The birds and the trees

Today MJ and I headed up to the horse and bike trails at San Felasco Hammock in Alachua.  We weren’t really sure about which part we wanted to follow, so we started on the bike trail, walked a bit, and turned around to head to the horse trail because we hoped we’d see some horses at least.  We got over to the horse trail and saw a sign that said it was 36 miles long.  As we were looking toward the left at that sign, a hawk that had been sitting on a fence to the right of us flew away before I could even get my camera on.  The field above is actually not a horse pasture; it’s off the bike trail where horses aren’t allowed and it’s for remote control gliders.  I’m not sure what the hay bales are for.

We walked a little way along the horse trail, but it was sandy and not as pretty as the bike trail, so we turned around. Between the two trails was this pretty little maple, almost divested of all its leaves.  The amazing symmetry of this tree shows that it has never had to fight for sun from among the other trees.  I love how the green leaves of the oak set off the remaining red leaves and white branches of the maple.

We did see a lot of birds who would fly away just as I got focused on them.  Autofocus is a bit useless for birds because there are always branches that it wants to focus on.  I have a lot of respect for people who do manage to get beautiful photos of birds.  I don’t think I will ever be one of them.  We did see cardinals, chickadees, hawks and crows.  I’m pretty sure this one is a Carolina wren, hidden in the middle of those vines, but I won’t be shocked if someone tells me I’m wrong.

Mostly, though, we saw trees.  Big, beautiful live oaks, thick with Tarzan vines and Spanish moss.  These trees are so graceful and are pure Florida to me.  When we would visit my grandmother as a kid, one of the best things was the plank swing that my father and uncle and a cousin or two hung in a huge live oak tree.  That swing was big enough for two kids, and it floated rather than flew.  Even after watching Gone with the Wind and other southern movies with live oaks lining long lanes, they always make me think of my grandmother’s house in Florida rather than beauty and elegance in Georgia or South Carolina.

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