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.

Birds of Florida on Foot and by Canoe

Our recent six weeks of hiking and paddling in Florida resulted in a lot of photographs.


The pictures below provide a record of some of the birds seen. While lovely in their right, we are left with the feeling that they don’t come close to conveying the overall sense of wonder experienced as we explored the trails and waterways of Florida. Equipped with the knowledge that places visited were home to many fascinating living things, the wonder was with us even when we didn’t see a plant, bird or other animal that begged to be photographed. We returned home with the feeling that just being in such places had been more than enough.

(click on images for a better view)


Yellow-crowned Night Heron 1 LL 1 031416 Estero River cp1

Yellow-crowned Night Heron, from the canoe, Estero River, (Donna)


Palm Warbler, Ochlockonee River State Park


Ruddy Turnstones, Bald Point State Park


Sanderlings, Bald Point State Park


Royal Tern, near Ochlockonee State Park


Bald Eagle, St Marks NWR.


Brown-headed Nuthatch, Ochlockonee River State Park


White-eyed Vireo, Manatee Springs State Park


Red-shouldered Hawk, Manatee Springs State Park


Blue-headed Vireo, Manatee Springs State Park


Carolina Wren, Manatee Springs State Park


Yellow-rumped Warbler, Manatee Springs State Park


Northern Parula Warbler, Manatee Springs State Park


Cat Bird, Shady Acres RV Park.


Black and White Warbler, Manatee Springs State Park


Black Vultures, Manatee Springs State Park


Swallow-tailed Kite, Shady Acres RV Park


Little Blue Heron, Ding Darling NWR.


White Pelicans, Ding Darling NWR.


Immature Yellow-crowned Nigh Heron, Ding Darling NWR.


Little Blue Heron, Six Mile Cypress Slough


Blue-headed Vireo, Manatee Springs State Park


Black and Turkey Vultures over the Suwanee River and Manatee Springs State Park. Moments before these birds were all perched in trees around the spring, Then, as if on queue, they all took flight.


Mockingbird, St Marks NWR.


White Pelicans, St Marks NWR.


Pied Billed Grebes, St Marks NWR.


American Wigeons, St Marks NWR.


Brown Pelican with Kingfisher, St Marks NWR.


Red-cockaded woodpecker , Ochlockonee River State Park., These birds are threatened in much of their range due to loss of habitat.


Palm Warbler, Ochlockonee State Park.


Brown Pelican, St Marks NWR.


Horned Grebe, St Marks NWR.


Eastern Phoebe, St Marks NWR.


Palm Warbler, Ochlockonee River NWR.


Tri-color Heron, from the canoe, Wakulla River


Hermit Thrush, Ochlockonee River State River.


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ochlockonee River State Park


Eastern Towhee, Ochlockonee River State Park

P1060522 Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler, Ochlockonee River State Park,

P1060657use Black-bellied Plover and Dunlins

Black-bellied Plover and Dunlins, Bald Point State Park

Snowy Egret 2 best 2 further away 1 020716 Wakulla river cp1

Great Egret, (Donna). We spotted this bird as we were making our way down the Wakulla River with the current, an outgoing tide, and a fairly strong wind at our back. Managed to get the canoe swung around and slowly headed back upstream while my wife started to shoot. While never our intention the bird soon tired of our interest and flew away. In my opinion it was the best bird pic of the trip.


Piping Plover, Bald Point State Park. A rare and endangered bird.


Bald Eagle, Bald Point State Park.


Laughing Gull, Bald Point State Park


Cardinal, Manatee Springs State Park


Black Vulture, Manatee Springs State Park.


Yellow-throated Warbler, Manatee Springs State Park


Red-headed Woodpecker, Manatee Springs State Park


Black Vultures, Manatee Springs State Park


Tri-color Heron and Brown Pelican, from the canoe, island off Cedar Key.


Great Egret, from the canoe, Ichetucknee Springs State Park


Take 2.



Juvenile Ibis, from the canoe, Ichetucknee Springs State Park


Green Heron, from the canoe, Ichetucknee Springs State Park


Roseate Spoonbill, from the canoe, Ichetucknee Springs State Park


Peleated Woodpeckers, from the canoe, Ichetucknee Springs State Park.



Osprey, from the canoe, Ichetucknee Springs State Park


American Oystercatcher, from the canoe, Cedar Key


American Avocets, from the canoe, Cedar Key


Black Skimmer, from the canoe, Cedar Key


Least Terns, Cedar Key


Wood Stork, Six Mile Cyprus Slough, Ft Meyers


Sandpiper, from the canoe, Lovers Key State Park


Snowy Egret, from the canoe, Lovers Key State Park.


Great Crested Flycatcher, Shady Acres RV Park.


Brown Pelican, from the canoe, Estero River


White Ibis with bright red legs 1 LL 1 031216 Six Mile Slough cp1

Ibis, Six Mile Cypress Slough, (Donna).


Now back in Ohio, we visited one of our favorite spots earlier today. While nuthatches, creepers, and various woodpeckers were present, no Bald Eagles were seen nor did any Scarlet Tanagers show themselves. But we have seen them there before and you never know about tomorrow.


Thanks for stopping by.


A Little Southwest of Ohio, part 1 of 3

Recently we took a road trip to the American southwest, visiting places such as Tucson, Arizona, Big Bend National Park in Texas, and Goose Island State Park near Corpus Christi, also in Texas. This post is about things seen at Goose Island State Park and the adjacent Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.


Given the amount of hiking we thought we’d be doing all pictures were shot with either a Panasonic FZ200 or a Canon SX40. While the additional reach of the Canon would seem to be an advantage, in real life shooting the FZ200 more consistently produced sharper more usable images even when digitally enlarged to compensate for the shorter zoom.


We highly recommend the Goose Island State Park area if you enjoy birding and nature. The diversity of birds, even during non-migration periods, is wonderful. Also, we had the opportunity to run into old acquaintances as will as to make a number of new friends as we pursued our passion for nature. Good stuff!


Below are pics of just some of the things seen. Hope you enjoy glancing through them.


Crested Caracara, many were seen along the road between Big Bend and Goose Island.

Common Loon IMG_5265

Common Loon in the gulf in winter plumage. Flightless till “spring” when new flight feathers come in for the migration north.

Common Loon IMG_5259

Common Loon

Chipping Sparrows P1010271

Chipping Sparrows playing hide and seek, Goose Island State Park

Carolina Wren IMG_5175

Carolina Wren, Goose Island State Park

Brown Pelican P1010236

Brown Pelican’s, Goose Island State Park.

Black-crested Titmouse P1010396

Black-crested Titmouse, Goose Island State Park

Black-bellied Plover IMG_5289

Black-bellied Plover, Goose Island State Park


Below are some shots of the Wooping Cranes which have been brought back from the point of extinction. However, challenges remain. The recent dry years in Texas have caused increased salinity levels in the bays along the Gulf Coast which has resulted in a decrease in the Blue Crab one of their main food sources.

Wooping Crane IMG_5248-2

Wooping Crane near Goose Island state Park.

Wooping Crane IMG_5155

Wooping Cranes near Goose Island State Park

Willet IMG_5283

Willet, Goose Island State Park

White Pelican P1010217cfix

White Pelican, Goose Island State Park.

White Ibis IMG_5309

White Ibis, Goose Island state Park

Tricolor Heron P1010231

Tricolor Heron, Goose Island State Park.

Snowy Egret P1010225

Snowy Egret, Goose island State park.

Semipalmated Sandpiper IMG_5088

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Goose island State Park.

Savannah Sparrow IMG_5183

Savannah Sparrow, Goose Island State Park.

Sandhill Cranes IMG_5218

Sandhill Cranes near Goose Island State Park.


At low tide, extensive mud flats are a great place to see shorebirds.

Sanderlings IMG_5078

Sanderlings, Aransas Natl Wildlife Refuge

Ruddy Turnstone P1010440

Ruddy Turnstone, Goose Island State Park.

Roseate Spoonbill IMG_5313

Roseate Spoonbill making good it’s escape, Goose Island State Park

Pied-billed Grebe IMG_5123

Pied-billed Grebe, Aransas Natl Wildlife Refuge.


1000 year old Live Oak near goose Island State Park


The Big Tree.


Path through Live Oaks, Goose Island State Park.

Northern Pintail P1010477

Northern Pintails, Goose Island State Park.

Lincoln's Sparrow P1010284

Lincoln’s Sparrow, Goose Island State Park.

Ladder-backed Woodpeckers P1010298

Ladder-backed Woodpecker’s, Goose Island State Park.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (female) P1010301

Female Ladder-backed, Goose island state Park.


We saw a number of Killdeer, a common bird adjacent to the farm fields of Ohio.

Killdeer IMG_5281

Killdeer, Goose Island State Park


Kestrals were very numerous along the roads in the area. Looking for insects and small rodents.

Kestral (male) P1010316

Kestral (male), near Goose Island state Park

Kestral (female) IMG_5090

Kestral (female), Aransas Natl Wildlife Refuge.


A very small beautiful dove common to southern Texas.

Inca Dove P1010483

Inca Dove, Goose Island State park.


Pier, Goose Island State Park, great spot for birding.


A typical area to look for shore birds.


Aransas Natl Wildlife Refuge.

Harris's Sparrow P1010498

Harris’s Sparrow (center), Goose Island State Park

Great Egret IMG_5042

Great Egret, Aransas Natl Wildlife Refuge.

Eurasian Collared Dove P1010490

Eurasian Collared Dove, Goose Island State Park.

Dunlin P1010421

Dunlin, Goose Island State Park.


Thanks for looking in.

Diary of an Aesthete

A Journey Of Heart And Mind


Life after the Care Farm

Out For 30

Exploring the world, 30 days at a time.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Photos by Donna

Birds and Wildlife Photography

Israel's Good Name

Voyages and Experiences in Israel

Israel's Good Name

Voyages and Experiences in Israel

Nareszcie urlop

English & Polish TravelBlog / Poland, Europe, the World

Eloquent Nature by Gary Hart

Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer


The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

Imagery of Light

Photography by Sheila Creighton

My Best Short Nature Poems

Ellen Grace Olinger

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright


Nature photography

Views From A Small Island

A photographic record of the everyday and the not so everyday life around the UK.

Mike Powell

My journey through photography