Tag Archives: Florida

The Osprey Trail

Honeymoon Island State Park

Decided to go on an exploration to see the Eagle Pair at Honeymoon Island State Park. Did not see the Eagles, however; their nest was pretty impressive!

“The 2015-16 season was the 8th consecutive year for eagles to nest on the island. This new nest is the first time eagles have reestablished nesting on the island since the 1935 homestead nest.”

Eagle Facts:

  • May live up to 40 years.
  • Eggs are laid 36 hours apart and both male and female incubate the eggs.
  • Average gestation period is 35 days with eggs hatching one at a time 36 hours apart.
  • The chicks are called Eaglets and remain in the nest for 10 to 12 weeks.
  • Both parents feed the Eaglets.

Those Eagles have some exact timing when it comes to laying and to hatching their Eaglets!

Eagle Nest

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The Osprey Trail

Imagine being on an Island within a Pine Forest! You will see sand as well as pine cones. Plus Ospreys Galore along with their nests!

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I have lived here long enough now to know the call of the Ospreys. It makes my ears tune in and my eyes focused on the trees or skies every time.

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Fauna & Flora

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Other Birdlife Out & About

Egret

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Woodpecker

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Pine Cones

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Spooky Trees aka Snag Trees

These trees are perfect places to build an Osprey nest. Also, Ospreys build and repair nests by snapping off dead limbs in flight instead of collecting downed wood from the ground.

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Briefly touched on to the Pelican Trail that works its way around the edge of the Island and along the Gulf of Mexico. Mangroves, Salt Air and Sea Breeze Oh My!

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A Baby Mangrove Plant

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Never Far From the Water (Photos by RSheridan)

Get Outside to Explore, Adventure & Walk On The Wild Side!!!

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Honeymoon Island

State Park

A Florida State Park located on Honeymoon Island, a barrier island across St. Joseph’s Sound from Palm Harbor, Ozona and Crystal Beach. The park is 385 acres in land area with 2,400 acres submerged and 4 miles of beach. Honeymoon Island was formerly known as Hog Island.

The American public were introduced to Honeymoon Island in the early 1940’s. The advertisements promised undiscovered pleasures for newlyweds. Honeymoon-type huts were built on the island for vacationing. Hence Hog Island became Honeymoon Island.

Then World War II began and the thatched huts fell into disuse. The structures were torn down as the island was turned into a state park. A causeway was constructed in 1964 leading to the island.

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The Dunedin Causeway

Recreational Activities

  • Birding (Osprey, tern, plover, wading birds, etc.)
  • Bird observation areas
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Nature trails
  • Swimming

The Island is a refuge for a number of species of plants (i.e. slash pines, mangroves, etc.) and animals (i.e. dolphin pods, birdlife, wildlife, etc.).

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The beaches are sandy.

Amenities

  • The Rotary Centennial Nature Center (elevated observation deck, exhibits about the natural and cultural history of the Islands, etc.)
  • Bath houses
  • Concession stands
  • Passenger ferry service to Caladesi Island State Park
  • Picnic areas
  • Pet beach

Rattlesnakes are common to Honeymoon Island – exercise caution! Mosquitoes can also be a nuisance. Sunscreen+Bug Juice = Happy Beach Goer!

Caladesi Island

Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island were originally part of a large barrier island that split in half during a major hurricane in 1921. The waterway between the islands is known as Hurricane Pass. Located in the Gulf of Mexico across St. Joseph Sound to the west of Dunedin, Florida and north of Clearwater Beach. Caladesi Island is not its own island, but shares its island geography with Clearwater Beach.

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The Gulf of Mexico

There is a ferry from Honeymoon Island out to Caladesi Island. There is a dock on Honeymoon Island to launch private boats to go out to the island. You can also walk to the island via Clearwater Beach from the south; it is only separated by a “welcome” sign.

Hurricane Elena filled in Dunedin Pass in 1985 marking the island accessible by walking northward from North Clearwater Beach.

Recreational Activities

  • Beach area
  • Birding
  • Boating, canoeing, kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Hiking (3-mile nature trail)
  • Shelling
  • Swimming and snorkeling
  • Wildlife viewing

Amenities

  • Marina
  • Picnic areas
  • Bath houses
  • Concession stand

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Caladesi Island (Photos by RSheridan)

Happy Exploring & Adventuring!!!


Bird Curious

Watching the Birdies

Anhinga

This Anhinga was funny to watch doing its bird dancing!

Grebe

Love the circles these birds make in the water.

Heron

Gator

There is a balance between the birds and the alligators. A nesting bird in gator territory has built in security in the gators keeping away egg thieving bandits like raccoons and opossums.


Catching Some Rays! (Photos by RSheridan)

Are You Bird Curious or A Bird Watcher? Love to Hear, Please Share!


Beach Combing

Strolling the Beach

Seashells by the Seashore

Coral

Waves


(Photos by RSheridan)

Enjoy A Little Piece of Paradise! Where is Your Favorite Place to Stroll? Love to Hear, Please Share!


Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

In Weeki Wachee, Florida

538 acre park that features a first magnitude spring! Located on U.S. 19 and State Road 50. Celebrity guests to the park have included Elvis Presley, Don Knotts and Esther Williams to name a few. At one point in its history Weeki Wachee Springs Park was owned by broadcast network ABC. In November 2008 the State of Florida took over Weeki Wachee Springs as a State Park.

  • There is a submerged theater to see the magical mermaids.
  • Take a river boat cruise.
  • Canoe or kayak the Weeki Wachee River.
  • Take in the animal show to see Florida’s native wildlife, including gators.
  • Experience Buccaneer Bay – flume ride, white sandy beach, picnic areas.

Missed out on the river boat cruise due to the hour wait time. The river boat cruise takes you for a ride on the Weeki Wachee River. The boat captain provides guests with an educational experience about the river and natural wildlife.

Once upon a time . . .

A Princess was born to King Neptune. She was no ordinary mermaid though. She was so fair, so pretty and so sweet. She was called “Princess Wonderous.”

“These turbulent seas,” exclaimed King Neptune to his court and subjects, “is no place for one of such beauty as “Wonderous.” Go to the four corners of the seas and find a place to match her personality. Find a place where the water is sweet and clear as the air… where it is neither hot nor cold, summer nor winter. Find a place where flowers bloom all the time. Find a place where she can bask in the golden rays of the sun by day and the pearly moonbeams by night.” Such a place seemed impossible to find by his loyal subjects. From all the world they came — the Sun Fish from the Orient — the while from the north — the marlin from the Pacific — but alas! no one found the perfect spot. A friendly porpoise reported that he had been told of such a place by a shipwrecked sailor. This time the King summoned the gulls, pelicans and all the birds of the sea. “Go forth and find the place of the winding waters in the land of flowers.” And from a wise flamingo he learned of Weeki Wachee and with the help of the Good Fairy, in a twinkle of the eye and a wave of her magic want, “Princess Wonderous” was placed on her throne in Weeki Wachee where she has lived happily ever since!

Yes, there is a place called Weeki Wachee in Florida and it is home to Mermaids!

The Mermaids

If you are lucky you will see and witness the magic of the mermaids, usually around 11:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. If you are really lucky you will see them do “Fish Tails” around 1:30 p.m. There is a submerged theater to see the magical mermaids.

The mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs have been here since 1947.

“Fish Tales”

Lucky to catch the mermaids doing their “fish tales”!

The turtle stole the show for a bit!

The Spring

The spring was named “Weeki Wachee” by the Semiole Indians, which means “Little Spring” or “Winding River.”

“From May 22 until August 30, 2007, the discharge level at Weeki Wachee spring dropped to a level that allowed for cave divers to gain effective entry into the cave system at the spring. The Karst Underwater Research team successfully executed exploration dives and the necessary in-water decompression to explore approximately 6,700 feet in multiple passages at an average depth of 265 Feet Fresh Water (ffw) with a maximum depth of 407 ffw. The 407 ffw depth makes the cave system under Weeki Wachee springs the deepest known fresh water cave system in the United States.

Peacocks and Peahens


(Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s To the Magical – Enjoy!!!


Out & About

Exploring at Brooker Creek Preserve

Finally able to explore more of this preserve. Due to the rains this Summer this part of the preserve was not accessible.

Welcome to the Swamp!

Like a Jungle Out Here


Unique Ground Cover

Now In A Pine Forest

Floral

Fungi

Maple Leaf

Tree With Many Branches

This tree was massive with many, many branches.

Air Plants


(Photos by RSheridan)

Happy Exploring!!!


On the Island

Exploring

Hello!

Observation Tower Area

The Bartow Plant

Flora

Crabs

For some reason these crabs were scurrying up the trees.

Lizards

Water View


(Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s To Getting Out For A Walk About!


Largo Central Park Nature Preserve

A Mixed Hardwood Swamp 

Largo Nature Preserve. Located at 150 Highland SE Avenue in Largo, Florida. Hours:  6:30 a.m. to 1 hours before sunset daily.

A 31-acre nature park. Over 130 species of birds, otters, alligators, foxes, rabbits, wild turkeys, and bats. A nature preserve that is like a smorgasbord to the local wildlife! Over 40 interpretive displays to educate visitors on the wildlife in the nature preserve.

I was hoping to see an otter or two. No gators to be seen either. Next time!

A 5-mile kayak/canoe route begins at the park and ends at Park Boulevard.

  • Boardwalks
  • 3/4 mile asphalt trail for walking, biking and skating
  • 2-story observation tower
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic tables

No dogs are allowed in the nature preserve.

I enjoyed being able to walk on the boardwalk that goes all the way around the pond in the nature preserve.

The Anhingas were pretty active in swimming about as well as taking flight and landing in another part of the pond.

I was startled on one part of the boardwalk when I turned and there was a heron pretty much face-to-face with me – a little too close to nature – the wild need their space! 


Hello!


Preening Here!

Water Flora & Fauna

Birds

A Unique Plant

A Bitter Melon, Bitter Gourd, Balsam Pear

A bitter vegetable. Not a pear, but a fruiting gourd and vine. Smells like an old, well-used gym shoe – Gross!

LOOK, but do not TAKE!!! Edible when green and cooked. TOXIC when orange ripe! It then splits into three parts, revealing red arils or fleshy seed covers.

Found Connecticut south to Florida to west to Texas. Also Puerto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands.


Closed & TOXIC!!!


Opened Up & Still TOXIC!!!

Wander On! Love to Hear About Your Explorations & Adventures, Please Share!


(Photos by RSheridan)


Dunedin Marina

Looking . . .

Looking For Manatees

No Manatees on this expedition.

For Dolphins


This would be GOOD too – ha!

Looking For Birds

Plenty of birds!

The Marina


(Photos by RSheridan)

Happy Exploring!!!


Hammock Park

A NEW! Place To Explore

Hammock Park is located at 1945 San Mateo Drive, Dunedin, FL.

90-acre nature preserve. “Represents one of the last examples of a coastal forest that was typical of West Central Florida prior to development.” Mixed hardwood forest. More than 300 native species of trees, shrubs, ferns, wildflowers, and small animals. Over 100 species of birds inhabit the preserve throughout the year.

  • Boardwalks & Trails
  • Butterfly Garden (the newest addition to the park)
  • Frisbee Golf Course
  • Picnic Area
  • Playground

Need to go back and explore the Butterfly Garden. The garden features 11 beds with 225 plants in 40 varieties. A flowering display of butterfly favorites. More than 35 species of butterflies.

Andrews Memorial Chapel

Built in 1888. Styled in Victorian Gothic architecture.

Birds


This Osprey was all fluffed out!

Lunch Special Today is Crab!

Elephant Ears

Fauna

Spiderwebs

The spiders were really into web design here!

Water


(Photos by RSheridan)

What Have You Been Exploring Lately? Love to Hear, Please Share!


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