelines in a small boat is wondering if around the next bend one will startle a large gator. It’s an experience of “wildness” not availible in places further north. With that intro, below are some of the “canoe” birds seen during our two weeks at the park.
The hiking trails offer a different mix of birds and wildlife. The length of hike often dictates the type of equipment one decides to take along. Lugging ten pounds of camera equipment for seven or eight miles is not fun. One solution I saw this year was to modify a light weight golf cart to haul your equipment if the trail conditions and other restrictions allow.
When hiking park trails one thing that always amazes me is how different species of birds stay together or flock. One can walk for miles and not see much of anything and then all of a sudden there will be birds everywhere. Chickadees, titmouse, kinglets, gnatcatchers, and warblers are often seen together and often there will even be a blue jay in the mix. With the Live Oaks draped in Spanish Moss, the palmettos, and the pines, the landscape is enchanting so if the birds aren’t cooperating there is always something to appreciate.
The other things:
Lake Kissimmee SP is one place we will be returning to next year. With its long hiking trails and extensive areas to explore by canoe there is always a new adventure waiting.
Under a clear blue sky,
with the winter sun warming skin exposed to cool morning air,
paddles rhythmically break the still surface,
as the canoe glides with anticipation along a winding creek
wrapped in sage, bulrush and lily pads.
A solitary alligator swims slowly ahead
then slides below the surface and disappears
while not far away
herons, hawks, egrets, and eagles announce their presence.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: canoeing, Central Ohio Nature, Florida, Lake Kissimmee SP, Nature Photography Tagged: Alligator, Anhinga, Bald Eagle, Band-winged Dragonlet, Bark Anole, Black and White Warbler, Black-crowned Night Heron, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, Common Moorhen, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Racer, Florida Baskettail, Glossy Ibis, Golden Silk Orb-weaver, Gopher Tortoise, Great Crested Flycatcher, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Live Oak, Northern Flicker, Oak Toad, Pine Warbler, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Snail Kite, Spiny-backed Orb-weaver, Swallow-tailed Kite, Tree Swallow, Tri-color Heron, Tufted Titmouse, White Tail Deer, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow Jessamine, Yellow Milkwort, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler
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