Bright (Bright) Sunshiny Day*
(Note: We’re changing to a somewhat more stable header image which will probably be some sort of generic Florida habitat display.)
We love exploring new places. The excitement of finding something different. Anticipating new birds, blooms and bugs. The unknown – what’s around the next bend?
Today is not like that. Today is relaxing with a good friend as she and I talk about our grandson’s recent visit, our son’s European trip, plans for Thanksgiving with our daughter’s family and casually observe the passing scene. The comfort of familiar surroundings.
We were greeted at the entrance to the park by a White-tailed Deer and her fawn. The Red-shouldered Hawk was at his normal station mid-way up the pine tree. Calling White-eyed Vireos have now been joined by fall visitors such as House Wrens and Gray Catbirds, creating a cacophonous chorus of welcoming voices. Fall flowers such as morning-glory, blazing star and butterfly pea dotted the landscape around us. Water birds patiently fished around the lakes, newly hatched butterflies probed for nectar, young alligators soaked up the warm rays of the sun.
“Our” breakfast spot under the aromatic pine boughs was almost quiet. Cicadas are still calling even though most species to the north are quiet during the fall and winter months. We find that sort of “background music” quite pleasant.
Although the morning spent in a regular haunt is calming, we still had those moments of involuntary exclamation and pointing as nature typically has a few surprises up her sleeve. An uncommon Red-headed Woodpecker, the first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the fall, hairy caterpillars in a forest of fennel, the sudden clattering of a Belted Kingfisher unhappy that we intruded into her fishing territory.
We did not see any new exotic sights, nor did we discover any different species of life. Our morning was relatively subdued, spent in familiar surroundings while visiting with a few friends – and each other.
A fall migrant, this female Belted Kingfisher objected noisily to our presence. We usually have several kingfishers remain in our area throughout the winter.
A doe. A deer. A female deer. With a young fawn behind her. The fawn is nearly as large as mama.
In North America, the Red-headed Woodpecker population has declined over 50% since 1900. Likely causes are loss of nut trees due to disease and over-harvesting. Additionally, landowners have aggressively cleared dead and dying trees and snags which are primary nesting sites for this species. In Florida, declination is around 25% for the same time period with some populations holding their own in the past two decades. Fingers crossed for the future. Poor photographs but I was happy to see one at all!
The Barred Yellow (Eurema daira) goes through seasonal color changes. Very light during spring and summer and turning darker during late fall and winter.
A Great Egret scratches an itch in the early morning light. With those nails it needs to be careful! A bit later, it’s time for a fish brunch.
In the pine forest, purple seems to be an abundant fall color. We found several vines of Spurred Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum) winding around whatever support it could find.
Northern Parula warblers breed in our area and become scarce during the winter months. Some will spend the winter in the southern part of Florida while others travel on to South America.
Tievine (Ipomoea cordatotriloba) is a member of the morning-glory family. It has fairly large flowers and can spread quite some distance if it can find supporting structure. The leaves can be sword-shaped or heart-shaped. In the second image, we found a dead-looking tree which the Tievine had made its own. The tree was over 20 feet tall.
A group of immature White Ibises passed overhead.
Appropriate for Florida with a combination of citrus and sunshine orange, the Gulf Fritillary (Dione incarnata) is a common butterfly for the area. Uncommonly beautiful.
More purple. Gayfeather, blazing star. There are 17 species of Liatris in Florida. This is one of them. No matter what you call it, we think it’s gorgeous!
In a field of Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), we found a number of caterpillars hungrily munching away. They appeared to all be the larvae of Salt Marsh Moth (Estigmene acrea). These caterpillars vary greatly in appearance depending on instar (developmental) stage. Similar to “wooly bears” but different family.
If events in our lives tend to become overwhelming, having a comforting familiar oasis in which to spend a morning can help us see more clearly. The batteries of our souls are recharged. A small change in perspective can yield large rewards.
As Johnny Nash sings it:
“It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothing but blue skies.”
Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!
Thank you for sharing another one of your bright, sunshiny days. And for the earworm (am humming alongside Julie Andrews 😊).
Sunshiny days inspire humming.
Tanja, thanks for taking the time to visit with us and leave such nice comments. We really appreciate it.
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Thank you for sharing your natural beauty and variety with the rest of us!
That’s a fine autumny panoramic header you have there. Nice warm light accenting the fading color. I suspected, correctly, what the asterisk was going to offer.
You and Gini sure do see a lot on your walks. I envy the number and beauty of the many species you come across. My walks here are not as productive but I am sure some of that is due to my tunnelvision and the amount of time I spend with any one subject. It’s always a real treat to virtually tag along with you.
Thank you, Steve.
We truly are like the “kids in the candy store” when we go exploring.
I’ve discovered that when I head down a path with just a macro lens, my pace slows, my gaze shifts from mostly straight ahead and up to mostly downward near my feet. I spend time turning over the leaves of a plant and moving logs and rocks.
Different perspectives. All fabulous!
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Great set of images here – especially like the frozen kingfisher and the highly detailed walking fuzzies. A great way to relax and collect your thoughts.
We’re blessed with plenty of opportunities to record nature. Keep hoping to improve the quality of those attempts.
The problem is not collecting my thoughts,. At my age, it’s remembering where I put ’em!
Hi Wally: I have no idea why, but I stopped receiving notification of your posts, and when I tried to sign into your blog was prevented from doing so. I just connected via Richard Pegler’s bog, and have re-signed into the follower’s list, so fingers crossed that all is resolved. Your new header is spectacular in my opinion. Red-headed Woodpecker is not doing well here either, and there are only a few spots in the south of the province where it occurs. I will have to check whether it takes readily to nest boxes and perhaps sponsor a couple. Best wishes from sunny Ontario – David
It is all my fault! I made system changes which have resulted in a bit of a mess trying to comment on blogger/blogspot sites. Trying to work it out.
David, thank you for making the effort to reach us! I’ve been unable to comment on your site for weeks.
The Red-headed Woodpecker is reported to be very picky about nesting sites. Would be very interested if you have any luck with nest boxes. None of the wildlife biologists here have been successful.
Hope this reply reaches you. Will update on troubleshooting as soon as possible.
All the best.
I confess to being a little disappointed that you’re intending to stop changing you header image with each post, Wally, as your fabulous headers have been a source of delight for me. However, if you’re going to stick with one image for a while, the current one is a fine choice!
What a wonderful place to relax and socialise with friends. I’m not sure which of your sightings would have excited me most, with the woodpecker (I can never resist a good woodpecker!), the kingfisher, and that fritillary all vying for poll position.
The flower of that Spurred Butterfly Pea had me checking the scientific name to see if the person that named it saw what I saw.
All is good here. I hope that you both have a great week ahead of you. Best wishes – – – Richard
Thank you, Richard, for continuing to be so gracious in your remarks.
That area is another one of our “go to” spots which always delights and always relaxes.
Don’t worry about the header images. Anything I might use as a banner picture will be included in the text of a current post. The change is due to a technical anomaly of which I was not aware and am working to resolve.
We’re experiencing a cold front today with waves of mist and gusts of cool air. Gini’s chili con carne is the cure for a day such as this!
Loved the pairing of your photos and the song lyrics. You’ve certainly brought happiness to your corner of the web, and the world. Thank you!
There’s never enough happiness or sunshiny days to go around!
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That’s a beautiful header photo you’ve added. It looks far more inviting and cozy than what we had today: temps in the 40s, driving rain, north wind, spume driven off substantial Gulf waves. Winter! Given the conditions, we humans chose an island restaurant rather than island exploration, and warmed up with gumbo.
That tree decorated with tievine is amazing. I’ve never seen such a thing — what a Christmas tree that would make! It was fun seeing your caterpillars, too. The Salt Marsh Moth cats have been everywhere this year; it took me a while to figure out that I was seeing the same species despite the color variations.
In the first photo of the Great Egret, is it perched on Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.)? We have quite a bit of that invasive shrub/tree around here but I’d never thought of it being in Florida.
I smiled at your choice of song. I used that same song to celebrate the coming out of the sun after Hurricane Harvey; with our currently nasty weather, it pleases me to think of you, Gini, and your friends enjoying that bright, sunshiny day.
Gumbo sounds good no matter the temperature!
We thought we had stumbled upon some new species of purple-flowering tree! Pretty amazing display.
The egret’s perch is an Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana). Every time he scratched; the whole little tree swayed.
Yeah, that song is a nice mood-enhancing tune.
Keep the chilly temps, send the gumbo!
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Hi. Let me know if Wally Junior is heading our way and we shall ensure we give him an appropriate British welcome.
It’s good to find new places to visit but even if the finding were exotic, as least you are not two stick-in-the-muds (see my latest post for mud).
All these tidy minds clearing trees, shrubs and goodness knows what are a danger here too. We have lots of them in our local authorities who maintain parks, walkways and suchlike and leave devastation in their wake. They learn it from books and their training in using power tools recently bestowed upon them by their equally useless bosses. They know not what they do and it is very hard to explain to them the error of their ways.
I’m off to the kitchen to make us a delicious and fragrant curry for tonight. Don’t come near for a day or two. It’s hard to get rid of the aromas.
Number one son was on the continent last week. Had he known there was a friendlier atmosphere just across the channel he would have been on your doorstep.
We may not be stick-in-the-muds, but we have been stuck in the mud. Often.
Tidy minds are the bane of civilization.
I can almost smell the curry from here. Tonight for us is chili. Spicy!
Nature is so many things. Solace. Heartbalm. Awe. Wonder and delight.
I sooooo hope that we learn to look after her.
We think about all the other things we could be doing — nope, nothing better comes to mind.
Thank you for visiting with us EC.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful wildlife. The woodpecker is stunning and my favourite in this post. 👍
That is definitely my favorite woodpecker! Have a great weekend!
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Thanks. I wish the same to you!