My trip to central Florida was terrific. Two friends and I spent our days exploring some wonderful state parks and preserves around the city of Gainesville, in the Ocala National Forest, and around the town of Lake Placid. Disposed toward more temperate or even cool climates, I'm certain that I sweat off a few pounds in the damp Florida swelter, but the abundant tropical wildlife made up for the mild discomfort.
Among the trip's wildlife highlights were two gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus), one Florida cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti), one yellow rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta quadrivittata), a Great crested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus), a Mississippi kite (Ictinia mississippiensis), a Northern parula (Parula americana), a number of Black-bellied whistling ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis), two Summer tanagers (Piranga rubra), and a pair of Florida scrub jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens).
I've included four "critter" photographs below. More pictures from the trip can be viewed in my Florida 2009 Flickr set.
Photo credit: Hungry Hyaena, 2009