October 21, 2014
I always love my trips to Florida. I usually avoid the tourist areas, and visit friends and family in the more rural areas outside of Tampa. Picture patches of forests with giant live oaks, Spanish moss dangling from outstretched limbs; flat fields of green grass and grazing cattle; water everywhere; and egrets, herons, and Wood Storks fishing in the shallows.
In addition to enjoying the general scenery, I took a trip to Conner Preserve, owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The trail began in the center of a field, the grass just beginning to turn from green to bronze, and goldenrod and other wildflowers blooming in the afternoon sun. While there weren’t many birds, there were certainly a lot of butterflies.
I continued to follow the trail, which bordered two shallow ponds and then snaked through stands of longleaf pine and palmetto patches. Black Vultures circled lazily above me, and warblers and sparrows bounced among the underbrush. Though I was near a major road, I heard little other than the breeze blowing through the trees around me. The ground beneath my feet periodically gave way to bright white sand, reminding me of Florida’s iconic beaches. It was so peaceful, and I snapped some fun photos!