Our Natural Places

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Header Image: Lake Godwin Moonset “Every day should start this way.” Gini’s simple statement was not only profound but a goal worth striving toward. About an hour earlier, we were on the shore of Lake Godwin, a small freshwater impoundment within the Arbuckle Tract of Lake Wales Ridge State Forest. The moon was descending beyond a line of pine trees. As the sun rose behind us, our surroundings took on a golden… Read More

Header Image: Sandhill Cranes Hoo-H-Hoo-Hoo-Hoo. Hoo-H-Hoo-Hoo-Hoo. Softer than one would expect for a relatively large bird. Distant. Distinct. “Great Horned Owl!”, Gini exclaimed in the darkness. It was now about an hour-and-a-half before sunrise and this was our fourth stop in an attempt to hear nocturnal birds. A bit later, a Barred Owl couple called to each other. The highlight of our pre-dawn foray occurred at a boat ramp. “Whip-whip-whip.” Whoosh! An… Read More

Header Image: Tricolored Heron “Ah-choo!” “Bless you.” 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… Read More

Header Image: Carolina Wren Once again, that mee-tee-oh-rah-low-gist was absolutely correct. Partly cloudy with temperatures about the same as yesterday. I missed my calling. We pulled into the management area just before the sun was scheduled to make an appearance. Thin fog suggested the actual appearance would be somewhat later than Sol had in the day-planner. Atop the welcome sign, a Red-shouldered Hawk scanned the dew-soaked grass for any sign of movement,… Read More

Header Image: Immature White Ibis Why does food taste better in the forest? I mean, a boiled egg is a boiled egg. Eaten at the dining table in comfortably conditioned air and protected from natural elements, it is satisfying. Taking a bite of that same hen fruit under a canopy of pine boughs, surrounded by yellow blooms, purple berries, hammering woodpeckers, yammering jays, brown-eyed deer and with a background of a cacophonous… Read More