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

Henry David Thoreau

Birds and Beach Before the Storms

Thursday January 19-Monday January 23, 2017                                             Most Recent Posts
Oscar Scherer State Park                                                On to Oscar Scherer and Warm Temps in South Florida
Osprey,  Florida                                                                                       Hikes at Hillsborough River



On Thursday morning as I walk out into the scrub the fog looks like just a low layer. But when I get there, it’s not.




It’s eerie and beautiful as the sun rise peeks through the trees.














When I arrive at Lake Osprey, the fog hovers there too. The name just makes me laugh. Look at the size of this body of water. You could cross it in a kayak in less than a dozen strokes.




On the bank, I find a juvenile little blue heron.



Same bird, different stance. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that with our necks? Maybe that’s just me since I’m short and that would sure give me a better view.




From “Lake” Osprey, I walk on to the beginning of the nature trail which goes along one side of South Creek for a little less than a mile.





This is not a wide trail and I haven’t gone very far when I gasp as two HUGE birds fly right  toward me barely above my head. I actually duck. I’ve obviously scared them too as they fly up and off to either side. From their size and the legs going out behind I think they are great blue herons. How can two great blues fly so close together between trees??

I turn around to see where they have gone and find that one has flown up and over to the creek and the other has stopped in the tree behind me. Perhaps like me he’s catching his breath and getting over the shock


He ruffles his feathers and wings as though shaking the whole thing off.



And then it’s back to his usual stoic attitude.




The views of the creek along the trail are lovely.






I reach the boat dock and check it out for a future paddle. Nothing has changed. I think I’ll walk on over to the Lester Finley Trail which goes further down the river only to find it closed. The park is preparing for controlled burns. Fire is required to keep the natural habitat here but with all the constantly encroaching development, it is difficult for the park.



It’s another beautiful afternoon so again we head over for a few hours of sand and sun.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe the life I live. Would that I’d started 10 years earlier!



We take a walk along the shore. The blues today are exquisite.





The willet enjoys the beach.







This beach is particularly covered with shells and apparently lots of people collect them. We laugh as we pass person after person hunched over looking at the ground.




Here’s what attracts their attention. Most folks “shelling” have shoes on.




Young beach walker as John from Oh The Places They Go would say.   Not a beach comber.




Friday is a pancake morning. Make em’ outside, eat em’ outside. Life is good!





I thought I could get out of the sun for reading in the screen room but it follows me in there.
These are certainly not the gray skies of winter I remember from my working days. Happy happy!!





David is back under the coach. We’ve been having trouble with what sounds like a weak battery or a weak starter are my gueses but he doesn’t think it’s either one. His solution is to wait and see. We’ve had to use the starter boost several times and that makes me nervous. I don’t want to come out on a day we have to move out of a site that will be someone else’s in the afternoon and find the coach won’t start. Of course we could always jump it with Ruby but still. So to placate me, David checks the battery with his tester which says it’s fine. But the problem persists in sounding like a weak battery. He takes the battery out and to be professionally tested. Tests fine at two different locations.

At that point he inspects the cable that goes to the starter motor to make sure it doesn’t have corrosion and is tight and not rusted. He finds evidence of corrosion, so he takes the cable off, dips it in bicarbonate of soda and water. Then he sprays it and brushs it with battery terminal cleaner, reattachs it and seals it with battery terminal protector. We’ve started the coach up a couple of times since then and everything seems fine. PIA to troubleshoot but not too bad to fix. And very easy on the wallet.


An early Saturday walk out on the trail to the eagle’s nest nets me several bird sightings in addition to the eagle including the increasingly rare Florida Scrub Jay.





Oscar Scherer State Park is a perfect scrub jay habitat and at one time there were 130 birds. Now the population is estimated at 12 and I’m very lucky to see one. The reason for the decline is habitat fragmentation. Looking at an aerial map of this area from even 7 years ago the decrease in the amount of undeveloped space around the park is unmistakable.

I simply don’t see how we can or why we must develop every square inch of land. An economy based on eternal growth cannot be sustained. The strain on the aquifer here in Florida is putting its drinking water in jeopardy even now. What do we do for an “economy” once we have developed it all and hemmed our wild places in on all sides?

The more numerous blue jay is also here. He manages to flourish as a back yard bird but not all birds are designed that way. Their needs interfere with our wants and we all know who wins in that case.






I recognize other common Eastern birds, the cardinal, the mockingbird, and the tufted titmouse.   They are all very familiar and I often unfairly take them for granted.  The cardinal is striking, the titmouse cute and the mockingbird quite a singer.  The later was great fun to watch.  He was in excellent form this morning.  I saw he or his fellows several times.

Only the cardinal didn’t suffer from the early morning light in these pictures.












I get a good look at this common flicker.



The sun is getting high in the sky and when taking a picture of the flicker above, I notice my shadow. Love seeing myself with long legs.



The sun is really in the way for my picture of this red bellied woodpecker.



Today at the eagle nest the adult is on the nest and one of the chicks is very visible.



I watch for a while and eventually the eagle flies up above and keeps watch over the nest. Time to head back.


 It was a nice and easy first week at Oscar Scherer state park but everything came to an abrupt halt on Saturday when the forecast turned dire.  Serious rain, high winds as in 27-30mph with higher gusts were predicted.  

I don’t care much for high winds for a number of reasons not the least of which is that I can’t go to the beach – blowing sand, it’s too windy to bike or kayak so what normally happens and happened this week-end too, is that we clean the house.   Now that’s a good thing but it’s not much fun.   More fun was looking into spring and summer plans.  Stay tuned.  Maybe Maine??

With the advent of the winds we took everything down, awning, flag, put everything away and waited.  They eventually predicted tornadoes on our weather radio.  I was receiving constant weather alerts on my phone.  Our site is close to the bathhouse if the warning had turned to a watch but it sure isn’t big enough for all the folks who would need to be in there from this end of the campground.

Thankfully all we had were the rains and winds for two solid days through Monday.  The campsites were a great place to be parked because all of the scrub foliage blocked much of the really heavy gusts.  So we’ve weathered it all fine and things are back to normal this morning.    Many other southern states were not so lucky.  We are grateful to have been spared.


  1. The willet's my favourite of the birds you see here, and those misty shots appeal to me.

    Unfortunately Florida's state governor at the moment seems to be of the development beats all mentality and damn the consequences. A common problem among his party.

  2. I keep forgetting what camera you are using, Sherry, but your photos seem to be getting better and better. Just gorgeous!

  3. Can't wait to get my camera and head out to record some wonderful nature shots!!! You sure took some wonderful ones!!! Glad you found an easy and cheap solution to your starting issue!!! YUM...pancakes in the sunshine sounds wonderful!!!

  4. So good that David can fix some of the RV troubles. The bird pictures are great.

  5. Glad the motor home did was a simple one...that is the best kind. I really enjoyed the morning pics with the fog, it makes a really neat scene.

  6. Development is only going to get worse in the coming years. It's a shame but it is inevitable, and I don't think a political party is totally at fault. People must take their share of the blame, wanting to go to developed places, while pretending they are in the wild.

  7. Great bunch of birds we should never take for granted. Certainly not the cardinal or mockingbird much less any or the others. All wonderful creatures in their own right and great examples to us on the good life. ;) Nice of you to spare readers my pictures of the starter cable corrosion. The birds and beach are much to be preferred.

  8. Great bird pictures and I love the foggy sunrise shots. So beautiful. Beautiful blue waters too. Glad the storms spared you & Oscer Scherer!

  9. The foggy morning, the trail along the water, the willet at the water, the cute beach walker, the birds and lovely eagle - wow! So glad you were unscathed in the crazy weather - and able to ride it out in such a beautiful place.

  10. About time you had an easy (and cheap) fix on Winnona. Now don't buy any lottery tickets cause you've used up all your luck! :cD

  11. We're finally getting a few days of sunshine now here. Tired of the constant cloud cover and rain, even if it is replenishing the reservoirs. Loving your beach and bird pictures!

  12. I always think there is something amazing about fog over water, unless, of course, I am at sea in ship.

  13. I thought of you and David as we were watching the weather channel for i know you were on that tornado watch. Fortunately it veered and fortunately spared you.
    Great bird pictures and I am so looking forward to seeing the Cardinal when we get to AZ!

  14. Lovely fog to soften your morning world. I too wish to stretch taller sometimes. I just have to chuckle when seeing long, gangley-legged herons in trees. But what a shock to you all on with such a close encounter on the trail. How I envy barefoot on the beach, especially during today's chilly desert wind. Those blues are exquisite. I am horrified by the greedy land development mentality. It's not looking good for teaching people/kids about ecology and the web of life. Thank goodness we saved and brought back the eagles. I wish to live in constant summer temps but such is life. The wind is brutal in Q today.

  15. OK, I promised a comment, and I didn't forget . . . great pictures -- foggy morning, all the birds! I'm glad we recognized your RV and stopped to say "Hi!" It was great catching up with you guys!

  16. Glad you survived the winds and rains unscathed. You sounded so happy on those beautiful days of early morning walks, afternoons on the beach, and relaxing and reading at camp! It really looks idyllic. Love your early morning photos of the fog, and all of the birds. We've still not yet seen a Florida Scrub Jay — next year, I hope.

  17. Love the pictures and glad you were safe from high winds. Thanks for sharing.


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