April 30 – May 30.
In the last month, Greg and I spent a lot of time dealing with doctor’s appointments and visiting friends. But in-between all this medical stuff and hanging with our pals we have done a little of that naturalist stuff we love to do – hiking through preserves, wetlands, and parks.
I have recently discovered that if you type “birding” into the search feature on Google Maps a whole bunch of sites will come up. I was especially surprised at how many places popped up in the city when I did this while I was in Atlanta.
So, yes, this is another “birding blog.” I almost thought about not doing this post because none of these places are bowl-you-over amazing even though most of them are right outside (or in) a major city and some of them had some really nice features. And then, I thought, if I didn’t do this post I would be missing an opportunity to share my pictures of nesting Great Blue Herons.
* All pictures are click to enlarge. They are so much better enlarged – especially the pics of the nesting Great Blue Herons. Once enlarged they can be viewed in a slideshow. Hover over the pictures in tiled mosaics for captions. Click pictures in the tiled mosaic to see full captions.
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Greenville, South Carolina
Conestee Nature Preserve
We visited Conestee Nature Preserve when we were in Greenville visiting our friends, David and Michelle. It is just a short drive from our friends’ house. The preserve is a 406-acre state-designated Wildlife Sanctuary. There are lots of trails at this preserve but we only walked one – the one that took us to where Great Blue Herons were nesting.
Tampa Bay, Florida
EG Simmons Regional Park Canoe Trail
We hopped on over to Tampa Bay in between doctors’ appointments. We found a great inexpensive campground at E.G. Simmons Regional Park right on the bay with a nice canoe trail.
Bahia Beach Nature Preserve
Bahia Beach Nature Preserve was just a short drive from our campsite at E.G. Simmons. There is just one trail at this preserve and a residential area can be seen from it. But this didn’t seem to bother the birds. We found a nice variety of wildlife on our walk in addition to birds, including bugs, flowers, and a wild boar!
A couple of miscellaneous stops
On our way to Bahia Beach, we had to turn the van around. On the edge of a pond, along the side of the road, we saw some ducks we had never seen before – Black-bellied Whistling-ducks! Another short trip to another site on Tampa Bay brought us to Apollo Beach Preserve. The wildlife here consisted mostly of people partying on the beach but I did have fun photographing a Laughing Gull hanging out on top of a light pole.
Further south on Tampa in Bradenton, we found Robinson Preserve. A camping neighbor had told us that it was a good place to kayak. It did look like it would be fun on the water but we were heading back across the state that day and didn’t want to deal with blowing up Pirogue Bleue so we just decided to check it out on foot. The views from the observation tower were beautiful.
Palma Sola Botanical Park
Palma Sola Botanical Park lies just across the street from Robinson Preserve. This 10-acre park showcases collections of rare palms, fruit, and flowering trees as well as other subtropical plants.
Newman Wetlands Center
Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Atlanta, Newman Wetlands Center is owned by the Clay County Water Authority. Prior to its purchase by the Water Authority in 1970, the land was once used for timber harvest, cotton farming, and as Boy Scouts camp for African American Scouts.
Blue Heron Nature Preserve
The 30-acre Blue Heron Nature Preserve is a little oasis in the city of Atlanta. The preserve includes trails, a community garden, a research and education center, and art.
Upstate South Carolina
Ashmore Heritage Preserve
While we were visiting friends in the hills of Upstate South Carolina we took a little hike. I think we were in the Ashmore Heritage Preserve but I’m not sure because we enter the trail from a sort of backway. I didn’t get any pictures of birds that day (all those dang trees were in my way) but we did find some other interesting wildlife.
Right now this very minute…
We are parked at Greg’s parents’ house. By the time you read this, though, we should be back on the road – heading north. Our plan is to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway to visit my Aunt in Pennsylvania, then from there spend a week and a half working our way to Massachusets where we have a house-sitting gig for some good friends until the middle of July. After our house-sit, we will be off for more exploring in New England. Where exactly we aren’t sure. We are open to suggestions. Let us know if you have any!
It is quite possible that I will be sharing this post on any one of these sites this week: My Corner of the World, Travel Tuesday, Wild Bird Wednesday, Through My Lens, Skywatch Friday, Our World Tuesday, and Sharon’s Souvenirs. Check out these links to see what other people are doing all over the world!