Today was the first day since I've been in Florida where we all slept in and it sure did feel good. I got up at roughly 7:45 and was out of the house around 9. I was originally planning to go to the Weedon Island Preserve, but I thought I would stay closer to the house and decided to go back to the John Chestnut Park. I first went over to the boardwalk to watch the baby gators and see what other wildlife I could find. Upon arrival I found the American Bittern and took a few shots with my 500mm. Since that lens was too much I headed back to my car to get my 100-400mm. When I returned, she was gone and I focused my attention on a moorhen who was swimming around relatively close and putting on a nice little show for me. Just before noon my old friend from the Navy met me there with his wife and daughter (Jason, Stephanie, and Allison) and my sister met me with her husband and kids (Tammy, Jeff, Tyler, and Kayla). We enjoyed a packed lunch and the kids played on the playground.
After the kids played for roughly an hour, we went over to see the baby gators. At one point there were four little gators soaking in the sun and periodically moving about. We all stood around and watched and enjoyed the gators for at least a half hour. Eventually we started to leave when we noticed a small black racer snake in the grass so we stopped to look at it. While watching it we also noticed a frog nearby and out of nowhere the black racer leaped in the air toward the frog. All three of us grown woman screamed like scared little girls. We were suddenly mesmerized and stood there gaping as if we were sitting at the edge of our seats watching a scary movie. Minutes later the snake lunged again and the three of us once again squealed like scared little school girls. We then continued to watch for a bit longer and nothing else happened. The frog sat there and we didn't see the snake again.
We proceeded towards the southern end of the park so we could walk the Peggy Park trail. As we began on the trail, we spotted two great horned owls. The female was sitting in the nest (presumably on eggs) and the male was sitting high in a tree keeping an eye on the nest and the surroundings. Roughly half way through the trail we found one of the barred owls. She was sitting in a nice spot at eye level, but was slightly camouflaged by palm tree leaves.
After the walk everyone left me and I went back up to watch the baby gators. Not much else happened with them, but I did see and photograph an osprey who circled around and snatched a branch off a tree to bring back to the nest.
Since I've been here in Florida, I've been trying to use a photograph of different animals for each day as my blog. Most of the animals I saw today where animals I've already posted pics of so I decided to use a shot of a Moorhen. I don't see these guys in New York, but they seem to be everywhere in Florida.