Wednesday, December 25, 2019

12/25 Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, FL

This is one of my favorite state parks in Florida because of all the wildlife here--birds, alligators, fresh-water turtles, deer, and even the invasive hogs.  Unfortunately, the weather has been rainy and chilly most of the week I have been here, so not as many opportunities to see wildlife.  

However, Florida does advertise its state parks as "the real Florida" which is how I feel about the wilder parts of this state.  And, believe it or not, it is a very busy place, even on Christmas Day!  The visitor center, gift shop, and tram and boat tours are closed, but lots of people have been riding bikes and walking around watching the birds and animals. 

This is a great blue heron in breeding plumage.  He is still fishing, but based on the photo shown to me by a nearby photographer, he had just eaten a 9" fish!  He should be stuffed with that size of meal.

And this is an American bittern.  It is identified by its plumage and down-turned bill. 

And one of my favorite--a roseate spoonbill. 

If you look in the sky, you can see hundreds of black vultures flying around.  

And a good-sized alligator. 

This is a white ibis, identified by its all white coloring, yellow legs, and down-turned bill.  It has black under its wings that can be seen when it flies. 

The road to what they call "The Birdwalk" which is a boardwalk into the lake. 

A flock of white pelicans.  These are huge, heavy birds, much bigger than the brown pelicans that are more common. 

And these are invasive wild hogs.  They dig up the ground with their snouts, making the land looking like it has been plowed and damaging many plants and young trees.  They used to shoot them, but I noticed a lot of traps around this trip.  I asked the ranger if they were making any progress eliminating these, but he said at least they were keeping the status quo.  Considering how many babies one sow can produce in a year, that is not too bad. 


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

12/16 St. Augustine, FL

It has been about seven years since I was last here, so I figured it was a good time to spend a few days here.  Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy most of the three days, but I did manage to get out and do some sightseeing one day.  Since I knew parking would be bad for motorhomes, I took Uber.  

This is the view of part of the harbor and the fort in the distance.  The fort is a national park, so I got in free with my senior pass.  

Interesting information about the seawall.  

The fort is in pretty good shape for being here for so long, but then again, it never really got into any serious battles.  

The entrance.

Inside the fort.  

This is the original door.  Notice that there is a smaller door for pedestrians within the bigger door.  

 And a store room.

A mock-up of a barrack room.

I found the art on lot of the cannons to be interesting and very complex.  Usually, it was of the queen, king, or another royal person who paid for the cannon.  Also, the greenish cannons were bronze and are mostly original.

The next few photos were all taken from the second floor roof.  

The handles are supposed to be dolphins jumping in the waves.  And, no, dolphins do not have hair or smiles that look like this, but then again, these were made in Spain by someone who had probably never seen the ocean, let alone dolphins!

I watched a bunch of re-enactors fire a cannon.  Any cannons that are black, by the way, Are reproductions made in Indiana!

I learned a lesson when I tried to videotape the actual firing:  When you expect a loud sound, rest your camera on something substantial so you don't drop it.  Luckily, I did not really drop the camera on anyone's head.

Obviously, a royal emblem of some sort, but I have no idea which one.  

Another royal emblem.  

I ended up taking a tour bus, but got bored and wandered around the downtown area, which was filled with shops and restaurants and thousands of tourists.  Got myself a bowl of clam chowder and piece of key lime pie to go. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

12/14 Anastasia SP, St. Augustine, FL

I took these photos during a couple of walks and also on a quick trip to the beach area after dumping my tanks.  Had a couple of rainy and cold days, but on this day, it finally turned sunny and warmed up a bit.

The first photos are of the beach area.  This is a little beach store that sells snacks and beach items, obviously. 

Almost always in Florida, there are board walkways to beaches because you are not allowed to walk on sand dunes because they and their vegetation protects the land from hurricanes.  And frankly, it makes for much easier walking than fighting your way through the sand. 

Not sure what these are, but I suspect the coloring help insects find the nectar and collect pollen on their way. 

This is as close as I got to the beach because I still had final exams to grade and final grades to turn in!!   

This is a telephoto of the lighthouse, which is over a mile away.  Not sure if you can climb it or not, but I just did not have time while here. 

This is the road to the campground. 

Lots of live oak trees, but no satellite signal, darn. 

These ferns are called resurrection ferns because most of the time they look like dead leaves on live oak branches.  Within hours after a rain, they come alive and turn green again.  Each plant is 5-8" tall. 

And my motorhome tucked into a very private site.  This photo was taken before the rain, so the ground looks just sandy, but after the rain, it tracked like crazy.  Other than when I sit in the driver's seat, I take my shoes off before getting in.  The tracked sand is really building up on my floor mat, so when it all dries, I will have to shake it out and do some vacuuming, but that will have to wait until my next campsite near Sarasota.  (I know from past visits that campsites there are gravel, not sand, so tracking in will be less of a problem.)