Monday January 16 – Wednesday January 18, 2017 Most Recent Posts:
Oscar Scherer State Park Hikes at Hillsborough River
Osprey, Florida Our First Week at Hillsborough River Finally Ends and On A High Note
On Monday before we left Hillsborough River for an uneventful 83 mile trip to Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey Florida David had time to install his new bicycle parts, a rear tail light and a wireless odometer. Both were gifts from Carrie and Matthew. Check out time was 1:00 and since our drive was relatively short, we didn’t want to arrive early and have to sit in the coach waiting for our site.
The park is less than a mile from the barrier beaches of Casey Key but about 6 miles by road so we are hoping for some Gulf waters beach time while we are here..
We arrived in the early afternoon which gave us ample time to set up. The campground has 104 sites and can accomodate large rigs especially in their 6 pull through sites. It’s an older campground but we like its arrangement. All sites are on the outside of the big oval loop. Only the 4 pull throughs and the bath houses are in the center. Thus most sites look out on wooded area. There is nice visual separation between the sites although they are close enough together to hear quite well. But still the illusion of privacy is nice.
Early the next morning, out for a walk around the campground, I look down as I cross the bridge over South Creek to the Nature Center/Club House and see a fishing great blue heron standing in the water. The creek is tidal and we have kayaked it many times. Perhaps again during this visit. Just above the bridge are rocks that create little rapids when the water is low preventing boats from going upstream. IF you can plan to be there within an hour or so of high tide and get back within an hour after, you can paddle on up the creek from the campground. Otherwise, at this point you must turn around and head back toward the gulf.
You can see the Nature Center building straight ahead and “Lake Osprey” is off to the right. More about this pond called lake later.
On my way around the campground looking at the rigs, the sites and the license plates I come across this juvenile hawk calling away.
I find in my informal license plate survey where I assume all those with no front plate are from Florida, that Florida is the most numerous plate followed by Ontario and Ohio.
From there I head out into the scrub where I hear another hawk calling. I don’t think it is the same one that has followed me but I suppose it’s possible.
Later in the morning David tackles replacing the nylon bushings of the front ram cylinder for our largest slide. I get this picture of him under the coach with his bottle jack stacked up on pieces of wood to lift up our large slide so that he can take the old ones out and replace them.
This become the rhythm of our days for our first week here. I’m up early for a hike, we have breakfast and read or work on one task/chore or another and then on lovely afternoons, head to the nearby beach.
One thing I do most mornings is hike the green trail over to check on the eagle nest. This pair has been nesting here for some years and the parts of the trail that go near their nest are closed off from about November when they begin doing nest repairs until after the chicks fledge in April.
They nest in the woods on the edge of the long leaf pine scrub.
Lots of other birds are here as well. An Audubon led hike every Thursday morning finds an amazing number of birds in this habitat. One of the most sought after is the Florida Scrub Jay. But today the Eagle is the main object of my hike.
As I come around a bend in the trail quite a distance from the nest, I can clearly see the white headed adult on a snag in the distance. He or she is apparently not on duty and poses for quite some time.
I watch for quite some time.
And then it’s on around the trail, back for breakfast and some lounge chair reading time.
We also have visits from our neighbors.
The armadillo’s ears make me laugh. So does his “suit of armor”.
At the farm, whenever we found small nose size holes in the ground we knew it was probably a skunk out hunting in the dark. In Florida it’s the armadillo and obviously not necessarily in the dark.
He snuffles on along on his way next door.
I hope they find him as much fun as I do.
Wednesday afternoon is picture perfect. We head for the beach. So do lots of other people. We’ve come to Oscar Scherer several different years over the past 7 and this is the first January that I have ever seen so many people on this beach.
The water and air are warm enough I could probably swim but I didn’t wear my suit. My choice of longish pants and long sleeves has more to do with possible sunburn than with the temperature.
Pretty sweet view for a day in mid January. I greatly prefer this sort of white stuff on the ground.
Warm enough to need the beach umbrella to create some shade for us. High today was 80.
It’s Wednesday and that means the Drum Circle will be drumming down the sun on the beach. Again, this Wednesday the number of spectators is larger for mid week than I’ve ever seen before. The drummers come on Wednesday and Saturday.
Notice the lifeguard stand off to the left behind the circle. Some of my later pictures are taken from up there.
There are a great many drummers but only a few really strong ones.
There also are not as many dancers or hoopers as in years past. Perhaps they are busy and will be here Saturday. I hope we remember to come and see.
The crowd respects the circle and the altar in the middle. The clouds begin to turn color.
I move up to the lifeguard stand.
There is only one other person up here. The view is great.
Just a few minutes before actual sunset, which tonight is at 6:00 exactly, a man with a bugle comes to play taps. He is an excellent player with beautiful vibrotto.
We are treated to a beautiful show of color.
The drummers take a break, the crowd thins out and this man’s Native Flute is a beautiful sound as nature paints the sky behind him.
Like a fire in the sky. Absolutely stunning!!
We aren’t the only crowds enjoying the show.