March 31, 2012 – I visited the Jock River Race official site (http://www.jockriverrace.ca/) again today. I knew that they have decided that the lack of snow cover and no ensuing rainfall to speak of had forced them to move the date for the race ahead to today’s date. No indication this morning that the race might have been canceled so I’m off with my camera to see what interesting action I might be able to capture again this year.
No question about it, Spring is coming. My snowdrops say so.
Weather this morning started out with a few misty rain showers. It then reverted to Kodak’s “cloudy, bright” again. That didn’t stop a small clump of crocuses in my front lawn from opening up for the first time this year. This particular clump has been flowering for about fifteen years now and will flower for about two days. By then, the squirrels will, once again, discover them and eat off everything that is above ground. This clump, and a few other similar clumps, are all that remain of a few hundred crocus bulbs that I planted many years ago. The first few years, the squirrels dug up more than natural multiplication replaced. In recent years, the numbers of surviving crocuses has stabilized but, I can almost guarantee that, within a few days, one or more squirrels will come around to chew these early bloomers right to the ground. Nice to see the early blooms, nonetheless.
We started off the morning X/C skiing at the groomed trails of the Trapp Family Lodge located on a mountainside above Stove, Vermont. There was still lots of snow in the woods but since the weather has been warm during the day and then freezing overnight, the trails, although groomed, were rather hard and granular in the morning when we first started out. As the temperature increased, the snows softened and skiis became more manageable. Continue reading →
The Lyonia Preserve is a relatively new wildlife ecological preserve established to develop a restored scrub preserve in Volusia County north of Orlando, Florida. I first learned of the preserve when visiting the Marine Science Center at Ponce Inlet a few days earlier.
My main reason for visiting the Lyonia Preserve today was to photograph some of the many Florida Scrub Jays that now call the preserve their home. I wasn’t disappointed. The county and school groups have re-established a wonderful scrub habitat and ecosystem. An interesting series of three looped trails allows individuals to walk through the preserve without disturbing the environment. The trails are wide and obvious so no problem with losing one’s way although one signpost caught my attention and made me smile. The footing is a soft fine grained sand but footing is generally stable but not solid enough for wheelchairs. Strategically located benches provide spots to sit and watch the world unfold. There are only limited areas with any sort of shade so, on a hot day, taking a bottle of water along would be advisable. Since I was short on time, I did all three trails at a very brisk pace but a more leisurely pace would be highly recommended.
A severe winter storm had moved though the northern US into Ontario and the Maritime Regions shutting down or disrupting air and road traffic from Chicago to New York City and points in between so we were happy to have decided to spend an extra night in Florida but had to head north today. The Manatee, which were hard to find the night before, were back in the warm spring waters in numbers when we went for another look in the morning and, with lighting coming from a different direction, they were a lot easier to see. (Location)
The Marine Science Center at Ponce Inlet is closed on Mondays so, since we had decided to delay our northward travels due to a severe winter storm crossing the northern US, we were able to return to Ponce Inlet on Tuesday for a bit more cycling and a visit to the Marine Science Center.
We stayed overnight at the Jetty Park Campgrounds. Nice locations for tents but their policy of charging $10 for each additional tent made the location rather pricey considering that we were traveling with one small tent each. One of the washroom/shower buildings was closed for repair which meant that the second building was more crowded than normal. The beach and jetty though were wonderful to visit and the birds were out in number as were the fishermen on the jetty.
As we headed south along South Beach Road (County Road 701), we took a rest at Blowing Rocks Preserve which is managed by The Nature Conservancy. What makes this section of the beach somewhat unique is that the shoreline is actually rocky unlike most of the Florida shoreline. At this point, an outcropping of Anastasia Limestone provides variety for the beach walker. At high tide, with a good wind blowing the waves in hard against this rocky shoreline, plumes of saltwater are thrust skyward for a great display. Today, there were no serious waves and no high wind so no big dynamic sprays, but an interesting diversion nonetheless.