Sunday, November 30, 2008

Piney Z Lake shoreline

I hiked Swift Creek woods from my home this weekend, looking for indian mounds. I don't really know much about mounds but there are still many in Florida even though the most famous ones were broken up for road beds many years ago. If you are in Florida and notice a road with crushed shells, they might have come from a Calusa mound! Wow!

The Swift Creek woods are between me and the PineyZ and Lafayette Lakes and I rode my bike in these woods a lot before developers built the hundreds of homes and the middle school in the middle of the former Swift Creek Indian encampments. I have been looking for the forty mounds said to be in the area. I did see several of what I have discovered are called ridge or bank barrow mounds. I wasn't sure when I was looking and I am still not sure but it "seemed" as though they were mounds. I don't really know if Indians built such mounds, actually. I 'm only guessing. I have put in a query to my Fish and Wildlife friend but haven't heard back as yet.

Some very large pine and live oak trees have been left to grow around these lakes. I tried to photograph one here. The circumference was probably two people's arms encircled and touching.

I have been walking with the Trixie dog and trying to learn better pack leadership skills with her because she is quite dominant even though she doesn't have issues and has been well trained in the past. She is much hardier than I originally thought and we will be walking a great deal more. Also I have begun to understand the notion of energy communication, small cuffs from a half closed hand for correction, and the order of a dog's needs. Also the idea of calm, energy, and the need for a dog to be trained to be calm makes so much sense. Behavior training that is applicable to dogs and humans is a curious phenomenon, to be sure. Treating phobias is virtually the same approach but humans can be very stubborn about not giving them up! Dogs, not so much...

From the end of my neighborhood one slips into the woods by a path next to the school property and it goes along the railroad tracks and down into the paths by the lakes. I am hoping Trixie claims this for her migrating territory and gets familiar with it and knows it is her home range.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Looking for Indian Mounds at Piney Z

I was so thrilled with the numbers of birds out on these lakes last Sunday that I went out again yesterday after a few hours of work, until dusk. I intended to look for mounds but this proved difficult from the water. So I went after some more woodstork photos. Look at the aerodynamics!


I set out on Piney Z lake going towards the western end which is a new trip for me. This side is usually too low and swampy to kayak up to the banks. I looked all along this side for anything which might be a mound but decided I need to get out and walk on my next trip, which I will do.
Here is a view of the roosting area on PineyZ
You can see from this photo that the egrets and woodstorks roost together. The woodstork rookery at the eastern end of Lake Lafayette is said to be the largest in north Florida.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

10,000 Hours

I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's third book, "Outliers". The title grabbed my attention because as a trained behavioral scientist, I knew outliers to be those points (or people) which are unique. I have always been attracted to outliers in the world of humans and I suspect I might be one myself (not in terms of intelligence, but more in terms of lifestyle). At any rate, I was not disappointed reading this book. It was fascinating.

The ten thousand hour concept which he notes as a point for becoming proficient at something is illustrated with a story about the Beatles and their gigs in Hamburg before they hit it big. I counted my hours up as a psychotherapist and I got a conservative estimate of 30,000 hours. But I am left with the question...."What is it that I am actually good at?" The best I can come up with is that I can listen and get what people are about. But my behavioral scientist training prevents me from saying that I might be good at anything else connected with shrinking heads. I would have to quantify the skills...and what they heck are they, anyway?And how do I measure outcome? Where is DR. T (brilliant behavioral scientist) when you need him?You can see I'm in the swamp! I better flee! Yikes!!

The cypress tree photo was taken in Lake Lafayette. This is another prairie lake which had indians living all around it. Piney Z is said to have as many as forty indian mounds in the immediate area so my next foray will be to look for mounds.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bald Eagle on Piney Z Lake

At long last I have found some time to kayak. I went walking early Saturday morning on the Cadillac trail next to Piney Z. There were so many birds overwintering at the lakes I decided I had to make time to come out today. Here are some of my photos of the birds I saw.

American Bittern on Lake Lafayette

Woodstorks at Piney Z Lake

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday Float on The Wacissa

These laughing ghosts are part of the cypress you see below which is in a cove that has until recently been impassable. I had a long conversation with Duck after he dropped off a muzzle loading hunter and he told me this hunter had cleared out this cove. It seems to have a spring in it and Duck confirmed this. Ruby was still asleep but she came out later to fish.
This is a view of the cove.
There are lots of fritillaries out now and the swamp flowers are alive with bees. What a relief to know there are still honey bees out there! The bumble bees are easier to see, though!

I am still learning the settings on my camera and have finally figured out how to get better close ups without buying a macro lens. I'm not one to study technical descriptions of my camera but prefer to experiment which probably takes much longer in terms of the learning process.

Long tailed- skipperThere weren't too many birds out today. The cold weather seems to have driven them to warmer hangouts. Osprys aren't too common on the Wacissa.

I have been eager to take a look at the river during this transition from summer to winter. I arrived about 9am and I was alone at the headwaters. Six hours later I returned to the ramp! Here are some of my images from the day!