We took a weekend trip back to North Florida in early December, intending to go to Big Shoals State Park. Big Shoals is northeast of White Springs, a small community that Mike said looks about the same as he remembered from over two decades ago, hidden from the march of modernization by a cloak of poverty. We passed by worn buildings and rotting railroad tracks. Near the single blinking amber/red lighted intersection, a church’s food pantry had a line of people collecting items. On the highway to Lake City there was an inspection station manned with a police car that said that all trucks, pickups and vans had to pull over. The pickups on the road with us weren’t stopping though. We drove the GTO, which is a much more comfy ride than my pickup, but it’s not made for rough or unpaved roads. It turns out that both entrances to the park are long stretches of dirt. So, we headed to Alligator Lake Park instead, which is all paved.
It was one of the foggiest mornings I’ve seen in Florida. The slight chill and crunching leaves under foot made it feel like fall, which really doesn’t reach further south.
Lantern plants don’t seem to be native.
It wasn’t until around noon that the fog burned off and it warmed up enough for the insects to start flittering about. There were gulf frittilaries, as there usually are, but the other butterflies were cliquish, with several members of a species near each other but not seen in other areas of the park, seemingly more tightly grouped than changes in habitats would make likely.
red waisted florella moth, by Mike
We also managed to get more flitty bird pictures than our usual collection of blurry bird butts.
yellow throated warbler
cardinal. This and the rest of the birds are Mike’s.
black and white warbler
And some reptiles:
alligator by Mike