Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Maclay Gardens State Park, Tallahassee, Florida

I took a walk through Maclay Gardens today. Fewer flowers were blooming than I expected--mostly there are the last of the azaleas, the last of the camellias, wisteria, the last of the dogwoods, and petunias. I was surprised that there appeared to be no rose garden area, and in fact none of the more exotic plants that I recall seeing there were in evidence, blooming or not.

Nonetheless, I got several photos of flowers and the pathways that run among them--and one very large live oak tree.



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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida

I was in Melbourne, Florida, for a short stay and decided to visit the Brevard Zoo. Took the camera, of course.

I highly recommend visiting this zoo if you are going to be in the area. It’s a habitat zoo, which means that most of the animals are in their natural environment, if a somewhat smaller version of that environment than normal for them. It’s certainly photo-friendly.

It’s hard to know where to start, and if you are on dial-up, you probably have time to go out and have a meal, see a movie, attend a symposium in the time it will take this post alone to load. You have been warned…

I will start with the open aviary since I took many photos there. This is a very neat area—you walk into a large room, much like you find with butterfly exhibits. The birds are just flying around and perched nearby, and you can feed them from small cups provided by zoo personnel. So let’s start there. Here are the photos I took in that exhibit:



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You can feed the birds in this aviary, and one young visitor offered a small cup of food to these colorful friends:



This cute little duck was in a pond in another area of the zoo.



The kangaroos were of particular interest on this trip. They seem very laid back. This photo of a male seemed a little like what I would call ’roo porn—and since this is a G-rated blog, I have blurred out the naughty bits… I was tempted to add a cigarette, martini glass, and lava lamp to the photo.



This must be that 'roo's significant other, looking long-suffering...



I was extremely happy to see African crowned cranes there. I have a Webshots wallpaper picture of one of these birds that is a favorite, so it was nice to take some of my own, even if I didn’t travel to Africa to get them.



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There were flamingoes,



an emu that didn’t seem to want its picture taken,



and this bird that looks like the guy at the office with the really bad toupee--



As well as this one that looks like a really crabby neighbor we had when I was a kid.



They say that everything is beautiful in its own way...



Capybara, it turns out, are the largest rodents in the world (not this particular one, but these in general).



Here’s a small African impala-like goat-sized animal (don’t remember what it is, but it was cute)



There was an impressive jaguar exhibit.





There are a lot of primates at this zoo. I like this picture, even though it doesn't really show the animal. So I include it here.



This is some kind of crane (I’m guessing…)—its tail feathers were like long ribbons, waving in the breeze.



And of course, a blue parrot.



What a day! Again, do visit this zoo if you get a chance!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Has Sprung!

It's nice to see all the new flowers and buds and leaves!



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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Cape San Blas

I stayed a couple of nights at the Cape San Blas Inn, located on St. Joseph Bay across a channel from Pig Island. This is a very nice inn run by a very friendly innkeeper who is knowledgeable about the area and helpful to his guests. My room overlooked the bay.

There is a deck up by the house and a dock that extends into the water. Here is the view from the deck.



There are grapefruit trees producing fruit and several flowering plants around the inn, including a hibiscus.



You can walk across the street and along a passageway between houses and be at the Gulf of Mexico as well. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is about 3 miles down the road. The town of Port St. Joe is 15 miles away. (There is a wonderful restaurant there called Sunset Coastal Grill that I highly recommend for dinner. It is located on the Gulf side right at the water; if you get there early enough you can get a table by the window and watch the sun set over the water. The food is excellent as well.)

I went to the state park twice on this trip. I had camped there before so I was familiar with it and wanted to visit the beach there (voted Best Beach in America back in 2002) and walk the trails. First stop was the beach, where I sat on the sand and watched the surf and the sandpipers for awhile. I had my camera with me (of course) and when this sandpiper walked right in front of me I took this picture.



There are many natural sand dunes along this beach.



This shell was resting in its little depression in the sand so I took a photo of it to use as computer wallpaper--here's a small version:



I enjoyed walking the trail and was pleased to encounter a deer—I haven’t gotten a deer photo for a while.



I enjoyed my stay there. On the way home I stopped at St. Marks NWR since it was on the way. This pair of blue winged teals were enjoying the sunny day.



It was a good trip.