I got my knees sandy taking this picture

DSC_0276

Wake up, old blog. I summon you from your long nap to be my online journal and scrapbook again. (I’ve still got the bird blog.)

How delightful is this mushroom? See how it just lifted the sand right up on its cap? It was sprouting from a sandy trail in Hawk’s Bluff Preserve where I took my new camera for a walk this morning.

DSC_0236.jpg

The water lilies, Nymphaea odorata, are not blooming at this time of year. But the saucer leaves are still appealing.

On the trail through the old dunes, with views back to the wetlands, I met a family of four, from Sweden, who asked me where the animals were.

Are there alligators? Can we see them? Are they dangerous? Will they come after you?

DSC_0234.jpg

These questions have longer answers. My answers were short. “I didn’t see any alligators today but I know they’re there. I try to walk slowly on the trail by the water and watch where I’m going. Alligators don’t really bother people.”

Later, when they had walked on, I had a tiny flash of horror that I would read the news about the family of four from Sweden who did not take the proper precautions around Florida’s ubiquitous big fat aquatic very-occasionally-deadly reptiles.

DSC_0288.jpg

I also told them about the gopher tortoises that live here, and bobcats, raccoons, possums, coyotes, and many types of birds including bald eagles. (Here are some Hawk’s Bluff birds I saw on a late September field trip.) Many, especially the mammals, are more active at night, disappointing the tourists.

DSC_0285.jpg

Also, I had just taken some pictures of these bees. “Here are some bees,” I pointed. “They are animals too.”

“Our children are afraid of alligators,” the father confided. The children, who looked between 5 and 8 years old, stared at me as I spoke to their parents. I don’t think they understood English. They stared at me like I was a funny/ scary Florida lady-in-a-birdwatching-hat animal. Giver of alligator advice.

DSC_0256.jpg

This is some kind of swamp rose-mallow, Hibiscus grandiflora. About half of the rose-mallows growing “wild” in Florida are native. But only 36 percent of humans living in Florida were born here.

DSC_0267

We moved to Florida’s “Treasure Coast” two years ago in early December 2016. It was mainly for my husband’s airline pilot job. Taking pictures of flowers on the last day of December is a nice extra.

948bbebb405cef025339dff1ffa04ae9