Sunday, December 21, 2014

12/19 & 12/21 Myakka Visitors & More Wildlife

I was very happy to have Ron and Jan visit me this past week.  They share my love of wildlife, although Ron is a much better photographer than I am.  (He also has the advantage of a humongous camera and telephoto lens!)

It is hard to avoid animals in this state park.  One of the best places to see alligators and birds is the bridge over a wide spot in the Myakka River.  Alligators like this area because it provides sunny places to warm up and birds and fishermen like it because of the plentiful fish.  Here is an anhinga drying his wings.  He dives for fish, but his wings are not coated with oil as a duck's are, so he has to dry them out after diving.

And one of the alligators floating around.  I like that you can see much of his body underwater in this photo.

Wood storks are ugly birds, but they are the only true storks in the United States and are endangered because their habitat is diminishing. They use their large beaks to sift through shallow water.  They eat fish, frogs, baby alligators, and snakes.   

Most of the alligators were dozing with their heads down, but this guy had his head raised.  He was about 7' long.  Would you believe lots of people kayak in this area????

This is a three-in-one photo:  the alligator, a wood stork, and a little blue heron.

Ron and Jan on the canopy walk.  This is a platform that takes you up into the trees so you can see the plants and trees from the top.  In the distance, you can see the taller of the two towers.  Rough climb up all those stairs, at least for me.

View from the highest tower of part of Myakka State Park.

It was hard to see but easy to hear.  This was a raucous osprey sitting in this tree.   There was another osprey flying around, but I have no idea why this one was so loud.  Osprey eat fish, so this is a logical place to find one.  People build towers with platforms on the top to encourage these birds to nest since their usual areas of tall trees have often been replaced by houses or condos. 

And this is a great white heron.  Same size and shape as a great blue heron, but a different color.

The road through the park is 8 miles long, so today (the 21st) I rode my bike the entire length.  Found this pretty river view at the northeast end.

This bird was way down at the end.  It is hard to see, but the bill curves down which makes it a white ibis.  Check out the reflection.  Also there is another bird on the same branch, but I have no idea what it was because it was so far away. 

I also saw a turtle sunning on a log, but the photo did not turn out well.  And saw a deer on my way back to my campground. 

While I don't ride it every day, my electric bike does an excellent job of getting me around.  My ride was 14 miles today. I could never do that distance on my old bike because of my sore knees. 

There are tram and boat tours here, which I took two years ago when I stayed here.  I am probably going to take those tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on the weather--we are supposed to get rain tonight.  Since temperature was in upper 70s today, I don't mind a night of rain!   

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