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

Henry David Thoreau

The Resident Red Shouldered and Panther Territory

Wednesday February 18-Thursday February 19, 2015
Collier Seminole State Park
Naples, Florida


Note:  I had written two posts about our days this past week.   I mistakenly posted the most recent before this one (dreams of getting caught up).  So now they are out of order. No biggie probably to anyone but me.  Anyway, if you read about the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, you read about Friday.  This post is about the two days  before that.  Confused yet? 




It rained all night last night and this morning.


We stay inside where David cooks breakfast and does the clean up to encourage me to read aloud Colin Campbell’s latest book entitled Whole.  It’s an eye opening expose on our government and medical establishments as regards our health and what they’ve told us is “good for us”.



When the rain stops we take another hike around the Royal Palm Hammock trail.  If you missed the first one it was in yesterday’s post which you can find by clicking “older” at the bottom of this page.

I’m assuming that some of the palms with missing tops lost them in Hurricane Charley 2004 which did a great deal of damage nearly destroying the tall Royal Palms.  But clearly some woodpeckers have been putting these topless trees to good use.  Nature is a cradle to cradle system making use of absolutely everything.  We would do well to emulate.






Back at the slough overlook things are happening.  Lots of them are obviously on the ground but what I can see from this spot is primarily in the air.   Most of it is white great and snowy egrets as well as great and little blue herons.








I can’t resist adding more pictures of these gorgeous royal palms and their decorative trunks, home to epiphytes and lichens of all types and colors.  I want to be reminded of how much I enjoy them.




Now can you see the rings on the trunk as it gets near the royal green Judy?


Back at the ranch what has turned out to possibly be our resident red shouldered hawk flies in and lands on the site post opposite us.  Amazing that he isn’t bothered by all this activity and so many vehicles.   He’s so strikingly handsome.








Today we drive over to hike the 3.5 mile hike.  It’s about a mile and a quarter walk over but the ranger recommends we not walk on Route 41 although after we’ve driven I think we could have.

Here in far southwest Florida we are in Panther territory.  I am thrilled to see this map which shows breeding and roaming territories in Florida although I know there are only 80 to 100 panthers remaining in the wild.  They are one of the most rare and endangered mammals on Earth.  Too many are hit on roads where people should be driving slower.  The speed on Route 41 here is 45 mph at night but I’m betting few people honor it.  It makes me sad to think of a world with no panthers as it does to think about a world with no Rhinoceros as I highlighted in a post read by the fewest of my readers ever two days ago. Very disappointing.



The trail today is simply called the 3.5 mile trail.  Catchy name isn’t it?   The most exciting thing of the walk happens less than a mile down the trail.



There lying in the sun is a diamond backed rattlesnake keeping his/her eyes on us but looking as though there might be digestion of dinner going on.   He’s about 4’ long and has simply gorgeous markings.   I’m taking these photos from a safe distance thanks to my camera zoom lens but look at that face and rattle.












The flowers aren’t too bothered by the cold nights in the 30’s we’ve been having as is evidenced by those we see along the rest of the trail.








Approaching the end of the 3.5 miles, we come to swamp ponds on both sides of the road.  At first glance it looks like a log there floating on top but a closer zoom shows the alligator.  Can you even see him in the non zoomed picture?   He’s on the right in the back facing away from us.








On the other side of the trail is a lovely spot with some beautiful bromeliads decorating a branch over the water.  You couldn’t create a landscape like this if you wanted to.




As most of you know on Friday we went a whole 3 miles away to the 10000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge.  If you missed the great birds in that post you can read it here.   So far this week the winds have been too strong for kayaking the water trail but winds or not it will be in the next post. 


  1. The markings on the rattlesnake are exquisite! I wonder why it is that I find a snake beautiful, but a gator just the opposite - unattractive,

  2. Sherry, I am so enjoying reading your adventures this winter. I feel as if I spend the winter down here purely to maintain things: car, truck, trailer, dogs and us! So many appointments and chores. Must make time for more fun.....Anyway, I DID read your blog about the rhinos and it is heartbreaking. Having gone to Africa and seen these beautiful animals, as well as the endangered cheetahs, I can't stand the thought of not ebing able to see them in the wild again.
    But, I'm not going to say thank you for the snake pictures :-)!

  3. Sherry, your posts are always a joy to read, no matter what order they appear. :c)

    That rattler sure looks mean, thank goodness for telephoto lenses, I'd never want to meet up with one that close! :cO

  4. Wow! I have never seen a hawk get comfortable around people, he is really beautiful.

    You really have a wonderful zoom on that camera, and the ability to use it!

  5. The snake in particular is a standout!

  6. I hadn't realized that so few Panthers remain in the wild. They are such an elegant and majestic animal. Clearly more needs to be done to protect those remaining. Flowers..... I'm so jealous!

  7. All life should be protected from us humans. Thank goodness there are pockets of nature left them. That snake is over the top amazing. I'd say it was full of something. It's true, your zoom shots are superb. My new little camera zooms 60x but I can't hold still enough.

    Please remember, that although you didn't get many comments on the rhino post a over 150 of your readers came to my post about it. Sure hope some of them donated to the cause.

  8. That is some snake. I so hope we don't ever see a large one, the baby in Zion was enough for me. That snake of yours does look a little fat in the middle. But you did get super photos:) Love the gator, too:)

  9. That royal palm destroyed by the hurricane sure looks like a burnt matchstick. Glad that the woodpeckers repurpose it for homes. You were lucky that the rattlesnake was digesting his meal or you may have been dessert!

  10. Thanks for the tour of 3.5 mile and the rattler!!! Amazing snake photos...we didn't see one snake while we were in the Everglades. I too am in awe of the landscape that Mother Nature has created in the Everglades. Something new and interesting around every turn:o)))

  11. Thanks for mentioning "Whole". I plan to read it soon. Those photos of the rattlesnake are excellent! They are beautiful creatures.

  12. I thought that detailing under Eeyore was on Winonna's dash :-) The hawk is amazing but it makes me nervous that he doesn't have the fear he should. Your snake is incredible, they are a favorite of ours. I'm surprised he's out already with the colder weather you've had. I guess the little flowers mean it stays warm under the canopy. I don't think I ever knew we had panthers in the US, how sad is that?

  13. Great action shot picture of Dad washing dishes and you reading - nicely done! What a beautiful little blue heron and a handsome red shouldered hawk! I liked seeing the Royal Palms and the rattler - what detailed beauty. As we say so often, nature is amazing!!! I hope there is panther protection continuing down there - they are beautiful and strong cats who deserve peace from us humans who are often in just too big a hurry for no really good reason.

  14. Always a treat to see the unusual creatures that are always around but seldom seen - like that rattler! Very glad he/she was so relaxed and sedate at our passage. I gave a wide birth ... FABULOUS pictures!

  15. Nice day out. I am thinking the the hawk is getting plenty of food there to keep coming back so close the humans.

  16. That is a fantastic picture of the rattlesnake's face and rattle! The flowers are very pretty- is the greenish one an orchid? Looks like one. The alligator does look like a log. Looks like another fun wildlife walk. xxxooo

  17. When we were there last summer, I too had this fascination of Palms in Florida and the Royal Palm is such an elegant palm tree.
    The scene of David washing dishes while you were reading is like ours :).
    Those are amazing pics of the rattle snake but I actually would freak out when I see them. You are very brave :) Sherry.

  18. Love your resident hawk! Your photos of the rattler are a little too close for comfort. :-)

  19. Those are great shots of the snake -- especially the rattle. Very cool!


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