Cherohala Skyway

Cherohala Skyway

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Little More Prairie Excitement

 

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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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We saw more Red Shouldered Hawks there, then we have anywhere else. They always posed so nicely.

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Notice how they hang onto the branches?

 

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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. 

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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!

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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.

15 comments:

  1. It is hard to go back to the city after being surrounded by such beauty. But that makes us appreciate that beauty even more when we get to go back again. Love you pictures of the bird on the branch. The snakes are creepy but it was fascinating to see how the birds do strip it down.

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  2. The hawk is a real treat. He does appear to be posing, doesn't he?

    I have sure enjoyed your adventure to the prarie...looking forward to May! I'm sure it will be alot different then!

    Have fun at the gum....enjoy your Sunday!

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  3. There sure is something to be said about squeezing your own orange juice, or any of your own fruit and vegetables. It does taste so much better.

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  4. Sure don't like the snakes, neat picture of what was left after the birds were done!

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  5. I'm glad you didn't run over the snakes too. :)

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  6. I am now scarred for life with that photo of the snake carcass! Guess I don't like them eaten away any better than I do alive!

    I've enjoyed your prairie visit (well, except for this last entry! lol) and sorry you had to go back "home"! Before you know it you'll be off to another adventure in an equally exciting place!

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  7. I'm sure the snakes were glad you didn't run them over, too.

    Are you sure that's a telescope and not a cannon? He might be one of those doomsday preppers practising for the end of the world...

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  8. We have found that it is hard to beat the tranquility of the state parks but one must return home. We look forward to returning to our park job in a few weeks.

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  9. Loved your wildlife photos. Although I don't care for snakes, that surely would have been awesome to see the birds feast on that one.

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  10. Great shots, especially of the snake carcass. Not an appetizing image, but interesting they cleaned it so completely and left the head. Would have loved to see that!

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  11. Loved the picture of the hawk..they are so beautiful!

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  12. Wow a snake carcass. It would have been fascinating to watch the birds eat it.

    I'm with you on store-bought orange juice (and most restaurant orange juice)...it doesn't taste right.

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  13. Really enjoying all the wonderful photos of the birds and yes, even the snakes!

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  14. You got some great pictures on the prairie. Good job saving the snakes!

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  15. Ewwww snake bones... no thanks!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: This Country Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com

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