Florida, Paddling, Hiking, and Other Things Seen

Most of our photographic energy when paddling or hiking in Florida is directed at the birds, however it’s hard not to see other things when you’re out exploring. For any of you that have travelled to Miami or Naples or any of the other developed areas these pictures will not remind you of that Florida. In our quest to explore ad be in nature we try to avoid such places and look for the natural beauty. While it is still a place of much beauty, when driving through the many developed areas one cannot help but feel Florida is being “loved” to death.


For those that are curious, our stay in Florida consisted of time spent at Myakka River SP; great hiking, big gators, and great wildlife photography, Lake Kissimmee SP; great hiking, paddling, fishing, and wildlife, the Chassahowzitka River Campground;  great paddling, fishing, and wildlife, and Ochlockonee River SP; great hiking, paddling, and wildlife.

 Click on images for a better view.


The first place we visited was Myakka River State Park. In addition to many species of birds it’s home a lot of very large Alligators!

Hammock, Myakka River SP.


Myakka River, Myakka River SP.

Living dangerously, Myakka River SP.

Alligator heaven, Myakka River SP.

Almost everything’s cute when it’s little, Myakka River SP.

Cooling off, Myakka River SP.

Lots of babies, Myakka River SP, (Donna).

Bellowing, Myakka River SP.


Sunset, Myakka River SP.


Rumor has it that the alligators enjoy a turtle now and then. Hopefully this fella will live to a ripe old age.

Florida Redbelly Cooter, Myakka River SP


Myakka River, Myakka River SP.

Air plants, Myakka River SP.


Whether in Myakka or otherwise there were always butterflies and other insects to facinate.

White Peacock Butterfly, Myakka River SP

Black Swallowtail, Ochlockonee River SP.

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, central Florida, (Donna).

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly, (Donna).

Pondhawk, Ochlockonee River SP.

Long-tailed Skipper, Chassahowitzka River, (Donna).

Zebra Swallowtail, Ochlockonee River SP.

Palamedes Swallowtail, Chassahowitzka River.

Red-banded Hairstreak, Ochlockonee River SP, (Donna).

Jumping Spider, Lake Kissimmee SP.

Roseate Skimmer, Ochlockonee River SP, (Donna).

Ornate Pennant, Lake Kissimmee SP. (Donna)

Fiddler Crabs, St Marks NWR, (Donna).

Fiddler Crabs in combat, St Marks NWR, (Donna).


One of the more interesting places in Myakka River SP  is the Deep Hole.

Heading towards the Deep Hole.

Alligators were everywhere!

The Deep Hole, Myakka River SP.


After Myakka we made our way about 90 miles tp Lake Kissimmee SP in the center of the state and then on to the Chassahowitzka River area and then Chassahowitzka River SP in the panhandle.

Live Oak, Lake Kissimmee SP.

Lake Kissimmee SP

Exploring Mashes Sands Beach near Ochlockonee River SP, (Donna).

Along the trail, Ochlockonee SP, (Donna).

St Mark’s Lighthouse, St Mark’s NWR.

Sopchoppy River, St Marks NWR.


My wife was better about documenting the flowers.

Thistle, Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area, (Donna)

Golden Club, Sopchoppy River, (Donna).

Florida Scrub Roseling, Myakka River SP, (Donna).

British Soldier Lichen, Lake Kissimmee SP

Sundew, Ochlockonee SP, (Donna).

Rain Lilies, Wakulla River

Checking out the Spider Lilies, Wakulla River.

Spider Lilies, Wakulla River

Southern Blackberry, Ochlockonee River SP.


St John’s Wort, Ochlockonee River SP.


We also ran across a number of snakes and other reptiles during our adventures.

Banded Water Snake, Chassahowitzka River, (Donna).

Eastern Racer, Lake Kissimmee SP.

Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake, Ochlockonee SP, (Donna).

Brown Anole, Lake Kissimmee SP.

Green Anole, Ochlockonee SP, (Donna)


.   .   .  and then some other creatures.

Armadillo, Chassihowitzka River area, (Donna).

Bobcat, St Marks NWR, (Donna).

White Squirrel, Ochlockonee SP.


Central Florida landscape, (Donna).


Below are some birds pics that missed the previous Florida post.

Osprey trying a new fishing technique, Chassahowitzka River, (Donna).

White Pelican trying not to get it’s feet wet, Upper Myakka Lake, (Donna).

Limpkins, Myakka River SP, (Donna).

Red Shouldered Hawk (FL variant), Lake Kissimmee SP, (Donna).


This year proved to be especially good for seeing River Otters while we paddled various rivers.

River Otter, Chassahowitzka River, (Donna).

River Otter, Sopchoppy River, (Donna)

River Otter, Sopchoppy River


Views from the canoe, an incomplete photo record of places paddled.

Tiger Creek, Lake Kissimmee SP.

St Marks River, (Donna).

Tiger Creek into Tiger Lake, Lake Kissimmee SP.

Crawford Creek, Chassahowitzka River

Fish Camp, Crawford Creek.

St Marks River

Otter Lake, St Marks NWR.

Canoe wake reflection, Otter Lake, St Marks NWR.

Yes there is someone in the stern of the canoe.


Those of you that follow this blog know I like to occasionally like to put a line in the water. Florida didn’t disappoint.

Largemouth Bass Sopchoppy River

Largemouth Bass, Lake Kissimmee, (Donna).


That about wraps up Florida for this year. Whether on foot, in a canoe or kayak it’s a great place to enjoy nature. Thanks for stopping by.


Sand and Water, Bald Point SP, (Donna).





 Should you wish, prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

Looking for a Buckeye (but not in Ohio)

So far this summer Buckeye butterflies have been scarce in central Ohio. However, on a recent trip south to northeast Georgia, we were fortunate enough to see our first of the year. While I was preoccupied with family matters my ever diligent wife documented  butterflies seen during our daily hikes.


She was kind enough to share her photos for the post. A few of the butterflies were first time sightings for us. This is not because they’re rare but because we don’t usually visit the southeast part of the country in August and their range may not extend as far north as Ohio. Of those seen for the first time, we thought the Long-tailed Skipper was the most unusual and for us the most exciting.


Hoary Edged Skipper 5 LL 3 081815 GA trip cp1

Hoary Edged Skipper (1st time sighting)

buckeye 1 wings full out 1 best 1 081715 GA trip cp1


Gulf Fritillary 4 best ever 1 081615 GA trip cp1

Gulf Fritillary

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 1 LL 1 best 1 081815 GA trip csb1

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Clouded Sulphur 2 upside down 2 best ever 1 081815 Ga trip cp1

Clouded Sulphur

Clouded Skipper 3 best 2 closer 1 081815 Ga trip cp1

Clouded Skipper (1st time sighting)

Carolina Satyr LL 1 best 1 081615 ga trip cp1

Carolina Satyr (1st time sighting)

Variegated Fritillary trio 1 081615 GA trip cp1

Variegated Fritillary trio (1st time sighting)

Variegated Fritillary 1 on straw 1 081615 ga trip cp1

Variegated Fritillary

Spicebush Swallowtail 2 wings out 1 best 1 081815 Ga trip cp1

Spicebush Swallowtail

Sachem Skipper 1 LL 1 best 1 081815 GA trip cp1

Sachem Skipper (1st time sighting)

Sachem female skipper 2 best 2 closer 1 081815 Ga trip cp1

Sachem skipper, female

red-spotted purple 3 wings out 2 head on 1 best 1 081615 ga trip cp1

Red-spotted Purple

Long tailed Skipper 4 LR 1 best 1 081615 GA trip cp1

Long-tailed Skipper (1st time sighting)


We’re now back in Ohio and we’ll probably see our first Buckeye any day now as they tend to visit later in the summer. Nonetheless, it’s been a great year for butterflies and our trip south just added to it.


 Thanks for stopping by.

A Little Southwest of Columbus, part 3 of 3.

The first stop on our recent trip to the American southwest was Tucson. The weather, when compared to Columbus Ohio in February, was perfect, 40’s during the night and mid 70’s during the day. Great for hiking and exploring nature.  Our friends David and Joyce were gracious enough to let us stay with them while there, so no camping.


It take two and a half days of deliberate driving to get to Tucson from Columbus. Much of it is not that exciting so we tried books on tape but our selections weren’t any better than some of the scenery so we resorted to taking an informal survey of the birds of prey perched along the highway.  One day we counted over 60, mostly Red tails.


Below is a photo collage of some of the things seen while we were in Tucson. Highlights were visits to Saguaro National Park, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Sabino Canyon, and Madera Canyon. If you enjoy the desert and biodiversity this is a great area with a greater variety of cactus than just about anywhere in the US.


trail P1000652

Catalina State Park Landscape


For us the birds always seem to be the most exciting part of the adventure.

birds IMG_5004-2

Verdin, Sabino Canyon. Now if I could just arrange for the light to be on the right side of the bird!

birds IMG_4979-2

Curved Billed Thrasher, Saguaro Natl Park

birds IMG_4881

Ladder Backed Woodpecker, Sabino Canyon

birds Gila Woodpecker 020514 Desert Museum cp1

Gila Woodpecker, Desert Museum, (Donna)

birds Cassin's Vireo 2 020715

Cassin’s Vireo, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

birds Cassin's P1000901

Cassin’s Vireo with bug, Madera Canyon

birds Cassin's P1000677

Cassin’s Vireo, Sabino Canyon

birds Black P1010672

Black-throated Sparrow, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

birds Black-Throated Sparrow with bug at Sabino Canyon

Black-throated Sparrow, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

birds P1010814

Painted Redstart, Madara Canyon, (Donna)

birds P1000876

Mexican Jay, Sabino Canyon

birds P1000760

Phainopepla, Sabino Canyon


Black-chinned Hummingbird, Tucson

birds P1000587

Anna’s Hummingbird, Desert Museum

birds P1000568

Anna’s Hummingbird, Desert Museum

birds P1000559b

Anna’s Hummingbird, Desert Museum, (Donna)

birds P1000483

Cactus Wren, Sabino Canyon

birds P1000484

Cactus Wren and nest, Sabino Canyon

trail P1000867

Bob and Donna, Madera Canyon


But we were pleasantly surprised by the flowers. A recent rain may have been responsible.

flower P1010346

Unknown wildflower, Sabino Canyon

flower P1010248

Unknown wildflower, Sabino Canyon

New Mexico Groundsel,  Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

New Mexico Groundsel, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

Desert Globe Mallow, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

Desert Globe Mallow, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

trail IMG_5003

Donna along the trail, Sabino Canyon


Of the plants, the cactus was by far the most interesting. Walking through the natural areas around Tucson was like walking through an arboretum.

cactus P1000794

Saguaro Cactus, Catalina State Park

cactus P1000702

Saguaro Cactus mutation, Sabino Canyon

cactus P1000536

Eagle claws Cactus, Desert Museum

cactus P1000514

Organ Pipe Cactus, Desert Museum

cactus IMG_4987

Santa Cruz beehive cactus, Saguaro National Park

cactus IMG_4977

Saguaro skeleton, Saguaro National Park

cactus IMG_4964cfix

Arizona Barrel Cactus, Saguaro National Park

cactus IMG_4959crop

Silver cholla, Saguaro National Park

cactus IMG_4953

Young Saguaro under the shelter of a tree, Saguaro National Park.

cactus IMG_4945

Christmas Cactus, Saguaro National Park

cactus IMG_4916

Teddy bear cholla, Saguaro National Park.

trail P1010235

Bob and David, Sabino Canyon.


When we don’t see a bird we might just see a butterfly.

But American Snout and Fairy Duster at Sabino Canyon

American Snout and Fairy Duster, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

But Grey Hairstreak and Fairy Duster 2 at Sabino Canyon

Grey Hairstreak and Fairy Duster, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

But P1010865

Painted Lady, Sabino Canyon

But P1010849

Black Swallowtail, Sabino Canyon

But P1010690

Texan Crescent, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

But P1010567

Gulf Fritillary, Sabino Canyon

But P1000548

Queen, Sabino Canyon

trail P1000703

Sabino Canyon trail.


Then there were a few other living things/critters that grabbed our attention.

misc P1010440

Sonoran Desert Tortoise, Desert Museum

trail P1000530

Century Plant, young and old, Desert Museum

trail P1000618

Desert Landscape, Saguaro National Park

misc P1010341

Common Side-blotched Lizard, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

misc IMG_4992

Rock Squirrel, Saguaro National Park

misc IMG_4971fix

Jack Rabbit, Saguaro National Park

Bob and Cacti landscape at Sabino Canyon

Along the trail, Saguaro National Park, (Donna)

trail P1000650cfix

Sabino Canyon Landscape


Thanks for looking in.


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