A trip to a nature preserve today led us first to an impressive heron sculpture, part of the parking lot with a wing giving cover to a seating area!
From parking, a boardwalk took us through flooded Florida swamp with really still water for reflection photos, and eventually to various lakes:
Various wildlife too – here’s photos of a small turtle on a fallen branch, and a much bigger one in the distant water:
Later, we spotted our only Alligator, half of it at least, on a log with another turtle …
Tried to take photos of fish too – hard with the reflections, but a couple came out (the long skinny fish is a Florida Gar, the other might be a catfish – there were many of these, all in dug outs in the sand, or even what appeared to be tunnels/caves in the sand!)
We enjoy visiting Oakland Nature Preserve with its boardwalk through “wild Florida swamp” to Lake Apopka; we also enjoy visiting The Avian Reconditioning Center where Owls, Eagles, and other birds of prey are looked after either to release back to the wild after injury, or permanently kept if they are not well enough to survive in the wild.
This past weekend, ARC visited Oakland and we got to see both at the same time! First a presentation from ARC including a Barred Owl, Swallowtail Kite, Osprey, and Bald Eagle:
Later, we took the boardwalk down to Lake Apopka – and spotted six young / small alligators in the swamp either side – very cute!
Our city does a great job both of creating a nice place to live, and of promoting it – they’ve just updated their visitors map (available printed from city hall, or online here) and I grabbed a screenshot of it. I see it’s already got Burger Fi that only opened this week!
Ending our trip with another visit to Brighton, my favorite seaside town in England due to it’s pebble beach (previous visits: 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008); here’s photos from this trip:
Like on our previous England trip, we spent a few days in London – it’s a great city to tour on foot, or on the many bus / boat options available! We stayed close to Tower Bridge (and even saw it opening), and toured as far as the Houses of Parliament.
We also visited the Tate Modern; while none of the “art” there was particularly appealing, we did enjoy the views from the top (available at no cost, too!):
While visiting Margaret’s sister, we also visited Burghley House with it’s spectacular grounds and even more spectacular ceiling and wall murals inside! Really a bit of a must see …
Today we spent time walking on the quayside in Newcastle / Gateshead, as well as walking around Newcastle … more pictures (and ice-cream!)