Blissful Bucolic Balm
Header Image: Tricolored Heron
Gini and I sneezed our way through the first two weeks of December. Intense testing, analyses and expert medical opinions told the sad tale. “Y’all got a cold.”
We are seldom sick and one of us, which we shall not name, acts like a big baby when he has the sniffles. Gini is a kitchen magician and she waved her wand over a huge pot and “poof“, soup with curative powers flowed for days. Sleep was elusive at first, but bodies have a way of shutting down when required and, eventually, we both were able to take a 72-hour nap.
Following a regimen of soup and sleep had us feeling much better but not “well”. What to do? (You already know the answer.)
One of our local patches is exactly 2.4 miles (3.9 km) from our front door. The Bridgewater Tract of Tenoroc Fish Management Area consists of several lakes, upland pine woods, stands of hardwood (oak, hickory, elm, bay), fields of sedge and other grasses and small wetland areas. An improved dirt/crushed shell road winds its way through the area and we usually stop at each of the boat ramps which provide fair views of the lakes. Several parking spots exist at trailheads and one could easily spend a couple of days wandering the area.
It was a Florida winter day. A hint of coolness in the early morning air gave way to warmth by mid-morning. No clouds interfered with the golden rays of the sun we knew would assist in the healing process. The incessant screams of a Red-shouldered Hawk greeted us at the entrance gate, letting the natural world know that intruders were here! Among the soft pine needles below the neighborhood watch hawk we were treated to roving gangs of Palm and Pine Warblers, a Blue-headed Vireo, diminutive Downy Woodpeckers and chattering Red-bellied Woodpeckers.
The lakes were centers of activity for clucking Common Gallinules, dancing Tricolored Herons, shy Pied-billed Grebes and nervous Wood Ducks. Huge Brown Pelicans roused from their shoreline roosts and crashed into the water’s surface scooping up pouchfuls of small fish. Not having a convenient pouch, Osprey also crashed into the water, but used their substantial talons to snatch a bit larger fish for breakfast.
Winter. Florida. In addition to a wonderful diversity of birds, we found blooming flowers, dragonflies and even butterflies. No wonder we love it here.
As we headed for the exit, we sighed together with one deep breath. Sunshine. Birds. Butterflies. A warm breeze rustling pine and palm trees. None of this may have actually helped “heal” our ailments. But it didn’t hurt.
First impression said it was a pretty blue flower. Then it flew away. Then we found a half-dozen more. Small and fluttering, the Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) can certainly brighten a day! We seldom see them with open wings.
Pecking, probing, constantly on the move. A little male Downy Woodpecker is handsome with his sleek black and white suit and red nape.
In our area, we see House Finches at our feeder infrequently and even less often in the “wild”. Today we were surprised by three females and one male feeding near a boat ramp. Male House Finches’ head color can vary from nearly red to orange to yellow. The more carotenoids in their diet, the more red in their plumage.
A curious female Northern Cardinal wasn’t sure if were a threat or not. We didn’t move for awhile and she continued feeding.
Masses of bright yellow flowers decorating the banks of lakes and scattered across wetlands at this time of year make us thankful for the Bur-marigold (Bidens laevis). Walking through these plants makes us less thankful as the “beggar-ticks” can be a pain to scrape off pants and socks.
We were entertained for a bit by a pair of Tricolored Herons. They performed an intricate ballet of sorts as they danced across the water, spread their wings, pirouetted and stabbed under lily pads for a snack.
Movement nearby revealed a Black-and-White Warbler scurrying down a tree trunk imitating a Nuthatch. I was only able to snap one quick image before the small beauty disappeared.
The constant calling from a nearby branch alerted us that a Blue-headed Vireo wanted her picture taken, please. Happy to oblige.
Venturing outdoors for the first time in a couple of weeks did not heal us. It DID help us feel better. Our spirits were lighter and there is no medicine which can accomplish that.
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit.
THANK YOU ALL FOR VISITING WITH US AND HELPING US CELEBRATE THE NATURAL WORLD. WE APPRECIATE IT.
M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S !!