Sunday, June 17, 2012

Uh oh, Where’s the Key

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Internet connection problems. I tried  post this blog yesterday two tries didn’t go through.  Hopefully the third time is the charm.

We have thoroughly enjoyed it, but are finally ready to leave.  It will be nice to have full hook ups and  and I won’t miss battling all the sand.  I will miss looking out my windows and seeing wild turkeys, deer and rabbits.

Yesterday we decided to head into  town and explore around the  Lake Okeechobee area.    Lake Okeechobee is the 7th largest freshwater lake in the United States and the size of Rhode Island.  It’s only about 9 feet deep.  Apparently the fishing is good.

We heard there were now a lot of campgrounds around the lake.  The last time we were there, there was nothing but lake, sugar cane and gators.

This is not our favorite area of Florida, but evidently a lot of snowbirds are spending their winters here.  The weather would be nice.

The lake is hard to photograph because you look up to see the lake from the highway.  In the picture below, the lake is to the left.  Not very scenic is it?


There are a lot of marinas and scenic overlooks, but nothing that impressed us much.   To be fair, we don’t care that much for lakes.  We much prefer ocean and rivers. 

Lake Okeechobee

We did find some Roseatte Spoonbills that posed for a few pictures.

Roseatte Spoonbills

We drove down to Moore Haven Locks.  We wanted to check out their campground. 

It was a dump….literally.

How would you like this guy for a campground neighbor?

Moore Haven campground...dumpy

The picture actually looked much better than it did in person.

No…we won’t be going there, despite 50% discount camping.  I don’t think we have any interest in staying around the lake either.

On the way down we passed many fields of sugar cane.   A crop duster was out spraying the fields. 

sugar cane field


Al spotted this rookery with hundreds and hundreds of birds.   What a lot of noise all those birds were making.  It was incredible to listen to them.

All those white specs are birds.  All kinds of birds and their young.  There were some gators in the water below the tree.  I understand they like gators as neighbors because the gators keep the raccoons and other predators away from the nests.  Anybody that happens to fall into the water is in deep trouble though.

massive bird roost

Here are a few close ups.  I was having trouble getting the shots since they were a good distance away and fire ants were biting my feet while I was trying to hold the camera still enough.


Look close to see the babies.



massive bird roost


We did all the exploring we cared to do,  so we picked up some groceries then headed back to the campground.  We always find lots of interesting subjects along the main road into the campground. 

Here is some Crested Caracara love.  They really looked like they loved each other.  They kept putting their faces together.

Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara


We made our evening drive around the park roads. 

Sunsets are always beautiful on the prairie.



Last night we saw a large owl, but couldn’t quite  get a picture.

We also saw two Corn Snakes.  I took these pictures from the comfort of the truck.   I was zoomed in quite a bit.  I was not that close to the snake.


corn snake

This is one of the very rare times where I used my camera flash.  I thought it was interesting how the snakes eye caught the light.

corn snake


This morning we didn’t get out until after the sun had risen.  We hiked one of the prairie trails and it turned out to be pretty interesting.

Lots of animal tracks. 


Lots of deer, of course.

buck deer


The bird below is a Towhee.


We were hoping to see the endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. 

We thought this bird might be it,  but after getting home and looking at the bird book, we decided this was probably a Bachman's Sparrow.

Bachmans Sparrow

He was really singing.


This little trail was full of interesting things.


It doesn’t look like much, but it was amazing how much wild life we saw in a short two mile walk.


It was starting to get warm,  so we headed back towards the truck.  The prairie breezes started to pick up, so we could probably have gone further, but it’s a good thing we didn’t.  When we got back to the truck, Al discovered he had grabbed the wrong key and locked us out of the truck.  

All I can say, is it’s a good darn thing we didn’t choose the trail Al had wanted to hike.  It was a long way from the campground!  As it was, we had to walk over a mile back to the motor home to get the spare truck key.  The motorhome has a key less entry so we didn’t need a key to get inside….thank goodness!   It could have been worse if we had been further from the campground.   Surprised smile


  1. My biggest fear. Locking myself out. Did it once with a pick-up I had a number of years ago. Had to walk home. I'm sure it was well over a mile. After that I kept a spare key in one of those little magnetic boxes under the wheel well which, of course I never ever needed. Forgot about it and it went with the truck when the lease was up. Silly me.
    Our motorhome would lock me out once in a while, but I learned to keep a spare set tucked away in an outside storage.
    Hey, at least it wasn't raining like crazy, and your motorhome has key-less entry!

  2. Keyless Entry is a blessing in disguise. A friend locked his keys in his car and was freaking-out until he remembered his keyless entry code.

    It's about time.

  3. What animal made those large footprints? Sure looked big. I've really enjoyed your photos. The young birds are so neat to see. I just don't understand the attraction to Lake Okeechobee, other than fishing. Wondering where your next adventure will lead?

    1. Unfortunately our next "adventure" brought us back to the Tampa area...unsure where we're going next...we're working on a plan.

  4. thank heavens for keyless entry!!!! We locked ourselves out of the house a week or so ago (well actually Rick did)...and the car keys were in the house...we had to wait for one of our kids to come open the door for us with their we have a spare hidden...great pictures!!!

  5. Oh my goodness, what beautiful pictures of birds today. I sure enjoyed them...the snake, not so much lol!!

  6. Great post Karen. Such a beautiful sunset. I'd like to visit that Prairie just to see those but you've made me see there is so much more.

    I'm with you on preferring rivers and the ocean to lakes. There isn't much fun in paddling a lake I don't think. Am I sorry to hear they have developed that area so much since you were last there and it had mostly sugar cane and alligators? I don't know much about the environmental impact in that area.

    Glad your key loss was a relatively easy remedy. We keep keys in those magnetic things under our cars. Guess the car theives probably all know that. But we don't have keyless entry and we don't keep a key outsidde the motor home. Guess I'd better look into that since it would be very hard to break into without making a real mess.

  7. Coachnet saved us when we lock our keys in the car at Lithia Springs;o))


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