We Are Not Normal
(Header Image: Great Blue Heron On The Nest)
I keep thinking if I arrive at sunrise the view will be spectacular, what with all that “Golden Light” photographers continuously seek. Unfortunately, the light still reveals the same old dusty roads and converted phosphate mines. Looking at the water is pleasant and the surrounding trees are nice enough, but it is not exactly an “iconic landscape venue”.
Fortunately, the habitat is quite agreeable to a diversity of flora and fauna. But that wide-angle lens is in the pack, just in case.
A revealing exercise in which we regularly engage is the “What would you like to do tomorrow?” game. Interestingly, 99% of the time, we discuss where to go birding. (Or, as Gini has come to call it: birding, blooming and bugging.) Shopping, sight-seeing, visiting nearby Disney World – none of these has ever been discussed. Nature seekers are us. (Oh. The other 1% of the time? Once a month the vote is unanimous to visit our favorite seafood shack.)
Over the years, we have made a somewhat startling discovery. More than a few people in the world have lost their minds. I know! We were surprised, too! What we thought were “sound” values of society have been deemed “old-fashioned” and have apparently been discarded. Things we considered just “common sense” have been ignored and replaced with what we regard as insanity. We have aching necks from shaking our heads back-and-forth.
I blame Darwin. Human evolution bypassed us. We still wallow in the ancient ideas of our grandparents. Society has deemed us obsolete.
It’s okay. Down deep, we always knew we were “different”. It’s just a bit startling to discover at our (very slightly) advanced age that we are “REBELS”!
Our recent REBEL adventure took us all of fifteen minutes from the house to the Tenoroc Public Use Area where, a half-hour before sunrise, we fell in line behind a few fishermen and waited to check in. It always confuses the gate-keeper when we say we’re here to “bird”, as that activity is not on their list (despite the location being touted in the press and on a huge sign AT the entrance declaring this a “Gateway To The Great Florida BIRDING and Wildlife Trail). Sigh. We have modified our response to “hiking” which is immediately understood, we get our pass and off we go. (REBELS chuckling to ourselves that we are actually going “birding”. HA!)
It was an exhilarating morning! A tardy Gray Catbird should have migrated north a couple of weeks ago. Spring has sprung! Nest building and courtship were evident everywhere. Dragons and damsels were active and the morning blooms of Moonflowers decorated the reclaimed mining area.
A weekday morning, up before dawn, excited at seeing a snake on the path and dragonflies mating – we yield to the evidence. We are not — “normal”.
Images to follow. (Surprise! No landscapes, iconic or otherwise.)
A Gray Catbird was a bit of a surprise as most of her group left for the far north several days ago. I guess she wanted one last Brazilian Pepper fruit before the trip.
Moonflowers (Ipomoea alba L.) are also called Tropical White Morning-glory and are night-blooming. We usually see a fair number still blooming in the early morning.
Obligatory American Alligator image.
The Northern Flicker male sports a black moustache while his female partner does not. The second photograph of the female in flight shows why they were formerly called “Yellow-shafted Flicker”.
An Osprey prepared to enjoy a fresh fish breakfast.
The very slender Eastern Ribbon Snake reaches about 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) in length and is not venomous.
One of our more common damselflies is Rambur’s Forktail (Ischnura ramburii). Typical of this family, it can be seen in different color patterns, depending on sex and maturity.
I first spotted this mating pair of Cypress Clubtails (Phanogomphus minutus) while they were flying and getting a picture was a bit of a challenge. (Okay, it wasn’t a challenge. It was impossible.) They decided to land in the middle of the road. I lay down and got dusty, but also got a photo!
There are around 1900 species of Leaf-footed Bug (Family Coreidae) in the world. Almost 100 of them are within the United States. I could guess at this one’s species, but there are several that are similar. Any experts who would care to offer an identification would be welcome!
Darners are among our largest dragonflies but they seem to remain airborne most of the time. This Regal Darner (Coryphaeschna ingens) actually perched for a moment.
We love exploring nature. Whether watching a bird, admiring a flower or getting dizzy chasing a bug, it’s what we enjoy. It is understandable that many listen to us enthusiastically describe a day at the phosphate pits or in the swamp and wander off thinking: “They aren’t normal.”
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!