Revisiting Crystal River Preserve State Park

Revisiting Crystal River Preserve State Park

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and taking some time to be in nature was much needed, and I got to do that with a couple of new friends.

Most of the time, when I visit places with other people, I don’t tend to focus on photography. I focus more on adding flora and fauna to my iNaturalist observations. 

Currently, I have 6593 observations and 1418 species. My goal for the end of 2021 is to add at least ten more species and 100 more observations. The little camera that could, right?

The last time I visited Crystal River Preserve State Park was with my husband, and we didn’t get too far. The deer flies were horrendous! We didn’t even make it 200 feet into the property. But this time the environment was more enjoyable. The weather was perfect and included some impressive mud spots showcasing tracks from the local wildlife.

We all know, once we- it can be photographers, birders, or plant people, get within 500 feet surrounded in nature, it takes us 30 minutes to move forward one inch! And you know what, that’s OK.

I love that when you are with like-minded people, you can talk about plants, birds, trees, animal poop, and other interesting things.  There may be no rhyme or reason for some of our discussions. It’s just fun, which makes being in nature enjoyable. 

It will always be said when you are out in nature, being there at the right place at the right time. Sometimes that can be a good thing, and well, sometimes it can be a close call. On that day it was one and both!

Oh, the wading birds! Wood Storks, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbills, Belted Kingfishers, Tricolored Herons, Little Blue Herons, and throw in an American Alligator, and you got the best of the marshes. 

While walking along the trail, a group of wading birds flocked upon our arrival, and it was quite a surprise and exciting. We walked just a little further to find a spot where we could get some break from the tall grasses to see the birds, and for some reason, we just stopped. “Gator crossing!” Barbara said. 

She just happened to turn to face the trail and saw a good-sized, healthy 5-6 foot American Alligator crossing the trail. 

Now, the thousand “what ifs” crossed our minds, well it did for me. What if we didn’t stop and just kept walking. Oh boy. It was definitely the right time to stop and look at birds!

There are a couple of places along the 1-2 mile trail that are just amazing. A view that can take you back to what it was- Old Florida. It’s at those places that you need to stop. Honestly, you need to stop and take a good long look. See how unique Florida’s marshes are, feel the breeze flowing, hear the water traveling, it’s at that moment, that time to clear and reset mentally. 

Even though we just went to the 2.5 miles out of the 7-mile loop, it was a great day.  

I am looking forward to the day when I can have all my adventurous nature photo lunch ladies all together for one day in nature. 

If you surround yourself with like-minded people, you will never be alone and never be without conversation.

Be safe in your travels!

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