Thursday, February 12, 2015

Swamp Hikes

We went back to Corkscrew Swamp last Saturday, which I mentioned in  my last posting.  We saw a water moccasin, I took a picture of it which I wanted to post before writing about another swamp.
Water moccasins are semi aquatic, meaning they can be happy lying in swampy water or basking in the sun.  On Tuesday we moved our home to Ocala, Florida.  It is certainly cooler here as we are about 200 miles north of Fort Myers, but I believe most of Florida is currently being affected by a cold front moving through.
Pictured above is one of the trails we took yesterday at Silver Springs State Park.   Here hardwood trees touched each other as they arched over the path.  This park is an interesting mix of swamp as well as a hardwood hammock.  We saw towering live oaks,maples,slash pine and cypress,  as well as sabal palms and saw palmetto.  One of the trails also took us to a rather large sink hole filled with water, a small blue heron squawked angrily and flew overhead as we approached the pond.  The forest had been pretty silent up until this point, but here frogs were croaking and creating a bit of a din.  Is this springtime?  We had seen one blooming redbud.  The cypress still  have no leaves, in another sense it is still winter.
After hiking about 4 miles in the state park, we drove over to Silver Springs Park to look at the springs.  We had been there two years ago, and had taken a glass-bottom boat tour through the swamp.  This time we walked on the path along the water and saw a variety of birds, including the double-breasted cormorant pictured above.  In the trees anhingas were trying to dry their wings, the sun was setting and there was little warmth left to help them accomplish that.  I noticed one anhinga flapping his wings and twisting his body wildly in different directions.  We deduced that it was not a courting dance but an attempt to dry himself out.
As I wrote earlier in this post, we are now parked in Ocala.  Saturday we plan to drive north in our car to visit a sister in Atlanta, and our daughter and her family in Illinois.  At this point I am not sure whether I will be writing on this site during the time we are gone.

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