Sun Rise on Lake George, FL

In March the river was low, which meant Lake George would be low. We were going to see if we could get into Silver Glen Springs. The boat draws about 3ft. We dropped the anchor and took the dingy in and checked depth over the bar. While we were in the dingy I took a few pictures of the boat in the distance.3.11 to 3.12.09 029cs

I liked the silhouette  of the palm fronds back lighted by the sunrise, so I was moving around trying to line them up with the boat. I got this by accident. I was snapping away and didn’t even realize the camera had focused on the palm leaf with the spider.3.11 to 3.12.09 031cs

The sunrise was a fireball.

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I was pleased to see a line of birds fly across. Even more pleased when I saw they showed up in the photo. I am learning “by guess and by golly”.

Painted Turtle

Thought you might like to see a close up of the Painted Turtle in the header. 1.19.09 Blue Springs, Hoontoon Island 016cs2

It’s hard to believe he’s so content. Guess he doesn’t realize that “turtle” is on the gator’s dining list.

There are only two in the next picture, but sometimes you’ll see 5 or 6 lined up on a log. Small ones first. Guess with the smaller shell they can climb on a narrower spot.

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Some of them have nice smooth shells and others have an algae or moss like covering. Not sure why. Need to do my homework.

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He’s stretched out as far as he can to soak up the warmth of the sun. Sometimes they look like they are flying. They’ll have all 4 legs stretched out as far as they can and be resting on the shell.

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Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is a very large wading bird. They eat mainly fish. Do you think he might have a problem with this one?  He finally laid it on the beach but  kept going back to poke at it.We watched him for quite awhile. As we headed down river (St Johns River runs N) he had gone back to wading and the fish still lay there.

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He spent a lot of time grooming. I say “he” but I don’t know how to tell them apart. I really like this shot. The curve of it’s neck, feathers and body angle all seem to flow to his tail.

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They nest is the tops of trees. There can be several in the same tree. Look closely in this photo and you can see one on the nest, an empty nest and one landing or taking off.2.10.09 S of Lake Jessup to G109 034cs2

We are used to seeing Bald Eagles and Osprey nests. I’ve never seen two in the same tree. So,  it surprises us to see so many big birds in one tree top. A nesting area can be pretty noisy when the little ones are hungry.

These birds can stand 4 or 5 ft tall, maybe taller. We saw one a few years ago on Lake Griffin, FL that looked as tall as my husband and he’s 6 ft. Probably just our imagination, but that was a big bird.

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They have a big wingspan, looks like 6 ft on a large one , and are very graceful in flight.

Painted Turtle

I thought I should show you a close-up of the turtle in the header. Even though he is sitting so close to the gator…he looks extremely contented. They really are a beautiful creature. Is he cute…or what!

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Often you will see several turtles lined up on one log. They seem to go from smallest to largest. Like a family. Here there are only 2 but notice the one in front is a bit smaller. It may have something to do with the spread between their legs and the width of the log. The smaller turtles are able to sit on a smaller surface. It’s hard to get pictures of them. When they hear the boat coming they all tend to slide or splash into the water.2.22.09 028cs

I’ve noticed that many have nice clean shells and others have a mossy or algae growth on the shells. I don’t know why.5.13.09 001css

In the winter they will look as if they are trying to fly… their legs and neck will be stretched out as far as possible to absorb as much of the sun’s heat as they can.

The Limpkin

For charting our travels on the St Johns River, we use “The St Johns River Boating Cruising Guide”, by Tom Krantz.. It covers the river and many of it’s tributaries, from Jacksonville, FL to Lake Harney, S of Sanford, FL.  Our bigger chart book also covers this area but the guide has a lot of information, including suggested anchorages.  One of the birds he mentions is the Limpkin. He refers to it as the “Elusive Limpkin”.

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Is this the Ostrich look?  They stick their head underwater looking for muscles.  When it finds one , they bring it ashore, stick it in the mud and open the shell. We watched while one found and ate 5 or 6 muscles, within a short time. None of the shells were broken. 5.13.09 072cs You can see a drop of water just falling off it’s beak.

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When you first spot this bird wading near shore, it doesn’t really catch your eye. No pretty colors or flashy looks. But look closely at these pictures. It is really quite striking.5.13.09 075c

I have been trying to photograph one but never got close enough. I was up at daylight and rowed the dingy ashore to walk our little dog, Raisin, and this one kindly strolled by and let me take a bunch of pictures. I thought immediately of my good friend, Diane. She and Larry spent part of the winter on their boat, cruising with us on the St Johns River. They made many a “U” turn so she could see her favorite bird, the Limpkin.5.13.09 076cs

From a distance it just looks like a speckled bird.  Look closely at the white feathers. They look like little white flags.

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The more I look at the photos, the more beautiful it becomes.

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It strolled in and out of the fallen tree, hopped upon it and over it.5.13.09 086cs

The long toes makes it possible to walk on floating water plants. 

I cropped this from one of the photos so you could have a closer look.

Isn’t beautiful?!!

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So if you see a large brown speckled bird wading near shore, slow down, take a closer look. It just might be the “Elusive” Limpkin Tom Krantz talks about in his river guide.


After seeing some of the photos of Dragonflies and Damselflies, I have been captivated with their beauty. I am amazed by the colors, and their delicate lacey wings.

I never knew there were Damselflies. If my understanding is right, the Damsels fold their wings along side their bodies when resting and the Dragonflies have them spread out, as in these photos. There may be many other differences, I’ll learn them as I go.

I remember them as “darning needles”. If we were not quiet…they’d sew our mouths shut. I have no memory of either my Mom or Dad telling us that…It’s like one of those things kids just know. We did some camping with our parents and perhaps that was one of those campfire stories used to get us to go to bed and be quiet.

While in Silver Glen Springs, off of Lake George, which is one of the lakes along the St Johns River, we were in the dingy( small inflatable rubber raft) trying to get photos of the River Otters and anything else I could find interesting. Now this is all great fun for me…but I do have to appreciate the boredom that must go along with it for my husband. After all, I’m whispering..”keep me straight” “row with the right oar” “no..the left”..”sit still..don’t rock the boat”..”don’t let the dog bark”… And we are chasing a Dragonfly around. One that is not the least bit interested in sitting still so I can snap a picture. My Kodak Z712 IS Easy Share is a nice little camera..but definitely not up to par for the kind of photos I want to take of this beautiful little insect. Now..I’ve seen nice photos of it so I have an idea how pretty it is, but at this point it’s just a bug to Jim. This is the best I could do. I figure I’d better post them or he’d figure his time had been wasted.6.11.09 122cs

After doing some checking on the web, I found a site, that had a picture similar to mine , so I am guessing this is a male Eastern Pond Hawk. If I am wrong, please tell me. I am just learning. If you are as amazed, as I was, at how beautiful they are, go to the site above and see what you’ve been missing all these years as they zipped past.

Another guess. female Eastern Pond Hawk

female Eastern Pondhawk

By the time we spotted this one Jim was starting to get into it and was chasing this one around. Unfortunately it stuck to the plants and wouldn’t come down for a closer shot.

At home, in the evening when the mosquitoes are starting to come out…the “helicopters” (another unscientific term) start dashing around. I’ll be out there chasing them too. Don’t know what they are yet, but I’ll find out. I even saw a blue one.

Osprey on the St Johns River FL

I was finally able to get an Osprey in flight. It is looking straight down into the river for a fish. He dove on it shortly after I snapped this photo.6.12.09 018cs

A few miles up the river, we spotted this Osprey with a big catfish.6.9.09 006cs

I love the look on his face in this one. We were cruising by slowly and that made him take notice of us.6.9.09 012cs

Looks like it will be eating well for awhile. 6.9.09 008cs2

The Osprey is a large bird, with a wingspan of almost 6 feet. It builds a very large nest. This Osprey looks like it’s doing a muscle flex. It’s actually in the process of grooming and ruffling it’s feathers. The tree itself, is beautiful.6.11.09 046cs

They build their nests near rivers and lakes. The main diet is fish and it is something to see them dive into the water and come out with one. They carry them facing forward to be more streamlined while flying.