Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Moss Park --South Orlando Fl.

EG Simmons has Osprey; WP Franklin has Eagles; Moss Park has Sand Hill Cranes.  As soon as we were parked and unhooked, the welcoming committee strutted up our driveway and greeted us with a Jurassic Park loud raucous squawk.  Next a bright red male 
Moss Park
Cardinal perched in the leafy green bush next to our dining room window to say Hello.  Most of the sites in Moss Park are placed well apart and each is thick with tall swaying pine trees, live oaks draped with Spanish moss and stubby palmetto shrubs.  Site #31 was ours for the week and we could even see Lake Mary Jane thru the trees and over the swamp grasses behind them.  While searching for the sand hill crane nest area out in that swamp grass area, I am POSITIVE I even heard 2 alligators calling to each other!  If not gators they were really big frogs!  

One day our venture took us south to St Cloud to meet George, our dear friend and former naturalist/camp host at Moss Park, for lunch at our favorite seafood restaurant, the Catfish Place.  The day was gray and cool as we parked the truck at the lakeside park that we visit on each trip to St Cloud.  As we walked out on the pedestrian dike lined with small Cypress Trees there were several white ducks doing the “butts up” act to look for a tasty morsel under the water.  Further out we cited 2 dusty brown ducks that were obviously uneasy with us interfering with their lunch hour.  Just out past these ducks were 2 dark colored ducks with wide white bands under their dark wings. They kept disappearing under the water when we got too close.  It’s a good thing we took pictures and then had an Audubon Bird book to look them up so we can now tell everyone that we saw both female and male Lesser Scaup Ducks! 
Orlando Eye

Another daytrip took us around the north side of the airport to International Drive in the tourist area of Orlando.  The newest attraction is the Orlando Eye, which is to open early this summer. This 400 ft tall ferris wheel is surrounded by more fancy dining establishments, fancy waterfalls, palm trees and floral gardens.  It is said that on a clear day you can see the coast from up on the top of the wheel.  The “cages” that carry passengers to the very top are stand up cages!  It is said that the ferris wheel will not stop to take on or let off riders.

Monument in Kissimmee
On still another gray day of exploration, we ended up in the historic portion of Kissimmee – west of St Cloud and south of Orlando. We strolled thru the waterfront park and stopped to investigate an unusual stone and rock stacked tower called the Monument of States. There were large granite boulders from the state of Michigan and other articles from various states imbedded in this tall structure.  We’ve also been curious about the new Sun Rail train, a new mode of transportation that is to run thru Orlando.  Almost as soon as we crossed the road from the monument and approached the small quaint train station to ask about it, a fast moving Amtrak train screamed to a halt in front of the busy little station.

We’ve also met Gerry and Marian from Ontario. They are wanderers like us!  She and I are crafters and we happily swapped patterns and ideas!  Gerry and H swapped stories about planes, trailers and boats amongst’ all the rest!

Saturday was dominated by rain, more rain and even MORE rain!  The campground has been turned into one big swamp with narrow ribbons of gravel where the campers were parked.  All those weekend tenters who came expecting a weekend of family fun ended up packing up early and heading for home or at least higher drier ground!  Our exciting part of the day was finally spotting a Sherman Squirrel!  These unusual dark headed creatures are way larger than any regular fox or gray squirrel and are rather imposing for a little rodent!
On Sunday morning while enjoying our morning coffee from the couch and recliner, H glanced thru the back window and hollered “ Babies!”  Outside was the resident pair of Sand Hill Cranes that nest behind our site - out in all that swamp grass.  Darting around and between their tall skinny black legs were their pair of day old babies! Yes – I fed them wheat bread crusts while H kept the camera clicking!  When the crusts were gone, Mom and Dad Crane scratched the damp dark dirt with their sharp beaks and dug up grubs to feed the chicks.  Later on, I caught the little tan bundles napping beside the path that led to the bathhouse!  Sadly a raccoon, a snake or even an alligator will probably end their short sweet life. 
Everything is now packed away and Monday is moving day again. Trimble Park has a spot with our name on it!  The weatherman says sunshine and temps in the low 80’s is scheduled for the upcoming week!  Maybe my toes will dry out and not look like big wrinkled white prunes!!