A large alligator lurked around the fishing dock off of Hwy 441 at Paynes Prairie State Park while a fisherman lost a channel catfish when we visited in October.
The road to the La Chua parking area is lined with beautiful arching oaks. The site was previously the largest cattle ranch in Spanish Florida. Organized cattle ranching on the prairie began in the 1600s, using cracker cattle, descended from Andalusian cattle brought from Spain in the 1500s. The state park manages a small heard to preserve the breed.
There were more apple shells here than anywhere we’ve ever seen together. Noisy limpkins were still searching for more.
It rained lightly at the start of our walk in October, leaving it hot and very humid. There is an honor pay box at the parking area (bring dollar bills).
The trail crosses the tiny, sandy Moonshine Creek, typical of Florida, which winds to a sink.
All the frogs and toads probably loved the humidity
Near the parking lot, it’s a bit drier and the tree cover opens a bit. There are usually several birds here, like this red-bellied woodpecker
This is the same trip in October as the previous post.
mating common green darners
The largest alligator we saw was at the end of our walk in a small, duckweed covered pond, after putting the camera away.
We went back to Alligator Lake Park in October. It was our first visit in 5 and half years. The water level is highly variable. This time it was lower, with wide mud flats across many areas of the outer lake. Mike took all the pictures.
female red bellied woodpecker
great white egret
ducks, maybe mottled
great blue heron
roseate spoonbills and little blue heron. This is the furthest north we have seen spoonbills.
At the end of September, there were several juvenile purple gallinules at Celery Fields