Donald J _____

Betcha that wasn’t what you were expecting me to say!  (If you actually were, you might have either heard me tell this story before or have incredible mental faculties… And by that I mean you saw the picture. 😋)

Earlier this year (which doesn’t narrow it down at all as that could be any of the other 11 months), my dad, Carrie, and I went kayaking at Weeki Wachee Springs in Northernish Florida.  As we rounded a bend, we saw some sunglasses and “poled” over to investigate. (I may have just made the world’s worst pun ever, given the fact that you use paddles, not poles, to steer and propel kayaks.  Also, you don’t pull a kayak over like you would a car.  So, apologies all around but I’m keeping it there because I can.  Also, can you believe how long this parenthetical statement is??)

We made this amazingly true-to-life sculpture of our President-elect using part of an onion we found lying around (I kid you not) and a leaf.  Bonus points if you know the Latin name of the plant from whence the leaf came to us on a bonny breeze (OK, we picked it up off the ground, but I will still be impressed).

In light of today’s importance, I thought I’d share this now. 🙂


P.S. Yes, I know the cypress knee we used isn’t a stump.  Why do you have to be so critical!  We were just making a pun and having fun. (hehe, rhyme) (shoutout to anyone who got that Ultimate Spiderman reference).


Hello, hello,
Where did you go?
I’ve chased you about,
With no luck to recount,
But a picture to remember you by.

Hello, hello,
With whom do you go?
While I chase you ’round the clock,
You are always with your flock,
While I struggle on foot by my lonely self.

Hello, hello,
In what key do you sing?
With harmonious melodies
God has assigned you to me.
My heart is glad when you sing.

Hello, hello,
To where do you go?
Up high in the sky,
To “away” you fly,
I scan the sky in vain.

Goodbye, goodbye,
Too far do you fly,
Away from my eyes,
A small dot in the sky,
Warbling a sweet, sweet

Babcock Birdies

I love alliterations, don’t you?  Recently I went to Babcock again and saw two new bird species! (Along with others I had seen before).  Ironically enough, the first picture that I took and was happy with was of a dog.  He seemed to be hunting but his handler had no gun. (that we saw) so he was probably just training.  He flushed a big group of bobwhite right in front of us, which was really cool.
Also, I’m experimenting with a new watermark.  What do you think?

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It was a pretty foggy morning, and it had rained through the night, so things were generally sparkly.

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I love discovering hearts in nature, and these were very pretty vines with drops of water on them.

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Northern Mockingbird.

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Yellow-Rumped Warbler. (I think)

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Pine Warbler…

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First new species of the trip, an American Bittern!  Since he was about 6 feet from us, I was able to get a close-up of him. Yay!

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There were female Anhingas were in the trees!  We saw probably 2-3, and they would croak at us like frogs or gators.  It was hilarious and unnerving at first.

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The amazing second new species, a Common Yellowthroat! (Not to be confused with a Yellow-Throated Warbler.)

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Hiding from me…

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Here I am!

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This is an Ornate Moth, which I finally looked up after seeing it a couple times.  Such a beautiful butterfly!

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A Spiny-Backed Orb Weaver, dangling from the sky!

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This one that we saw later was eating a bumble bee!

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Glowing leaves.

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Palm Warbler… don’t you think it looks like a Japanese divider screen thingy? 🙂

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Pearl Crescent butterfly.

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A Green Heron in a tree… not their normal habitat, so it was a fun sighting!

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Floridian flora…

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And fauna.  A black racer snake I think?

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White Peacock butterflies.

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Monarch butterfly?

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Taking off!

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Thought this was a cool reflection.  What do you see?

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An Update!

I really need to work on better titles, but there is no time!  I usually use the  WordPress app for Android on my tablet to read all y’all’s posts and post new ones of my own, but I, um, well… broke the charging port on my tablet, so I’m back to my laptop until I can get a new tablet or something.  I’m very glad I have my laptop, but as it’s a bit on the slow side, it makes catching up on my reader a bit tricky.  But hopefully I can still read all of your posts without missing too many! 🙂

Thankfully, that’s the only bad news I have to report.  The great piece of news is that I finally got my learner’s permit!  Yesterday we went to the DMV, waited for a relatively short period of time, and were taken care of by a very nice lady, who was charmed by Adam. (I mean, who isn’t?)  Now I can start logging in those hours to get my license.  Yay!

Also, we went ice skating with a few families from our church this morning, and it was awesome!  Really crowded, but really fun!
God is so good, and always knows the desires of our hearts.

Tomorrow morning bright and early I’m going hiking with my dad and my friend Gabriel at Babcock, and later we’re camping out in a friend’s backyard for New Year’s Eve!  I know, I’ve exceeded my quota of exclamation points, (1) but I don’t care, I’m too excited! (ha)

Anyway, stay posted (haha, blogging pun) for my end-of-the-year blog post; this is just an update. 🙂



Tallahassee Trip: Day 2, Part 1 – St. Marks

This is my extremely overdue post on my second day in Tallahassee which was spent mainly at St. Marks National Wildlife Preserve.   Sorry about the delay, but I hope the pictures are worth it!

I loved the hills in the Panhandle of Florida!


Bagworms in the sunlight.


As soon as we got into St. Marks we stopped on a little bridge and looked for some birds. We found some!  My friend Gabriel says this is most likely a White-eyed Vireo.  My first one ever! (that I know of) Yay! We were pretty far away, and he was a small bird, so good luck finding him! 🙂

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Thorny vine-resembling plant. It was growing straight up from the ground with no support.  Anybody know what it is?


We then stopped at the visitor center and saw a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher in a tree! Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera on, but it was a great first bird to see!

We drove around for a while and found a trail to walk.  On it we saw this vibrant dragonfly which might be a Red Meadowhawk.  Anyone know for sure?


Big black bumblebees on large thistle-like flowers. (are they thistles? Anyone?)

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I am almost confident that this is a Halloween Pennant Dragonfly.


I liked this osprey flying overhead.  The original picture was quite bleached, but Picasa saved me! Now it looks artistic, don’t you think?


We saw crabs!

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These flowers were beautiful!

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Not pictured, 2 Belted Kingfishers. 😀
Since we had heard from the man at the visitor center that someone had reported a Pygmy Rattlesnake the day before, we left the tall grass and headed back to our car.

Surprisingly, our next find was a Great Egret in a dead tree in the middle of a pond/lake.  When we drove back past him many hours later, he was still there!  It was a bit odd, but pretty funny!


We went to another trail which was located behind the restrooms.  There we spotted this Great Crested Flycatcher.


And a Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

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This is a test of your eyesight.  Can you find the tiny bird? Mwahahahaha It might be a Titmouse or Chickadee… What do you think?


Another woodpecker, this time either a Hairy or Downy.


Back to Mr./Mrs. Flycatcher!

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Prairie Warbler!  Another first for me! (Warblers are hard to find, sorry if you can’t see him)

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Another first, a Mississippi Kite! Sorry the picture is so noisy, (photographer lingo for grainy) I had to crop this because he was so high in the sky.


When Dad and I first saw this bird we really hoped it was an Ovenbird, (we’ve never seen one) but it wasn’t.  It may be a juvenile Eastern Towhee, Gabriel thinks, but he’s not sure.

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Now this is definitely a Carolina Chickadee. 😀

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Our first Yellow Warblers of our life and day!  We’d see more later on in the day, but that might be in a later post.

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The Mississippi Kite circled back over us again.  They are a type of hawk, so he was most likely hunting.

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There were LOTS of Cardinals around.


That trail was full of mosquitoes, deerflies, horseflies, and yellow biting flies, so we left.

While we were driving along we saw an otter try to cross the road in front of us!  It ran back into the bushes when it saw us, so we stopped and backed up slowly to not frighten it.  We waited for about, I don’t know, 1 minute, and got tired of waiting.  So we started to drive away.  As we passed the place where we saw it go in, it darted across the street behind us!!!  The smart little fellow…  🙂

The next things we saw did not try to run (or fly) away from us.  Roseate Spoonbills!

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A little Snowy Egret and a Tri-Colored Heron.


Eventually we reached the end of the road which dumped us onto this little point with a lighthouse and lots of shorebirds!  Gabriel was kind enough to identify them for me, so here goes.

“2 Sandwich Terns and 3 Laughing Gulls (juvenile).”


Sorry about the blue thing in this next picture, I got the car’s mirror on accident.
“1 Ruddy Turnstone, 7 Willets (I believe), and 2 terns (possibly Least Terns; not in breeding plumage).”


Some type of Rail… maybe Clapper?  A very shy little guy.


I love this simple picture…


At first I thought that this was a Kildeer, but Gabriel corrected me that it is most likely a Semipalmated Plover. I consulted my field guide and think he’s right.
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This one has, “9 Ruddy Turnstones (they all have black coverts), 1 Piping Plover (it is the one with a black “collar”). There may be one Sanderling.”


This one is either a, “Laughing or Bonaparte’s Gull.”

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Eight Double-Crested Cormorants.


Cute little feller…


A Black-Bellied Plover, still in breeding plumage!!!  This was a first for me, and I had always wanted to see one!


Red-Winged Blackbirds with a female Grackle I think.

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The lighthouse.


A large flock of Black Skimmers flew by!

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About the time when I took the Cormorants picture, a weird bird flew past my dad and me.  We described it to some of the other birders there, and they said it was probably an Oystercatcher!  See the black-headed bird with the bright orange bill in the picture? That’s it!  I took this picture later, when we found him again.


“1 Marbled Godwit, 21 Willets, 7 Ruddy Turnstones, and a mystery tern (again, it might be a Least Tern).”


“1 American Oystercatcher, 1 Marbled Godwit (off to the right side; not in focus), 5 Ruddy Turnstones, 8 Willets, 14 mystery terns (they might be Least Terns).”


Some of the gulls and other various birds were lying on the sand.  I thought it looked kind of funny. 🙂


We saw the Roseates again.


We were happy with our successful day and thanking God for his glorious creation when we saw some cars pulled over ahead of us.  Usually that means that there is something to see, so we slowed down.  At the same time we saw the birds and chorused, “Kingbirds!”  We had never seen Eastern Kingbirds but had always wanted to. There was three that we saw, and boy were they amazing!


Haha, here I interrupt myself for a short minute, to ask if anyone knows what this bug is.  I know, I should stay on topic, but too bad!  Any ideas?


A nice huge grasshopper.


Back to the Kingbirds.

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A little Hairy (I think) showed up too.

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OK, I am not waiting for another post, here’s the second Yellow Warbler we saw!  What a stunning shade of yellow, right? Wow!

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Soon we decided we should start heading back home, so we reported back to the visitor center and recorded our finds. I bought a new field guide, (a Sibley one!) and a St. Marks t-shirt.  We left with happy hearts and full SD Cards. 🙂


My next and final post in this series will be of my nighttime experimentation while in the car and a great rainbow!


Tallahassee Trip: Day 1, Part 4 Wakulla State Forest Wildlife Management Area and Ducks!

After we left the Florida Caverns we drove through some small towns and I admired the artwork and found and interesting street name.

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The guy at the hotel had recommended Wakulla Springs for us to check out, so we did.  But it was really crowded so we left.  But on our way past the gatehouse, we saw one of those Golden Silk Orb Weaver Spiders under the roof.  I kinda want to but kinda don’t want to know what that yellow stuff is.


The welcome sign and Black-Eyed Susans. (I think)


So then we checked out Wakulla State Forest, which was completely empty except for us and lots of birds and bugs!!

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These are (this is a) Northern Parula(s).  They were everywhere!

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Eastern Kingbird, though we didn’t know it at the time.  We later saw them at St. Marks, but that’s another story. 🙂


This was my first Red-eyed Vireo!  I’m so happy!


Hairy or Downy Woodpecker


More Northern Parulas…

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The first Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher we would see on this trip.  What a cute little bird…

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More of the giant Orb-Weavers, but this one was flying!  Just kidding, that would be frightening.  His web was probably between those two branches.  I hope… :0


When I first saw these guys I thought that they were just, “same old, same old,” but Dad called out something I did not originally notice.  One of them is dead!


I don’t know how it happened or what will happen to her body now, but this one was definitely dead.


The victor was gorgeous…


Possibly a Yellow-rumped Warbler.


My first Carolina Chickadee in a long, long, time!  I was/am so happy!


A Garden Spider?


Another one, but it’s eating a Grasshopper!


Dad and I didn’t know the name of this flower, so we called it a taco flower, due to the shape of it’s “bud”.

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This guy was so cool-looking!  At about an inch and 1/2 long, with a bright red paint job, and moving drunkenly about the path, this guy drew our attention immediately.

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Another flying spider!!!


Another Orb-Weaver…


Not sure what kind of spider this is… Bri? (she’s my best friend who knows lots of bugs’ names)

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I found a Dandelion! I didn’t blow it out though, but left it for someone else.


This Garden Spider(?) crawled onto this branch… I watched him and told Dad.  We still don’t know why he went up there.

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I have a rather blurry picture of a mystery bird that Gabriel thinks was a Scarlet or Summer Tanager, but unfortunately WordPress won’t let me upload it.  Why, WordPress, why????

This one is either a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher or a Tufted Titmouse.


We saw a Towhee, then another, then heard another!  They formed a triangle around us which sounded beautiful!


While they were singing, a Northern Parula joined the party!


The Towhee up close…

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As we were driving along Dad kept thinking he was running over butterflies!  They would land on the road right in front of his tires, then fly away at the last second.  Eventually we got out and took some shots.  I Googled them and I think that they are Red-Spotted Purple Butterflies. 

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As we were driving away after this amazing day, I saw this street and thought of my friend Emily!


This was a fun play on “Anchors Away!”


I love birds, so…




This one sounds delicious…


Here’s some “Moore woods!”  Not like they’re everywhere already… 🙂


There was a cemetery on this road, which was appropriate…


Driving through downtown again.


Edit?  No, I didn’t edit this!  Just kidding, of course I did. I thought it looked cool.


Dad and I wanted to shoot the skyline of Tallahassee so we went to a small park.  Although we weren’t able to shoot the skyline, we did see some really cute baby ducks! Here’s one of the relatives of the ducklings.


I know a lot of people hate Muscovy Ducks, but I like them, they have an aura about them.

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The ducklings!!

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Scratching his head…


An older juvenile perhaps?


I love this shot. 🙂


I love the family element… 🙂

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There were Canadian Geese on the pond with them as well.


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Then, feeding time for the ducklings!


Fluffing up…

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I can’t get enough of the ducklings!!

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The Canadian Geese looked very regal as they “sailed” across the pond.

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I love the action shots of them eating.


The Canadian Geese came over and scared the ducks away.

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Then another brood came over…

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While walking near the fence, Mama Muscovy lost some of her babies to curiosity…

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And the first family was having problems too.

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Happily reunited, the ducks had a great rest of their evening, as did we.


At a stop sign Dad suggested that I take a picture of the beautiful flowers nearby.


At the intersection of Magnolia Drive and the road we were on I saw a beautiful towing hitch cover.

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That was the end of our first and last full day in Tallahassee, and we had had a great time.  The next day would be wonderful too, but that’s a story for another day.


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