Tuesday, March 29, 2016

By Rook or by Crook

We visited Rookery Swamp in Florida in 2015.

Is it a bad omen when vultures cross your path? Or block the trail entirely? You better get used to it at Rookery Swamp in Florida. These days, it's not uncommon to see bikers blocking your path as well. But it is still a great place for birding. Here's the low down from the crew trust website 

The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail officially opened in July 2011. The Bird Rookery Swamp Trail offer 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, including an 1800-ft. boardwalk with wheelchair accessibility. A 1/4-mile crushed shell path leads to an 1800-foot boardwalk, then the trails become ground level, sandy/grassy relatively flat berms with swamp on both sides. The trails are actually old tram roads used when the area was logged many years ago. Biking can be a challenge on the grassy/sandy trails, but quite rewarding. The maple-cypress swamp is home to alligators, otters, Florida panthers, bobcats, white-tailed deer and more. There is one port-o-potty at the beginning of the boardwalk and several benches along the trail within the first 1.5 miles. Beyond that there are no structures.
Birders will delight in the abundance of songbirds that frequent the cypress trees along the boardwalk, as well as the many raptors and wading birds found along the trails. Barred owls are common and swallow-tailed kites frequent the area in summer.
If you thought it was wet last year, think again. This year at Corkscrew was the wettest on record. The water was too deep for wading birds. And if you think the grandpas or Woodstorks are nesting. Forget about it.

This was last year. This year the swamp was bursting with more leafy life than ever before. But not as many birds.

This red shouldered hawk had an eagle eye. On us. Or, some unsuspecting prey.

An origami style mushroom.

Camo gecko.




A burst of color.


Some things slither. 

I'll post this year's walk later on. But for now...

Be sure to snake your way over to The Chorus of the Crows this week. I'm going postal!

The links:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Caution: Watch For Webs

There's nothing like a foggy morning to make for an ethereal, moody and in this case spooky walk! 

The dew clung to the webs at Crew trails in Florida last Winter and illuminated their very existence.  The good news was that it meant you could see them.  And, hopefully avoid becoming ensnared.  They were everywhere.  EVERYWHERE!  They were delicately spun from one tree to another like glistening pearls.  A Pirate's dream. Our nightmare.  

Some of them were too high up in the trees to ensnare us.  But most of them were at eye level, just waiting to wrap us up like mummies.

The irony of this sign amused us.  The real threat today was webs.  If only we weren't such early birds, some other tourists would be the first one to walk face first into their sticky doom.  Eventually, we waved a stick in front of us and I made sure to bring up the rear. 

We never got webbed.

But we saw lots of Florida fauna.

It's a jungle out there.

Costa Rica is only a little bit greener.

Beautiful butterflies delighted.  Do you notice the delicate webs?

And dragonflies buzzed about like busy bees.

I took photos to reference for future paintings.  I would fill up the trees with birds and monkeys.  Wait... scratch monkeys.  Make that spiders the size of dinner plates.  I can't get them out of my head for some reason.

It's always a peaceful walk at Crew. 

But if it wasn't, we wouldn't have to worry about spiders. Getting webbed would be someone else's problem.

Crew was just as beautiful on our Florida trip this March. More on that later. But for now, read how our recent visit inspired in a down right gross kind of way! Over at The Chorus of the Crows

The links:


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sunset in Dominical

What's your favorite time of day?  Mine is when the night evaporates into day.  Sunrise.  There's gentle warmth, birds singing  zip-a-de-do-da, soft sunlight and the smell of bacon frying!   But at sunset, time slows down as the sun slinks back into the ocean.  That's where it goes, right?  The ocean swallows it up and spits it out the other side.  Well, I like to think so.   

Dogs love to romp on the beach at sunset.

People love to walk and share stories of their bountiful day in paradise.

Coconuts also like to bask in the receding sun. I love this photo.

I'm mesmerized by the light and color of this photograph.  Thank goodness the fiery memory lives on inside the travel section of my brain.  We were relaxing on the terrace of a grand and exotic ocean side estate, sipping embellished and expensive drinks while eating shrimp with a chocolate and papaya reduction.  I'm kidding!  We were parked on a weathered old stool at Rio Lindo.  The lowly town pizza joint.  Clean?  Sometimes.  Tasty?  Absolutely.  The view?  You decide.

Rio Lindo sits along side the Baru river. The Baru hugs the wilds of Dominical jungle before depositing into the sea.  At night, slim white egrets glide over the green water and head into the most amazing sunset you'll ever see.  And this sunset happens every single night.  

The price?  Pizza. Oh, and a plane ticket to Costa Rica.

You've seen Costa Rica. Now head over to post card perfect Panama over at The Chorus of the Crows  

The links:

It Takes a Village...

click to enlarge

Even though this is an illustration of a small island, it still fits the bill for village. The Illustration Friday theme. On Ometepe, there really aren't any towns large enough to be considered a city. That's part of its charm. Horses really do frolic on the beach, with no humans in sight. Monkeys fly through the trees, cows roam the earth almost unrestricted and two volcanoes loom eerily over everything. 

Ometepe is an island off of Nicaragua. A real Garden of Eden. My illustration only scratches the surface of its rural treasures.

If you look close, you can see the twin volcano in the background. When I took this photo, I was waving goodbye to Ometepe. Hello is sweet. But good bye always tastes bitter. 

P.S. Say hello to Panama over at my creative writing blog The Chorus of the Crows