Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 79, low 55)
Reluctantly, we left the prairie Friday day morning. We arrived safely back in the Tampa area at our home base. I certainly won’t miss the sand and dirt from the prairie, but my view is certainly not as nice. We already miss the beautiful Live Oaks keeping us nice and cool throughout the day. There is definitely something about that prairie that draws people there. We hope to go back in May.
This guy moved into the site next to us the day before we left. I would have loved to look through his telescope, but we didn’t want to invite ourselves!
Can you believe the size of this telescope?
A few mornings ago, we were walking the trail and noticed a group of birders being led by the staff biologist, Paul. We found out that we had just missed a pretty interesting site.
Remember the Caracaras we saw saw sharing a meal, then mating?
I’m sure it was the same two, and I believe on the same tree branch that they both shared a snake. The birders were lucky enough to watch them completely strip a snake and then discard the carcass. Paul retrieved the carcass and showed everyone how well they cleaned the skeleton.
Here is a photo of the snake carcass.
Sorry if this is a bit too graphic for some, but I thought it was interesting how they managed to get all the meat off the snake. I don’t know why they didn’t eat the head. Maybe because of the venom? Paul told them it was a Cottonmouth Water Moccasin.
We were just a few minutes too late to have gotten to watch this!
The night before, on our nightly sunset ride along the park road, we came across four snakes. Here is Al jumping up and down, trying to scare the snake out of the road.
A few minutes later, we saw two more snakes. We stopped to try to scare then out of the road, and one ran under the truck tire.
We didn’t want to drive over it, and it was getting dark. Al didn’t have anything except a bungee cord to scare it away. While we were trying to figure out how to move the snake, a park ranger came along. He had a snake hook and quickly removed both snakes from the road. He thanked us for not running over the snakes.
The ranger told us this was a Brown Banded Water Snake. Not poisonous.
We saw more Red Shouldered Hawks there, then we have anywhere else. They always posed so nicely.
Notice how they hang onto the branches?
We saw such amazing wildlife. This next photo was taken on of our morning hikes. These were just a small part of a huge flock of White Ibis.
I guess that’s enough prairie photos for now.
On our way home we came across an interesting plant. This only shows a small portion of the trailers filled with oranges. There were hundreds of them! Fresh Florida orange juice on the way to you!
They won’t be coming to me though. I can’t drink the orange juice you buy in the store. Even if they say it’s fresh squeezed, it doesn’t taste right to me. I guess it’s because of too many years of having our own citrus trees and squeezing our own.
So, we’re off the prairie, back in civilization, back to traffic, and back to the gym.