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Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Point Park is one of my favorite parks in Volusia County.   It is a beach paradise located on the southern tip of Ponce Inlet, Florida.  Lighthouse Point Park is located on the same tip as the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum and the Marine Science Center.   For more information on the park visit https://www.volusia.org/services/public-works/coastal-division/coastal-parks/lighthouse-point-park.stml and to learn about the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum visit http://ponceinlet.org/ and the Marine Science Center is http://www.marinesciencecenter.com/.

There is a fee to enter the park, paid $20 for the annual park pass.   Once you enter there is several places to park with 4 different boardwalks that go to the beach.  The park has an isolated feel to it, I think because of its remote location  and all the trees.  You can walk and one the boardwalks and see just trees, glimpses of the ocean and no other people.

First set of photos are of the entrance to the park and the boardwalk.   So far I have only walked the southern most boardwalk but I am sure I will eventually walk all 4.  I plan on making more trips to the park. 

 

Second set of the photos show views of the beach.  There is a pier on the rocks with lots of people fishing.    Dogs are allowed in the park and you will see signs reminding the dog owner’s to pick up the poop.  

 

Third set of photos are of some other things that can be seen at the park.   Across the Ponce Inlet you can see the New Smyrna Dune’s Park which is another wonderful park.  From the Lighthouse Point Park you can see the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse.   I also included some photos of people surfing and parasailing.

 

Fourth set of photos are some of the various birds that can be seen at the park.  I saw an eagle but I didn’t get a photo, he was moving way to fast!

 

Remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints

 

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Black Bear Wilderness Area

I have hiked at Black Bear Wilderness Area several times but  only made the whole 7.1 miles one time.   Black Bear Wilderness Area is located  south of the St. John’s River and in the northwest corner of Seminole County.  For more info visit the website at https://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/locations/Black-Bear-Wilderness-Area.stml.   It is a really beautiful area and of course I have taken a ton of photos.

 

 

First set of photos includes a map of the hiking trail, the parking lot and some shots of boardwalk  There are mile markers along the trail and part of the trail is boardwalk.  

 

Second set of photos show more of the trail.  These are from my favorite part the trail – the right side of the loop and where it runs parallels the St. John’s River.   There are sections that have signs explaining the ecosystem and some of the animals that live in the area.

 

Third set of photos show parts of the trail that in not on a boardwalk.  The trail can be very rugged, especially where it runs parallel to the St. John’s River.   The trail is uneven in places with big up and down sections and tree roots growing thru the middle of the trail.

 

The last set of photos are of all the wildlife photos I have taken at Black Bear Wilderness Area.  I have seen owls, hawks, snakes, alligators, limpkins, great blue heron, insects, butterflies, turtles and much more while hiking the area.  The day I had hiked the whole 7.1 mile loop there were a lot of pygmy rattlesnakes out warming up and drying out.  This hike was in October 2018 and we had alot of rain over the summer.  The area was still a little water logged and the snakes where all of along the sides of the trail.

 

Remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints

 

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OWP birds

I have taken a lot photos of birds at Orlando Wetland Park .  OWP (Orlando Wetlands Park) is a great place to go birding, there are supposed to be over 150 different types of birds.  I haven’t seen nearly that many but I have seen quite a few.  

 

 

This is a anhinga (I believe)  and he is eating a fish.  It looks like a small catfish but plenty big for the anhinga. 

 

In these pictures , a roseate spoonbill is goofing off with this other bird.  If you know the name of it, leave me a comment and I’ll add it.   It looked like there were showing off  for us or maybe having a I grooming contest, I am not sure but they were fun to watch.   I thought the pictures were great and I wanted to share. 

 

The Orlando Wetlands Park is located in Christmas, Florida off of Wheeler Road.  For more information on the park you can see my other blog post at https://lilsusieq.com/orlando-wetlands-park/  or the Orlando Wetlands website at http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/.    

Remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints

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Baby alligators at OWP

On my last visit to the  Orlando Wetlands Park (OWP) I finally got to see baby alligators!    OWP is located in Christmas, Florida off of Wheeler Road.  For more information on the park you can see my other blog post at https://lilsusieq.com/orlando-wetlands-park/  or the Orlando Wetlands website at http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/.    I had been to OWP prior to getting my new camera in January but this was the first time I had enough zoom to get a decent picture.   I had seen pictures others had posted on Facebook and I was dying to see them myself. 

On this trip to OWP we had taken the free tram with the tour guides and they knew just were to look to see the mama and baby alligators.  They hanging out in a small little shaded pond off of Hawk Hwy near the Education Center.  She had a couple sitting on her and more in the water.   Despite what it looks like in the picture, I didn’t get to close, I was on the bank on the other side of the water.   Mother alligators can be very protective.   A limpkin was hanging out in the pond too, I guess he wasn’t worried about getting eaten.

 

And remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints!

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Oyler Overlook at OWP

 The Oyler Overlook is one of my favorite spots at the Orlando Wetlands Park (OWP).  OWP is located in Christmas, Florida off of Wheeler Road.  For more information on the park you can see my other blog post at https://lilsusieq.com/orlando-wetlands-park/  or the Orlando Wetlands website at http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/

Oyler Overlook is about a 30 to 45 minute walk or longer from the parking lot.  The time really varies depending on how much you stop to enjoy the view and watch the wildlife.   You can also bike at the park which is a great way to see even more of the park.

Sometimes there are volunteers provide tours and you can ride the free tram.  That is what we did on this particular visit.   The tour guide told me the spikes on the Oyler Overlook sign are there to discourage birds from sitting on the sign.    He said they didn’t want the birds pooping on the sign but it doesn’t always work.    The hill actually changes size by small but an measurable amount.  The guide told me the hill is made from the dirt dug to make the ponds.  When it rains the hill will swell and will increase by inches.

As you can see from these pictures, the view of the OWP from hill is really breathtaking.

 

In the pond across from the hill, the Cypress Swamp, there is a Osprey nest.   You can just make out the Osprey sitting in it.      A beautiful pair of  sandhill cranes were having lunch on the hill as well.

 

And remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints!

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Overlook Park

On the south shore of Lake Jesup in Seminole County is the wonderful little park called Overlook Park.  It is a small park, about 3 acres, but is great for fishing, watching birds and seeing alligators.    The address is 1988 Spring Avenue, Oviedo and the website https://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/locations/301555-Overlook-Park.stml

I live in Oviedo so I visit park fairly often, every time I go see something different.   I like to stop at Sonic and get a large milkshake to drink at the park and while this does nothing for the diet, I really enjoy it.   The park has a small parking lot, picnic tables and a boardwalk.  There are no bathrooms or playground.   Near the entrance of the park is a Seminole County Historic Marker – it gives some history of the area.

These photos are some of the park and boardwalk.  You can see SR 417 from the park and it is pretty after dark, I enjoy watching all the cars to buy with their lights.

 

 

I have seen quite a few different birds including black birds, egrets, anhinga, limpkin, red wing blackbird, vultures and osprey.  

These photographs are some of my best pictures of birds.

 

There is beautiful little limpkin family living at the park.  I have taken pictures of them over a period of a month and you can see how big the chicks are getting.

These pictures show the limpkin family, the chicks are so cute!

 

In addition to seeing birds, Overlook Park is a great place to see alligators, squirrels and some amazing sunsets.  I have gone out there six or seven times and I gotten some amazing shots. 

 

As I mentioned, this park is off of Lake Jesup and it is full of alligators.  People go fishing  off of the boardwalk which seem expected.  However there are some people who go in the water, with the alligators, to net fish.  I think they are crazy!  I have asked them and they don’t seem worried about the gators.   The are throwing nets that have weights on them to catch fish so maybe it scares the gators away.

This last set of photos are of these guys fishing in the water – did I mention I think they are crazy?

 

And remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints!

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Orlando Wetlands Park

The Orlando Wetlands Park is approximately 1,220 acres  man made water treatment system.   It removes nitrogen and phosphorus from reclaimed water and which then flows in the St. Johns River.   For more information about the Wetlands, its purpose and how the water management works check out the website at http://www.cityoforlando.net/wetlands/.   The park is located off of Wheeler Road in Christmas, Florida.  The address is 25155 Wheeler Road, Christmas, FL 32709.    The Orlando Wetlands Park is a great place to go birds watching or just enjoy see all the wildlife and enjoy beautiful scenery.     At the entrance you will find plenty of parking, an education center, clean bathrooms and a picnic table.    And it is FREE which is something else I love about the park!!

This first set of photographs are some of the pictures I took at the entrance.   We signed in to the Guestbook and made a donation.

 

I have been out there 4 or 5 times now and each time I see something new.  I have gone both walking and hiking but I still haven’t gone down all the paths, it is a pretty big park.  The trails are wide and made of packed sand which are great for biking.    They have free guided tour tram rides but I think the hours / days vary.  You need to see the website for current information.    The guides are very knowledgeable and friendly and this is a great way to see the park. 

The next set of photographs includes a map of the park and the first cell you’ll see on the Birding Loop.   I also have some photos of the tram.

 

The parks has alligators, lots and lots of alligators!  I know some photographers don’t like taking pictures of alligators, they complain the gators don’t do anything.  I enjoy seeing them whether they are sunning,swimming or whatever!  These next pictures are just are my best photos of these amazing reptiles.

 

In addition to the alligators I have seen variety of birds, butterflies and flowers.   The Orlando Wetlands Park Bird checklist says you can see over 150 different types of birds, I have only seen a small portion of them. 

This next set of photos shows some of the different birds I have shot.  Unfortunately I haven’t learned all the names of the birds yet but I am working on it.

 

Lastly, photos of some lovely flowers I have seen at the park.

 

And remember: Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints!