Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Exciting Wildlife Encounter at Oscar Scherer

February 2-6, 2017                                                                      Most Recent Posts:
Oscar Scherer State Park                                                            Birding and More at Oscar Scherer State Park
Osprey, Florida                                                                              From 26 to 82 Degrees in Florida?




IMG_0327

During our last week at Oscar Scherer we were still enjoying our wonderful site.  We had several birds visit our feeder and they were fun to watch.  The squirrels never gave up hope that they could climb the pole and were always there on the ground when the blue jay threw the bird seed in every direction. 




We mostly had catbirds, cardinals, tufted titmice and blue jays coming around.

IMG_0185

IMG_0159










IMG_0163 I can just imagine how mad he was that he couldn’t jump from that branch over to the feeder.

IMG_0181

At times we had several birds all waiting in various spots for a chance at the songbird feeder.  The long white bag hanging below the squirrel and the female cardinal is a thistle feeder but no one showed up for it.   In addition to the cardinal, there are two tufted titmice in this picture.  Do you see them?


IMG_0195


Finally a day or two before we left, the greedy blue jays had emptied the feeder and we took it down rather than refill it.

IMG_0183


Not only do they fling the seed out with their beaks but they tip the feeder to the side and spill the seed out.

IMG_0204



Again this week, I went out every morning on the Green Trail where there were always birds to spot.  Not one day went by when I didn’t see the Bald Eagles and others too fast to catch in photographs.  I very often saw the Scrub Jays whose pictures I featured in my previous post along with the juveinle eagles.  The link to it is in blue above.


IMG_0083



IMG_0093




If you look closely on this map, you can see the campground road on the lower, south, side of the river.  The green trail begins there and shortly there is a brown trail/service road that comes into it from the right.  It isn’t on this map but it nearly parallels the back of the campground.

On our last Friday, I had just started out on the green trail and out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving down that trail off to my right.  I was surprised to see it was a cat.  They aren’t common outside in campgrounds like dogs are. And then I jumped to my senses and realized that this was a very BIG cat.  He stopped for a second less than 5 feet from me.  I stood perfectly still.  He must have decided I was OK as he came on up the trail toward me, rounded the corner, turned his back to me, trotted in front of me and went loping ahead in the direction I had planned to go.  I quickly put my camera up after I recovered from my shock.  The pictures aren’t great but here they are.   What a THRILL!!  


IMG_0134


What a set of paws.  I’m very proud of myself that I didn’t break my ankle as a result of my excitment in seeing this cat as I did in 2001 when I encountered one while hiking the Appalachian Trail  in Virginia.

IMG_0135



We finally had some really beautiful weather this week and we spent an afternoon at Nokomis Beach.   This is my idea of where to be in the winter.


IMG_0003


How about the beach bum in his blue sunglasses and safari hat?

IMG_0166



A group of skimmers moving in with the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico behind them.


IMG_0170


IMG_0171


On our way back to the car we watched a large cruiser go through the raised drawbridge on the road we take to and from the beach.



IMG_0178





As you can see, Oscar Scherer has a number of hiking trails.  They are color coded.  Green is the one I most often hike.  It is closest to the campground.  On this day we set out from the campground, went across the bridge, beyond Osprey “Lake” (boy what a stretch) and over to do a piece of the red trail.  We were looking for another scrub jay family on our way to what is known as Big Lake which is off of the yellow trail on the far right.  More on that later.

Although we didn’t find any of the Scrub Jays, we did come across an unexpected body of water that isn’t on the map.   Unexpected discovery is great fun.


IMG_0332


Don’t think this was a new discovery for him.

IMG_0336


It’s a beautiful blue sky day.  We’re walking down a sandy trail and out of the corner of my eye, right on the edge of the trail . . .

IMG_0340


I see this.  Do you see it hanging there?

IMG_0341


I stopped to look and take some pictures and he scrambled further up.  You can see his head really well camouflaged.

IMG_0342


He’s the Rough Green Snake.  Very handsome.

IMG_0346


Just FYI, surprised me but clearly in Florida, they hike in dresses.  Wonder where he told her they were going.

IMG_0347


We crossedthe Legacy Bike Trail running between Sarasota and Venice..  This is not it.  It is paved.  This is the yellow trail on the way to Big Lake where we expect to see more water birds.

IMG_0350


We cross the South Creek further north of the park.  Looks beautiful.  Later on we find that we can no longer access this area of the creek from the park in the kayak because of the hurricane damage this past fall.

IMG_0351


Tracks along the creek.  One of them is racoon.

IMG_0337


IMG_0352


When we get to Big Lake we are dumbfounded to find huge earth moving vehicles and piles of sand.  No one mentioned this in any information in the park.  What ARE they doing?

IMG_0359


We walk down to the elevated platform to see if we can figure out what’s going on in our state park.

IMG_0369


Sort of looks like they are making a little island out in the middle.

IMG_0361


IMG_0362


The birds don’t seem to mind.  Of course there is no machine activity this late in the day.

IMG_0363


We walk on down the trail on our way back determined to ask at the Nature Center about what’s going on here.


IMG_0367


We spot another large machine tearing up the ground on this side.  I’m concerned about the invasion of exotic species like the Brazilian Pepper on all of this disturbed ground.

IMG_0368



W’e find an illegal short cut from the yellow trail up to the Legacy Trail which shortens our trip back in the sun.



IMG_0374


Bicyclists pass us on the Legacy Trail.  This is the first time we’ve been to Oscar Scherer and not ridden on it across Route 41 and down to the beach.  David is having some balance issues and we think it’s not safe just now for him to be on a bicycle.


IMG_0378


On the final leg of our hike we pass Osprey Lake.   It’s just outside the nature center and to call it a “lake” is a joke.

IMG_0380


But it suits this tri-colored heron just fine.

IMG_0383


We stop at the nature center and are told that Big Lake is a borrow pit created when they built the road to I-75.  As it’s not a natural lake, it fills in.  They are taking this opportunity to dig it out and create an island in the center for a rookery.  Should be interesting.  Sure is a mess now.


IMG_0394



These two weeks have gone by rapidly and we’ve only had time to get out on the creek for a paddle this one time.

The beginning of this paddle is simply hilarious as David tries to use their “easy” entry bar to just slide right in to his kayak.  You grab the bar where he has his hand, sit into your kayak and away you go.

 

IMG_0399


Not as easy as it looked.  The kayak seems to be getting away.

IMG_0400


IMG_0401


I don’t think this is how it’s supposed to work.

IMG_0402


Shoe is off but he’s pulled the kayak back and eventually gets himself and his paddle inside.  Don’t know how I got these pictures I was laughing so hard.   Well done David!!

IMG_0403


The creek is wide at points but narrows as it goes up toward the campground


IMG_0409


We pass by some sites that are directly on the water.


IMG_0411


A couple of mallards are along the bank.


IMG_0412




IMG_0414



We pass under the auto bridge that goes into the campground.  It’s pretty narrow for a big rig.  One lane.  If someone is coming in.  The person wanting to leave has to wait.


IMG_0422



IMG_0420


The creek narrows further as we approach the walking bridge from the north end of the campground to the Nature Center and “Lake” Osprey.

IMG_0006


Though there are rocks that create rapids just beyond the bridge, in past years, at high tide, we’ve been able to go on under the bridge and up into the other end of the creek which we saw on the Yellow Trail.   But today I’m turning around.

IMG_0017


The water is deep enough but just beyond it, a large tree blocks the passage.  Probably hurricane related.  This particular area around the bridge is often the fishing spot for a lovely green heron.  I don’t see him from the kayak today.

IMG_0426


But I did see him from the bridge earlier in the week.



He’s spectacular.




Heading back into the wonderland.

IMG_0024


We pass a fishing yellow crowned night heron.  He doesn’t seem to care at all about us.


IMG_0435





Even though it’s been a couple of hours, the mallards are still in the same area we saw them before.



The Live Oak Trees reflect beautifully in the dark water of the creek.




IMG_0446


We know we’ve reached the park boundary and are almost to the inland waterway when we see the houses appearing before us.   Wonder what the hurricane was like for them.

It’s sure been a great afternoon on the water for us.

IMG_0454



On our last Saturday night, we went down to see the drumming down of the sun again.  We never did get there on either of our Wednesdays at Oscar Scherer.  It’s a smaller more intimate gathering on Wednesday and I’m sorry we missed it.  But the drummers and others are great any time.


IMG_0223


IMG_0226


A couple of women who know how to shake those jingle hips.

IMG_0227


Not sure who their long haired friend ws but that’s some outfit he’s wearing.

IMG_0234


Every kind of drum, every kind of drummer.

IMG_0230


IMG_0232



IMG_0013


My personal favorite drum.

IMG_0014



The birds were gathering all along the shore as the sun continued down.


IMG_0239


IMG_0241


All  kinds of dancers, all kinds of costumes.  We thought this one was the most “unique”.

IMG_0244


We gave our best dancer award to this beautiful young woman.

IMG_0250


These aren’t just any hula hoops as you’ll see.

IMG_0254


Dancers of all ages with smiles on their faces.

IMG_0258



The sun’s power could only push the dark clouds aside in a small area.  But still its orange ray came across the water and up onto the shore.


IMG_0278


The drumming intensified as the sun appeared to sink into the water and the clouds to close the door behind it.

IMG_0287


At this point, the cheering and clapping begins and continues until the ball of fire can no longer be seen.

IMG_0295


But the party goes on and the colored lights come out.  Remember those hoops?



IMG_0040


A cape of lights.  I absolutely love this.  So did David apparently.  These are his pictures.

IMG_0047


IMG_0054


IMG_0056



IMG_0313


Our stay at Oscar Scherer is over and it’s clear why we keep returning here.  We were headed to Koreshan State Historic Site when a change in plans came up.   More on that next post.


IMG_0314

26 comments:

  1. Love the green heron pic and Mr Kitty. Great festival shots also. Enjoyed your post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You captured some great wildlife photos, but the shots of David trying to get into the kayak are the wildest! Too funny.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A Florida panther!!??? Aren't they endangered? So close wow and wow again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a panther. They are much bigger and VERY RARE and ENDANGERED. I could not dream of seeing one in the wild. As I said, this is a bobcat. Still very cool.

      Delete
  4. Ooh, I’ve never seen a bobcat...beautiful! And lucky you! And the rough green snake is one of my favorites (they’re all my favorites, but I love the vivid color!). They get in the branches of trees and bushes and sway, imitating a leaf swaying in the wind. Better to catch prey that way. Such smart creatures.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As always just almost as good as being there. Hope your having fun. Can't wait till we move near the water, maybe in April.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That bobcat encounter was awesome!! I guess he felt no threat....thank goodness!!! But how cool was that!!
    Love the drumming down of the sun!! What a treat!!
    Your hike and pictures are fantastic as well as the kayak trip down the river!! Love that bald eagle!

    ReplyDelete
  7. How big do bobcats get? Do you think this was an adult? Beautiful cat. Pictures of David getting into Kayak are great. That'd be me too. Pictures of the dancers on the beach were great - especially the ones in the dark. You take some great photo's

    ReplyDelete
  8. How amazing that you not only saw, but photographed the bobcat! I'm always wishing for a bobcat sighting when we're hiking. We've seen them, but never been lucky enough to get a photo. David was quite the acrobat getting into his kayak, LOL. We've used those types of kayak launches and they're not as easy as one would think. The beach sunset drumming and dance celebrations look magical! Very cool cape of lights.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love the bird pictures- especially the eagle. I like the blue jay photos showing them tipping over the feeder. People think of them as nuisance birds but I have always liked them. The snake was pretty. Best of all, the bobcat! Those are fantastic pictures and how cool to see such a beautiful creature! I laughed at David getting into the kayak too. I once fell in the sound from the dock when we were going paddling. Ooops. The drumming and dancing looked like fun. xxxooo

      Delete
  10. What a wealth of wildlife! The bobcat is quite a surprise. I've never seen one, but I have seen lynx a couple of times.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great siting of the bobcat, maybe we'll see one some day. Great costumes at the dance circle.

    ReplyDelete
  12. WOW...great photos and encounter with the Bobcat!!! Also love the encounter with the easy kayak launch...way to go David;o))

    ReplyDelete
  13. That bobcat sighting...so cool! :) Great pictures - handsome green snake and magestic eagle. That kayak launch does not,in fact, look easy, but definitely looks hilarious!! Beautiful lights and interesting people at the sunset celebration.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Looks like all kinds of fun:) Great "cat" pictures:)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great wildlife photos!! That cat was spectacular! Wow! I don't know how you managed to get all those photos of David getting into the kayak. You must have been laughing so hard. Glad he made it without injury:) Easy it is NOT!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, what a neat encounter with the bobcat. I wouldn't be surprised to see pictures of lions and tigers and bears on one of your hikes, the exotic animals seem to flock to you. ;c)

    ReplyDelete
  17. So many beautiful things in this post. I love this park and have only seen it through your eyes. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. A bobcat encounter, that would be exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow, eagle, bobcat, snake! You got some great sightings there :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. OMWow!!! A bobcat, so close. How extremely exciting. I would have been too much in shock to get a photo. BTW, I hike in skirts. Your bird photos are spectacular. The drumming and night dancing with lights really looks fun.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have the same feeling when I saw a bobcat crossed my path in Tucson, frozen then excitement. I just want you to know that I snagged campsites at your fave state park, Gamble Rogers and Sebastian Inlet this December. Hope you will be there at that time!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a gift to cross paths with that beautiful cat!! Beautiful pic of the skimmers across the sparkles. Can't believe you saw that gorgeous snake in all that green. David obviously has good body strength to avoid ending up in the water during that launch! That big oak is magical. I have never seen a lighted cape and think we all really need one of those!! Quite the gathering of drummers and dancers, thanks for sharing the variety of both.

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a great bunch of birds you got & a rare encounter with a bobcat! It really is a fun park to visit with the trails, Legacy Bike trail and beach all near at hand. Glad I made you laugh at my unique kayak launch! ;)

    ReplyDelete

Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!