The temperature has been a bit cooler. It has been cloudy and somewhat rainy. I`m talking about the last week or so. Grasses and weeds have grown prolifically. So, too, have mosquitoes and deer flies, yellow biting flies.
Now we are in our second day of sunshine. The ground is drying out. It has not rained in a few days. It is time to take a ride through the hinterlands, the swamps, the forests, the places most people steer clear of, avoid.
So I set off critter huntin`. It`s early in the morning. This particular trip is rich in sights, smells, and sounds. The forests and roadways are noticeably green. And the swamps are full of water, clear and the color of fresh brewed tea.
A couple days back along this same stretch of road, an alligator was hit and killed on the pavement. The gator was about five feet in length. I`ll bet it was an intentional road kill. The next day, the gator was gone. Something had dragged it off the road.
Just before leaving the hard surface to get on the dirt back into the forest, a large hairy armadillo lay dead in the road. Perhaps it, too, was an intentional road kill. I`ve seen folks swerve to hit and swerve to miss in this part of the country. Neither idea, a good one for driving.
Back in the forest on a grassy spot, were three deer, all watching me go by. They were wearing their summer colors, their reddish coats. Deer seem to be larger the past year of so than a few years back.
Two different rafters of turkeys passed over the dirt road to the front. Turkeys seem to be larger and in greater numbers this year. I`ve seen more in full display as well.
A red shouldered hawk, flying about fifteen feet up crossed the road from this side to that. Not that far ahead, a great bald eagle flew straight down the road a good fifty yards ahead before looking back at me, peeling off to the side, up over the trees, and out of sight.
A couple of Suwannee River kites crisscrossed the road. A red-bellied woodpecker flew off to the side. And an unseen pileated woodpecker cackled somewhere back in the forest.
I`ve noticed since the swamps have been so dry for so long, the plants have changed, particularly those with no woody growth, the annuals. Water lilies of a different kind have replaced the broad-leafed white and yellow ones.
There are more marsh mallows, marsh potatoes, mallows, morning glories and wild grasses than before. Accompanying these changes, few butterflies are present. Most of those butterflies that are seen are swallowtails.
Sometime soon, we`ll focus on more of the plants and flowers, and less on critter huntin`. So that`s it for this road trip.
Why not take a trip of your own, and let`s talk about it while you`re out there looking for Trouble in Cedar Key.
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