The Coming and Going Season

Header Image: Mac Lake, Colt Creek State Park

We have a new plan of action. Have food in your hand at all times. Preferably, have the food almost to your mouth throughout the time period you are attempting to locate a subject to photograph when you’re in Nature’s yard. This plan will vastly increase your chances of finding such subjects. Be forewarned, they can sense when you are doing something which will delay you in raising the camera thus allowing them plenty of time to disappear. Bring plenty of food as you will be dropping a lot of it in the mud while adhering to our plan.

The white-tailed deer escaped before the shutter could be released. A pair of Wild Turkey hung around just long enough to stick their tongues out at us as they scooted behind a pine tree never to be seen again. Red-shouldered Hawk perched nicely on a limb? Forget about it. Gone as I was throwing a tangerine slice toward my face.

No matter the plan, success is still a matter of perseverance, timing and that best of all skills – luck.

Gini and I slipped into Colt Creek State Park after exchanging pleasantries with Sunny, the ranger who just happens to also be a photographer. She is always very helpful in directing us to a particular bird sighting, spring flower in bloom or advising of a trail condition we should know about.

It’s an interesting time of year. Spring migration is winding down but there are still stragglers who seem reluctant to leave Florida’s bountiful insect banquet. Resident birds are scurrying about gathering nest building material, singing non-stop to impress a potential mate and scooping up all manner of bugs, seeds and anything else resembling a food item.

Plants are preparing to blossom, insects are present in ever-increasing numbers and animals are preparing to raise a new family in this comfortable environment. Winter is a memory.

A few images of a season in transition.

We were a little surprised to find this Sedge Wren hanging about. Most of its group took a jet (stream) north last week.

A sure sign of Spring, a Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly was one of several we spotted during the morning.

Most of the Greater Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis tabida) who migrated south for the winter have returned to their breeding range in Canada. It is estimated 20-30,000 migrating cranes spend the winter in Florida. We also have a resident sub-species population of the big cranes (Grus canadensis pratensis) numbering around 5,000 which breed within the peninsula. We found a pair, likely resident birds, enjoying the park this morning.

Just as the season is in transition, so is this immature male Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis). Beginning as a copy of the all-green female, he gradually changes to the powder-blue of an adult male.

One of our year-round residents is the White-eyed Vireo. In the Spring, time is divided between constantly singing from the underbrush to impress females and searching for food, such as a delicious Tussock Moth (Orgyia spp.) larva.

Happy Dragon! I think this male Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) is smiling at the spectacle of me trying to hold a sandwich and take his picture at the same time. Perhaps we need to re-think our new plan of action.

Springtime serenade. A Carolina Chickadee is certain to catch the attention of a suitable mate with his enthusiastic singing style.

Reaching for the car door handle, a visitor was waiting for me. This larva of one of the Geometridae moths is often called an “inchworm”.

We can really be certain Spring is in full swing when the woods resound with the trills of the Northern Parula warbler. Those trills seemed to echo from every part of the park this morning!

We are in the process of re-thinking our plan of action as it didn’t seem to work as well as we hoped. Not to mention we can’t afford that much food! Hopefully, your neck of the woods is filled with the coming of nesting birds in the budding trees and the goings of winter visitors who will return to see you again in the autumn.

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

26 Comments on “The Coming and Going Season

  1. Been there, done that plan before – similar result ha. At one time I thought I could get by with putting my lunch on a harmonica holder – the birds just waited until I went for a bite and then popped out and did a Rockettes’ dance before bugging out while I tried to maneuver my camera over the harness. Luckily we are enjoying all the Warblers moving up from the south right now so birding is pretty good. Well done capturing the secretive Sedge Wren and that Parula shot is very nice.


    • I’ve pretty much given up eating unless I’m inside a building.

      Take good care of the little songbirds and send them back in the fall.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to visit and comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wally, It is always such a delight to come by here and savour all these beauties. I love going on these walks with you and Gini even though they are online. Every image lends such a “mood” that is indescribable.
    Love the gorgeous Dragonflies. The smiling one indeed is a treasure.

    If a picture could speak a thousand words, it would be ones that are here, on Our Natural Places. 🙂

    Have a fabulous rest of the week. And thanks for adding a dash of colour to my week with these posts.

    Happy tidings.


  3. Hi Wally and Gini. Thanks for paying me a visit in Greece. We are back home now so while Sue catches up with soaps I am catching up with friends both local and further afield. Give me a day or two and I will give you another trip to Skiathos with a few pictures. Meanwhile I was very interested in your Florida sub species of Sandhill Crane and why they are bigger (by how much) . Maybe they never drop their food or perhaps it’s just living the good life of Florida. Great pics today, the parula, the dasher and of course the white-eyed Vireo.

    I need to drop some of my food. Two weeks of Greek food does little for my expanding waistline, Not to mention the ouzo nightcaps. Kalinikta.


    • Welcome Home! Hope the trip was a good one.

      My poor writing skills may have provided a false impression regarding the cranes. The Florida sub-species is still a Greater Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) and they are similar in size. There is another sub-species, the Lesser Sandhill Crane (G. canadensis canadensis) which is typically a bit smaller than the Greater. The Lesser is usually seen in the Great Plains of central N. America during migration and they breed in Canada.

      Confusing ain’t it?

      Once again, happy you made it home safely.


  4. This happens so often to me but I didn’t know it happened to anyone else! If I get my water bottle out of my pack and lean back to take a drink, I am sure to see something unusual in the trees around me! I love that little Wren and the Monarch butterfly is special. Enjoy your weekend. It’s hot…but then…it’s Florida! I love it!


    • Those critters know when to take advantage of us!

      Had a few drops of rain this evening. Sure need more! (Of course, then I’ll complain it’s too much.)

      In the meantime, out early – in early.


  5. Amusing as this may seem, I found the most evocative of your photos to be the inchworm. It reminded me both of the day I found a herd of them on a boardwalk and learned just how fast they can be. It also brought to mind a poem about an inchworm I found in the past; I need to dig that out. That same day, the Tussock Moth caterpillars were out in force: so much so that it was a little creepy. I say “Huzzah!” for the Vireo.

    I think my favorite photo has to be the green-turning-blue dragonfly. The colors are just wonderful. On the other hand, even though I regularly hear the Chickadees around my place, I’ve never seen one singing; that’s a wonderful capture, too.

    There’s no singing around here this morning. A terrible ruckus made me think ‘something’ was killing ‘something else.’ Nope. I’ve suspected my Starlings were feeding young ones, and today three of those youngsters showed up at the feeder with their parents, demanding to be fed. Loud? Oh, my goodness!


    • If that inchworm had been on a plant instead of my car door I probably would have never seen it.

      I suspect we don’t fully appreciate how many bugs our bird friends take care of each year. Bravo, birds!

      As with many birds, we often hear them singing but seeing them doing it or getting a picture of it is another story.

      Although not “singing for their supper”, the loud Starlings are just as demanding as hungry young ‘uns everywhere! “Feed Me”!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re a great photographer. The great photos you posted are all inspiring and worth viewing. They’re all lovely photos. Just keep going and enjoy. Have a great weekend.


  7. How long did it take you to polish that massive expanse of blue glass featured in that magnificent header image, Wally?

    I had a good chuckle at the thought of that Blue Dasher being amused by your fumblings with your food. I suspect he’s thinking that he could do better – but then he has the advantage of extra limbs.

    As always, your post has brightened my day – even if I do get to it a day late.

    Best wishes to you and Gini – – – Richard


    • No wind in the early morning has been rare lately, but it sure is nice when one is beside a lake.

      I always suspect the bugs, birds and animals are chuckling at the sight of us two-legged creatures crashing around their domain hauling our equipment.

      Hope your day is great!


  8. I’m completely envious of your photo of the Sandhill Crane in flight! That’s a fantastic shot, and I think you must have been quite close? I see that Colt Creek State Park is adjacent to the much, much larger Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve and the Green Swamp WMA. Is that where the resident crane population hang out? Fantastic walk, and great strategy – it worked great this time, so why not repeat 🙂


    • Thanks, Sam.

      You’re right, We had been watching a pair of cranes feeding and one flew right in front of me. The birds don’t frequent the depths of the swamp too much but nest and feed in “edge” areas. The area is dotted with pastures which the cranes prefer for foraging.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Gini and Wally,
    I had to laugh when I read about your dilemma, as I have been in the same situation repeatedly. One can happily move along without needing to activate one’s camera, but as soon as it’s snack time, some beauty will present itself without fail while both hands are filled with food and/or drink. I guess we have to fast during our outings.
    All things considered, you still managed a wonderful array of images. The photo of the smiling (indeed he is) Blue Dasher is priceless. 😀


  10. After your frustration from missing pictures due to food-to-mouth syndrome, perhaps a good plan would be to have a hearty breakfast (or brunch or lunch) before heading out into nature.

    “Inchworm” has a pithier sound to it than “centimeter worm” would have, and certainly more than “two-and-a-half centimeter worm.”


    • Pretty sure I’ll revert to the original plan (from a l-o-n-g time ago). See bird. Take picture. See bug. Take picture. Repeat. Hope to be lucky.


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