After spending three days at home, not doing much of anything, I decided to go exploring. Suki offered to come with me. Heck, she was as anxious to get out as I was. I went south on SR 82 and saw a sign for a Florida bird trail. I turned immediately and found this place (all photos can be clicked on to view larger):
We pulled into the parking space, and I saw a couple with their dog, so I figured it was okay to take Suki. I’d brought her leash, so we were all set.
Um… fuck! I was walking into this place with a panther meal on a leash. But the sign said they sleep during the day, so I chanced it. Yeah, I’m stupid that way.
It was hot today–80+–but the humidity was acceptable, so we marched on. Suki enjoyed pissing on every other plant as we moved deeper into the preserve.
First thing I spotted was this red-shouldered hawk on the edge of the marsh. It’s a gorgeous bird, and I was lucky it perched facing me. I was very far away from it and pleased to get a picture this good.
Farther along that path, I came across the lubber grasshopper. What amazing colors it has! I hear its pesty for farmers, though. Oh, and if you look at its rear, you’ll see I caught it mid-shit. 😉 These guys ingest substances that are toxic to many predators (not itself or humans, though), and when unduly pestered, secrete a noxious foam while hissing. I didn’t hear it, so I guess it didn’t feel threatened by me. They have different colorations at different stages.
By this time, Suki and I were starting to fade. Lots of walking under an early afternoon sun! As we approached the trailhead and parking lot, we ran into a couple just entering the area. They said they’d seen an armadillo down a service road; I wish I’d spotted it!
The man pointed out that bringing a small dog into the park was pushing my luck.
“You’re talking about the panthers?” I asked. I hadn’t quite believed they were in the vicinity. Like I said, DUMB.
“I am. They’re here. I strongly suggest you leave her home next time.”
Okay, yes! I want to see a panther, even though I’d probably piss myself. But this is Suki’s last trip to the Corkscrew.