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

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A Week-end at Myakka River

Friday January 2 & Saturday January 3, 2015
Myakka River State Park
Sarasota, Florida




The Florida State Parks have rules about how long you can stay in any one park.   Their limits are 2 weeks at a time and 56 days in a 6 month period.   So today we are moving up the road to Myakka River for the week-end in order to spend another two weeks at Oscar Scherer. 

In Florida it’s almost always above freezing as long as you are south of Tampa.  There are only a limited number of state and federal parks south of Tampa so those are really heavily used.  We decided this year to stay a month at Oscar Scherer but we have to go away and come back.   No problem, on Friday we drive up about 15 miles and move into Myakka River State Park just for the week-end. 

Our site is the Palmetto Ridge campground which is the newest of the three in the park and has full hook ups.  We’ve been here before and for this week-end our site is fully paved and right next door to the bath house.  So I take full advantage of our proximity to do two loads of wash.





Myakka is a great place to bike and today we set off down the park road for what turns out to be a 10 mile ride.



The bridge over the river never disappoints.   It’s a beautiful spot that always has wading birds and gators.  I’m going to take a stab at identifying these since I hope Judy will be reading and correct me if I’m wrong.










The dark spot there in the river is the alligator.  It’s just a gorgeous day today in South Florida.  I feel so sorry for Carrie in Maryland where the highs are in the 30’s and it looks to get much colder.









Across on the other side I see a roseate spoonbill and a wood stork hanging out together.



On down the road we pull in to take a look at the river as it flows. Everyone says it is very low as is often the case in winter in Florida so I don’t know if paddling would be possible but it is really a great place to kayak and we’ll be back in a few weeks to see whether we can.   There is one loan fisherman here on the far bank.








We peddle on through the forest to the Myakka River Outpost.




On the way we stop to check out this feral hog pen.  It looks like it is no longer in use.  I sure hope there are other newer versions since the feral hogs are really tearing up the park.





The outpost is in the distance of this picture.  It is a store with lots of souvenirs and limited foods but they include coffee and ice cream.  They also sell tickets for the air boat ride on Upper Myakka Lake and they rent kayaks and canoes.   It’s a beautiful setting.







But we’re not here for the Outpost.  We’ve come to see what birds are at the Weir.  So David locks up the bikes and we hike on down.




The forest here is primeval looking.




When we get there, we find there is a locked gate and signs saying stay off the weir.  They’ve always had the signs which no one paid any attention to.  I later learn that even with the gate people aren’t obeying the law.  I suspect that would change if the sign also included the information that there is a $250 fine for trespassing.

We used to be able to see flocks of wood storks, a few black vultures and some spoonbills.  But now it seems the vultures have taken over the place and there isn’t any one here but them, a few cormorants and one lone roseate spoonbill.  But his pictures are the best of the day I’d say.







What a bill!



Our farthest stop away from Winnona is at the Bird Walk, a long boardwalk out into the shallow Upper Myakka Lake.   By the time we arrive, the volunteer on duty with a scope tells us that less than 1/3 of the birds are still here compared with just an hour or so ago.  We vow to come out for sunrise tomorrow.





We do see this glossy ibis who looks particularly fine fishing among the water plants.





The gators and the heron seem to be ignoring one another.




Not sure if I were the heron I could quite ignore such a open mouth.




A flock of spoonbills are so busy they rarely put their heads up at all.



We peddle back along the lake among the moss draped trees.





In anticipation of lunch we decide to make some microwave chips with sweet potatoes and they turn out fabulously.  If you haven’t seen the post on doing this with regular potatoes, you can find it here.   Actually we do one potato of each to have with a sandwich and fruit for lunch.







Today’s humor.  For dinner tonight David makes pizza.  When I do it, I give the yeast water the finger test and just decide if it’s warm enough.  But then I’m a bread baker.  David on the other hand wants to be precise so he points and shoots his laser temperature gun at the water in the cup to make sure it is exactly between 105 and 117 degrees as the recipe requires.  Too funny since the recipe is flour/yeast/water.  How wrong can you go?   Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the pizza before we devoured it.


It’s life at our house!


  1. As I type this comment, it is 20 degrees here at Huntington Beach;o((( The primeval forest looks fabulous!! Can't wait to get back there for a couple weeks!!! Your Spoonbill photos are fantastic!!!

  2. Great idea using the laser gun to test the water temp. No point in having toys if you don't use them!

  3. I remember being at Myakka back in the late 90's. My Aunt Jean (who lives in nearby Sarasota) & I drove out there one day & took the boat tour. It was the most alligators I have ever seen in my life. If we head to Florida at some point it is Myakka where we might have to stay while visiting Aunt Jean. I'll Google that other Park you mentioned too. Checking the weather this morning we see you Florida folks are having some cold weather. Might have to do some ice breaking with those Kayaks:))

  4. ha ha. . .David and his thermometer are hilarious!

    What a beautiful place you are in. . .wonderful exploring. . .

  5. We had hoped to stay at Myakka, but as you know, we couldn't get reservations last year. I guess for a weekend, you were lucky! I love the looks of this park, the birds, the bike trail, all of it. Someday...and by the way...no link for the microwave potato chips! I need that?@@

    1. The previous posts that I guess you didn't see that talked about the chips were these two http://directionofourdreams.blogspot.com/2014/11/a-low-key-thanksgiving-day.html and http://directionofourdreams.blogspot.com/2014/12/wrapping-up-our-holiday-fun.html. Sorry I can't make them into links in this comment. If there is a way to do that, someone let me know. With my luck with blogger, I don't want to try to repost this with the link in the body of the post.

  6. I haven't seen a rosette in a few years. I guess we need to make a day trip to Myakka. Your pictures were great.

    Maybe that's my problem with pizza dough. I just run hot water...but then that's all mom ever did and her pizza crust was always fabulous.

    We still have't made the potato chips...maybe today with out home made soup!

  7. George uses his laser pointer for everything, lol. Love your bird pictures, Florida has such fantastic birds.

  8. I think coffee and ice cream are the perfect standard for a good outpost :-) Lovely how the very different spoonbill is accepted among the vultures (although they could be talking smack under their breath....) - love the lessons of nature. That forest is surreal. I don't know why the group of "headless" spoonbills makes me laugh...do they think the gators can't see them?....are they taking bets on how long the egret lasts?.... Thanks for including them :-) If those chips tasted as good as they look they were awesome! Dad always said "The right tool for the job makes all the difference." He would definitely approve of David's methods :-)))

  9. Love the pictures of the duckbills - pretty birds. Echo need for link for making microwave potato chips - sounds like fun. Your temperatures certainly beat ours - 2 degrees this morning. Always loved the Spanish moss but it can be eerie looking at times

  10. What a pretty place. It was 14 degrees here last night when we got home from the basketball game...... I wonder if the other birds make fun of the spoonbills. They look prehistoric except for their color. Do they have to eat certain crustaceans to be pink like flamingos do? Looks like you had a great day.

  11. We always make a trip to Myakka with our bike group when we stay in Cortez. On our first trip a few years ago the trees along the river were full of spoonbills. The pink spots all over where just gorgeous. Last winter we hiked down a side rode that the tour tram goes to find a mother gator and five babies, as well as, a young gator with bright yellow strips. I was just thrilled! It is a nice place to find lots of gators and birds:) Sounds like your trip was very success!

  12. Great Photos, Sherry. Thanks for the bike tour.

  13. Those forests really do look primeval with all the mosses hanging down. I'll bet it's a quiet place. Seeing all those birds is marvelous. I'll bet those alligators are too full to eat any more being it can take weeks between meals. Love David's ingenuity.

  14. You did pretty good with the bird IDs, but you know I'm compelled to offer a few corrections. :) You nailed the juvenile little blue heron. However, the other two little blues you identified are really tri-colored herons. They used to be called Louisiana herons. And I'm sure it was just a typo that labeled that Great Blue Heron as an egret with the alligators. Sometimes our fingers don't type what our brains know...

    1. Thank you Judy. I've fixed these in the post thanks to you. I thought they might be tricolored. I should have gone with my first impression from the neck. You are right that the heron thing was totally a brain failure. I was just going too fast.

  15. Loved the biking! We didn't see any of the spoonbills while we were there. Lunch also looked good!

  16. Wonderful bird photos -- I especially love the spoonbills! I think our favorite part of Myakka is the Bird Walk. It's so lovely at sunset, as long as the mosquitoes don't try to carry you away. Those sweet potato chips look delicious -- I'd love to have some right now! Will you make some for us next winter in the Keys? :-)

  17. Wonder why the roseate spoonbill developed the unusual beak. It is a beautiful bird. I also have to laugh at David's precision in getting the absolute perfect temperature. I measure some things, but mostly just know. When we were making tamales my daughter was measuring out a tsp of salt - I told her to pour it into her hand and see how it looks - I never use a measuring spoon for salt - just my hand!

  18. The shot of the egret and gators in such close proximity stands out- though I understand gators actually eat on rare occasions.

  19. Another use for the temp gun:) I use mine mostly for tire temps and the fridge.

  20. Life at your house is fun!! That measurement trick is so Dad :) I would have laughed with you; I'm laughing now :) Myakka is great for birds! Too many vultures, but you did see a few of my favorites, the Roseatte Spoonbills. They like Myakka too! 10 miles sounds like a reasonable ride-definitely shorter than 24 ;)

  21. Sherry, we have seen a lot more Vultures this year than the past few years....don't know what is up with that. We still see Bold Eagles and Osprey in the same numbers, but this 30-40% increase in Vultures is very noticeable. --Dave (GoingRvWay.com)

  22. Boy, I loved this post but then I love birds and long to see the roseate spoonbill. A bird walk sounds perfect. We won't tell that heron that the gator was drooling!! I just might have to try those chips... look yummy!

  23. I, too, love the roseate spoonbill. I love a flamingo (live or plastic!), and these beautiful birds make me think of them. Who can resist a pink bird? I so enjoyed talking to David today. I owe Marty for that treat. Marty hardly got to say a thing. Hope that your day went well. Take care and stay warm.

  24. Your bird pictures are just beautiful! And that alligator looks pretty hungry!!

  25. Your knowledge of birds is growing! And your photography is to be envied.

  26. So that is where the spoon bills are! We have not seen any around here in months. Great shots.

  27. Really great post! Great skies, fabulous spoonbill pictures, crispy, healthy potato chips & so much more. Another great day in paradise. ;)


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