The mid-afternoon departure from Fort De Soto Park turned out to be a good move as I was able to avoid the majority of the Friday rush hour mess on the way to my sister’s place in north Tampa. As it turned out, she had gone to a lot of trouble finding a restaurant featuring stone crabs, my favorite Florida delicacy. Seems that stone crabs are in very short supply this season and Kristi had to search all over Tampa to locate even one restaurant offering them. Good thing I wasn’t late.
Embarrassingly, I had never visited my sister’s quaint bungalow home in the twenty years she has lived there. Just as I anticipated, it was a jewel. Well cared for and fashionably decorated, it certainly reflected Kristi’s personality. Knowing her energy level, I wasn’t surprised when she announced she would be getting up early and joining me on my morning shoot. Astonishingly, this outdoorsy-type gal was unaware of the park I had scheduled. Not to worry, we would learn together.
Lettuce Lake Park turned out to be a little gem. Boardwalks wove through swamps along the edges of a small lake. We enjoyed a great day together and I had a sherpa carrying half my equipment!
The overgrown vegetation of the swamp was eerily beautiful in its own right. Add a reflective Great White Egret and you have a painting.
The boardwalk was a runway for this diminutive red squirrel.
Directly overhead, this little guy was eyeballing me as he ate the growth buds off a small branch.
The Wood Stork’s head and neck really did resemble the bark of a tree.
As they scoured the swamp bottom for food, Wood Storks would reach to the side and scratch the mud with its claw hoping to scare prey into their waiting open beaks.
We watched as this Anhinga tried unsuccessfully to devour its catch whole. Not five minutes before, a Great Blue Heron on the opposite side of the boardwalk had caught an equally large fish and consumed it easily. The growth was too dense to get a good photo but how incredible it was to witness such an event twice in such a short time frame.
We had many opportunities for great poses.
There were many Painted Turtles and, although they didn’t create any action shots, we did watch his guy slip into the water.
This little guy seemed to be doing a full extension yoga stretch. Thanks for a total anatomical view.
Log sitting in the sun seemed to be the answer to the cold water.
Reflections of this Great White Egret and the large cedar stump created my most favorite memories of the day at Lettuce Lake Park with my sister.