Living things in Lakeland

January 15, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

All things that move 

He sat across the pond, close to the edge, not moving. Not an inch. For at least an hour. Then came the yawn. When it finally reached its peak, a small child could have disappeared forever inside. A few moments later, he stood, slowly, on short, thin legs. Thinner than I'd imagined they would be, due to his enormous size.
As he moved closer to the pond, I could see his reflection in the water first. Then two long strides later he was fully immersed, only eyeballs peering out through the swampy grass.
Then he turned slowly and moved diagonally through the glassy water directly toward me, his eyes never leaving mine. I backed up the hill a little and clung to the fence but couldn't take my eyes off him. He glided into the shallow waters below me and stopped, keeping his eyes locked on mine. It would  be a lie to say that I didn't lose a breath or two, even though he was still a safe distance away. We stayed like that, neither moving, for several long, chilly minutes before he grew tired of me, turned and disappeared some distance later into the reeds. I went home.

Birds with a death wish. Alligator at Sanlan Golf & RV Resort








Every RV park we've stayed at this year has its own unique personality. One was massive with all types of recreational activities including a 'lazy river' inner tube ride and adorable tiki pool bar. Another was walking distance to the most beautiful white-sand beaches I've seen since Australia. And this one, Sanlan Golf & RV Resort in Lakeland, Florida, is a haven for all creatures great and small (thanks for the perfect description James Harriot). Living on the prairies, I'm used to seeing coyotes, wolves and black bears. But when you turn a corner and run smack into an alligator, it's an entirely new level of 'holy shit'.
The RV park has seven miles of nature trails that wind past ponds, canals and several holes of the attached golf course. It is pretty much heaven on a hot Florida afternoon as most of the miles are shaded from the sun by massive trees heavily draped with amazing Spanish moss. Also hanging from the trees are birdhouses. Dozens and dozens, all shapes and sizes. My guess is they were made in one shop class or another by previous mobile residents of the park.


No matter if I walk all seven miles of trails, or just pop out for a quick stroll before dinner, there hasn't been a time in our few weeks here that I haven't encountered some creature, large or small. Close by are several nature preserves that help boost the bird population, I'm certain. The more I try to photograph these flighty creatures, the more addicted I get. Getting one in focus is a small victory!

Sandhill cranes


Diving pelican




Egret

Ibis

Turkey vulture


Great Blue Heron eating a snake

Great Blue Heron

Even if creatures great and small aren't your thing, the trails are perfect for just escaping humanity. Off season hikers are few and far between. So, for the rest of the month, if you need me I'll be somewhere between the 8th hole trail and Banana Lake. Just try and find me!















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