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Wildlife in St Andrews

St Andrews State Park has been unexpectedly full of interesting creatures to see, and I’m not talking about the other campers. Across the way from our campsite a pair of baby Great Horned Owls fell from their nest high in a pine tree, and (since their mother was unable to retrieve them) they have been relocated to a box a bit lower down in a pine tree where everyone can see them.


They spend most of their day sleeping, as nocturnal birds should, but like good babies they wake up randomly to take a look around. They are growing rapidly, according to campers who have been here for a week or more.


Mother Owl keeps an eye on them from her perch far above. This photo is a crop of a 200mm zoom shot without a tripod, hence some blurriness. She’s never far away from the nest, and occasionally the presumed father has been spotted around the campground too. We never saw that Great Horned Owl in Tucson but at least we are finally seeing one here. It’s fun to walk out of the trailer during the work day to go watch the fluffy owl babies snoozing in their nest.

As expected, I did spend the day at work, but for an hour in the afternoon I broke away with Adam for a bicycle ride, and during that we spotted this fellow, a Florida softshell turtle. He/she was talking a stroll across the road but was apparently struck by indecision midway through. Note the unusual pointed snout on this distinctive Florida species.


Apparently these turtles can be rather aggressive, but a state park worker soon came by and lifted the large turtle with bare hands, and carried him off to the side of the road. The turtle didn’t smile about it, but he satisfied himself with a half-hearted nip at the worker and thereafter tolerated the ride.

This evening around sunset I plan to take the tripod over to “Gator Lake” and see if I can spot some alligators. It’s a long shot but a worthy photographic exercise. Even if I get nothing I’ll still get a photography lesson out of it.

By the way, Emma’s big gift last night was a Fluke pineapple ukulele. She also snagged several books, including two about dragons and a magic wand-maker’s kit. That cheap tourist uke I had handed down to her sounded just awful, so I’m hoping this better one will further encourage her learning. I just have to resist the temptation to monopolize it, because it sounds so good.

Tomorrow we are heading out to Manatee Springs State Park, halfway around the bend of Florida. There is no cellular or Internet service there, so it’s likely I won’t be able to update the blog until Friday.

One Response to “Wildlife in St Andrews”

  1. leigh + brian Says:

    Happy birthday Emma! (awesome owls!)