Today was my second full day in Florida and I had so much fun. I got up early and headed out to Honeymoon Island State Park to look for wildlife. I arrived shortly after 8am and parked at the North Beach and headed onto the trails. It was extremely windy where I parked by the beach, but once I hit the trails the wind wasn't so bad. I first started on the osprey trail, then shot over to the pelican trail and had to backtrack back to the osprey trail to continue. I completed all of the trails and saw a TON of osprey.
The pelican trail wasn't exactly what I expected as I expected to see pelicans and I didn't see a single one. However, I did see osprey and even a bald eagle or two. The osprey trail completely held up to its name as there were over 20 different osprey nests. I saw osprey perched in trees and flying by (some with fish, some with nesting material and some with nothing at all). I even saw a pair of osprey mating which was really awesome!
As I was finishing up the trail, the rangers who worked at the park stopped and pointed out where the great horned owls were. The female was sitting in an old crows nest and the male was perched high in a tree, just above the sign for the great horned owls. It was hard to see the the female in the nest because she was ducked down. In fact, we could only see her tufts when the wind blew and moved the leaves out of the way. The male was in a relatively decent spot, however, he never looked at me, so I only have photo's of the back of his head. At that point my sister met up with me with her daughter and I was able to show my niece the owl. I think my niece enjoyed seeing it as she had a big smile as she looked at it on the lcd screen of my camera.
After we watched the great horned owl for a couple of minutes, we headed over to the playground and enjoyed the shade and swings. My sister couldn't stay long as she had to go pick up her son, so I then left and headed back over to John Chestnut Park.
My afternoon at John Chestnut was really awesome. I first went over to check on the gators and found two babies close to the boardwalk. They must be roughly 12-18 inches long and are so cute. While I was on the boardwalk watching them I also saw a green heron, a snake bird (Anhinga), a little blue heron, both male and female boat tailed grackles, turtles, osprey, and bald eagles. I was only there for roughly 90 minutes and started to head out and back to my sisters house when I saw a red shouldered hawk on the road. The hawk was incredibly cooperative for me and didn't even care that I was there. It first started on the ground, then went on the handicap sign, back to the ground, into a tree, back to the ground, onto a rock and back to the ground again before it finally flew off. I was so impressed by how cooperative the beautiful hawk was and thought I would share a shot of him today.