Wednesday, June 17, 2015

30 Days in June: Day 17, Magnolia Parke

View Across the Pond
Yesterday wiped me out. I just go too hot and tired, so I decided to just have an easy day today. My plan was to go to Cofrin Park, another favorite City of Gainesville Nature Park, but just as I was pulling into the driveway I saw that the gates were locked and the park was closed for maintenance. I must have missed the memo about that one. I quickly scrambled to come up with Plan B, and decided to take a stroll around the lake and swamp at Magnolia Parke. This is an easy walk in a natural area just behind a business park with medical offices, restaurants and shops. I've come here many times when I had a hour to occupy myself and really enjoy the peaceful pathways. It's a good place to see woodpeckers. I was a frequent visitor this winter in my quest to find the Beaver that was living in the swamp. I finally saw it, but didn't get any clear photos. I think I have better chances for photos after we move because I understand that Beavers are very common in the creeks around Athens.

I had a little chuckle when I saw a sign warning about "Poisonous" snakes at either end of the lake trail. I know what they are trying to say, but the snakes are venomous, not poisonous. And I don't recall ever even seeing a snake when I was walking these paths. But that doesn't mean they aren't there. This is Florida. Of course there are snakes! I always just assume that they are somewhere nearby and plan accordingly. The sign seems like a bad idea. It may scare people away from walking around this nice lake and may give them a false sense of security around the bushes and tall grass where there is not a sign warning them of the snakes that are probably there. But I digress.

Bamboo Sculpture
A cheery piece of bamboo artwork by my friend Maralee's husband, Jon, and bright blue Morning Glories added color to the entrance.

Heat-loving Morning Glories
I saw the usual assortment of birds--Mockingbirds, Cardinals, Bluejays, Red Bellied and Red Headed Woodpeckers, Brown Thrashers, Mourning Doves, Vultures and Red-winged Blackbirds. I could hear Common Yellowthroats in the swamp and saw a Mississippi Kite fly over. A fellow birder reminded me that this could be a good place to find Wood Ducks, but no such luck today. Frogs and turtles plopped into the water when I walked by. It was a quiet day with no new birds to add to my list.

Cypress Swamp

Standing next to the cypress swamp, watching bluejays in the trees and listening to the bullfrogs, I thought, "these are my favorite things". I filled in the rest and the result was this:

To the Tune of "My Favorite Things" 
(With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein)

Bluejays and bullfrogs and wildflower patches,
Scuttling lizards and squeaking nuthatches,
Otters and gators that swim by the springs,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Bobcats and limpkins and crayfish in creek beds,
Droning cicadas and cottonmouth snake sheds,
The thrill in my heart when the meadowlark sings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Gophers in burrows and orb weaver spiders,
Fields of liatris and yellow eared sliders,
Sweat bees and starfish and butterfly wings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Fire ant bites, summer heatwave, 
when I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad.

Sandhills and wetlands and white sandy beaches,
Dragonfly larvae and baby owl screeches,
Wind in the treetops where Spanish moss swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Whooping Crane sightings and seat turtles hatching,
Pupating monarchs and woodpeckers scratching,
Anoles surveying their realm just like kings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Foxes and bear cubs and milkweed with flowers,
Bird nests and seed pods and afternoon showers,
Waiting to see what the next season brings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Poison ivy, "closed for maintenance", 
when I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad.


  1. Your English major is showing! This is a masterpiece. I'm going to have to memorize it.