The springs of this park are actually in the Suwannee River, so there is no run, just a swirling on the river surface. The parking area, down a one lane dirt lane, is in a beautiful old forest. It looks like the spot is most popular as a swimming hole, for while there is a hiking and biking trail, it did not take long for the path to become overgrown and blocked by blown down trees. Many ticks found us as we walked, the day after O’Leno, through the grasses. The trail stays near the river on one side of the loop, and crosses through various ages of forests, with some fairly recent pine plantings on the way back.
the banks on this part of the Suwannee are worn limestone, with a few steep approaches and sandy bends
mushrooms growing on a tree in the older part of the forest
not a spider
perhaps an assassin bug
unknown beetles munching on flowers
trumpet vine, Mike’s
we think this is a six-lined racerunner, Mike’s
Mike did the processing of the photos.
In the afternoon after Alligator Lake we went to O’Leno State Park.
I had on the 10-22mm, so here are my scenery shots.
Mike took the creature shots, and processed the photos.
This aligator lazily entered the water and swam around us in Ogden Lake, one of the places that the water from the Sante Fe surfaces.
This might be a southern toad. Or it might not.
Where the Santa Fe River first goes underground, there is a slow circular current which rotates the logs that the turtles sun on. One of the logs in the deep shade had a large alligator hanging with the turtles.
We watched this wasp (Thread-waisted Wasp family?) carry a caterpillar several times its size near where we were watching the turtles. It set the caterpillar down and then began hunting around in the sand. And hunted some more. Finally, the wasp uncovered its hole and hauled the caterpillar into the darkness.
Meanwhile, I spotted a large mosquito on Mike and swatted while he was changing lenses, which almost lost the lovely 100mm.
As evening approached, we headed back on the trail that appeared to be heading most directly towards the parking area. A ranger came by in his truck and told us to take the other trail, which looked no more official or labeled.
The morning after walking around Ellaville, we made another visit to Alligator Lake Park. We usually walk the main loop, but this time we chose the straight out and back trail into the middle of the lake. Mike did the photo conversions.
We saw fewer butterflies but were surrounded by dragonflies (Mike’s picture, then mine).
On some barren trees, nearly ever branch had a dragonfly resting on it.
These green-eyed bees were all over the place too (Mike’s then mine).
This (boat tailed?) grackle was doing its best to attract attention.
green anole and damselfly by Mike
a poor marsh rabbit with a tick
magnolia blooming (Mike’s)
Taking a second trail into the darker, swampier regions, we were spied by a pair of river otters who then swam off.
Mike halted us when he saw a rattlesnake across our intended path. We chose another way to walk.