Archivos de diario de diciembre 2022

20 de diciembre de 2022

Rainbow Springs

Ah... Rainbow Springs

Perhaps my favorite part of North/Central Florida. You could even say it's my version of William Wise's Okefenokee. The past few years, we've rented a house along the river with our friends from Senoia, Georgia. This post will somewhat act as a photographic journey of the springs.

Encompassing miles of crystal-clear water, the Rainbow River has a lot to offer. From kayaking to boating to hiking, there are countless ways to look for wildlife. First off, you'll find the entire river aligned with magnificent cypress trees. These trees provide shelter for Anhingas, Cormorants, and Barred Owls to name a few.

Wood Ducks can be found all along the river, as conservation efforts have installed nesting boxes to protect the species.
Otters are also a common occurrence, and Rainbow Springs is the only place I've ever been able to see them.

My favorite all-time turtle can be found just beneath the surface. Growing to just around the size of your hand, the Loggerhead Musk Turtle is a precious inhabitant of the springs.

Snakes such as this Banded Watersnake are also a common occurrence.

Alligators are much rarer on the main part of the river. The individuals that live there though are smart. Because the springs can be full of tourists, they only hunt during the early morning and late evening and are hidden the rest of the day. But you can spot them off to the side of the river and on nearby hiking trails if you really try to look for them. The Withlacoochee River, which the Rainbow empties into, is much less crowded and the water is much murkier. This is the best spot to find gators such as these ones:

Endemics-wise, the springs offer quite a few:
The Strap-leaf Sagittaria is endemic to springs in N Florida

The Florida Yellowcress is typically found in hard-to-reach parts of Florida and can be found at the surface of the Rainbow River.

The Springs are a great spot to find birds. Swallow-tailed & Mississippi Kites, Limpkins, Barred Owls, Pied-billed Grebes, and Parulas are some of its residents.

Underwater, looking at fish is usually how I spend most my time.
Redbreast Sunfish

American Gizzard Shad

Longnose Gar

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, please ask!

Publicado el diciembre 20, 2022 07:56 TARDE por gatorhawk gatorhawk | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de diciembre de 2022

What's the Bee doing???

In January 2021, I found myself watching bees pollinate flowers in my yard. Suddenly one of the bees started to flinch while pollinating a flower. I took a closer look at this odd bee, and it stopped moving altogether. It was there that upon inspecting the bee from just inches from my face when..."OH WHAT IN THE WORLD!", I jumped back. I noticed it-- the perpetrator. Upon research, I found it was an Ambush Bug-- a small insect that stabs prey (usually larger than itself) with a proboscis... and its name fitted the bug.

It's now impossible for me to touch a flower without thinking a bug is going to stab me with its proboscis.

Publicado el diciembre 21, 2022 03:29 TARDE por gatorhawk gatorhawk | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Upcoming Trips

Timeline of where I'll be going over the next year:

  • December 27-30 (2022): Camp La-No-Che scout camp function with my troop in Paisley (North/Central) Florida.

  • March (2023): Malawi!-- yes, my first time out of North America (unless Hawaii counts). It's for family business purposes, so I won't be going anywhere too remote and I won't be safari-ing, but I'm still super excited! I will also have some time to spare photographing birds outside windows in Kenya's Nairobi airport and Mozambique's Nampula airport.

  • April 20-29 (2023): Israel! I'm touring Israel with my church and am super super super excited! We will be going to Tel Aviv, Tiberias, Caesarea, Megiddo, Valley of Armageddon, Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Capernaum, Caesarea Philippi, Gideon's Spring, Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Masada, Qumran, and Garden Tomb!

  • May (2023): Annual Rainbow Springs (North/Central Florida) trip with friends from Senoia, GA

  • July 22-Aug 4 (2023): Trekking backpacking) in northern New Mexico near Cimarron at Philmont Scout Ranch. Will be my first time in NM and in any form of wilderness in the Southwest!

  • August (2023): Driving up to stay at Camp of the Woods in Speculator, NY with friends from Durham NC for a week. Then headed to Niagara Falls for a few days before returning home. First time in NY other than a random time I stopped at a Target near NYC.

  • I highly encourage recommendations if you have any!

    Publicado el diciembre 21, 2022 09:31 TARDE por gatorhawk gatorhawk | 8 comentarios | Deja un comentario