Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ocala National Forest

Last night we camped at Lake Griffin State Park in Fruitland Park, Florida, on our way to Ocala National Forest.  Native Americans and earlier cultures traveled and fished this area, now know as the Harris Chain of Lakes,forthousands of years beforesettlersappearedin themid1800's.  This land, now the park, was used for farming and citrus through the 1930's and early 40's.  The state purchased 383 acres in 1946 and in 1968, the park opened.

The park's oldest inhabitant is a mammoth live oak which is documented as Florida's fifth largest, and is most likely more than 300 years old.  Although we did not see this oak we saw a couple of others that were impressive!

There's also the Dead River Marsh, home to wading birds and other species, along with alligators, otters, and more.

We thought we had great views of pileated woodpeckers at Highlands Hammock State Park, well, we awoke to two of these birds above our picnic table,doing their "Kik-kik-kik" call, and pecking away at limbs, sending pieces of bark down our way.  Here's a photo, and if you're lucky, you might see the pileated!

Pileated woodpecker on the right side of center tree trunk

While I ate boring cereal, Michael ate egg roll ups with a farm stand fresh tomato!

Live oak