Sunday, October 21, 2012

Welaka, Florida Fall Visit

Alesia and I were in Welaka, Fla. a couple weekends ago visiting her sister and her husband who have a second home on the St. Johns River.  It was our first time there and we really enjoyed the lovely scenery, especially this amazing sunset one evening!
These weren't storm clouds just a very striking confluence of colors at sunset made even more spectacular by the reflection in the river.
Welaka, population approximately 600, is a small river town in Putnam County, about 90 miles southwest of Jacksonville.
Ron and Suzan took us on a fun morning outing in their boat.
Me being me, I had my eye out for birds along the river.  Osprey are abundant in the area, near the river...
...and in town on a TV antenna.  I didn't know people still used these!
Osprey have amazing yellow eyes that do not miss a thing- or a person like me taking its picture.
Along that same residential road I had to jump out of the car again when seeing this Red-shouldered Hawk on a powerline.
Hawks have some powerful eyes too.
Another stop-the-car moment was when we passed these two large birds near the Welaka State Forest.
Initally, I thought they were Great Egrets or Great Blue Herons, but then did a double-take when I noticed the red markings on their faces.
These are Florida Sandhill Cranes, a "lifer" bird for me, meaning this was the first time I ever saw one.  I can't say I had ever heard of this breed.  But that's what makes going to new places neat, the opportunity to see new things, including birds and ducks. How about the crane's orange eyes!
Speaking of orange, this lovely butterfly caught my eye during our visit to the Welaka State Forest.
Saw some Common Moorhens in a murky swamp at the park.
A Great Egret stood tall for this photograph.
We really had a nice time in Welaka, Fla., a true fishermen's paradise.
The birding was good too.
The scenery was special!
But the real treat was the fine food at my brother-in-law Ron's new restaurant, R&B Welaka BBQ. He and two partners have opened a delicious barbecue restaurant in this small town. If you're ever in the area, be sure to stop in.  You'll love it too I am sure!
That's Ron on the left with the other two owners.
Thanks for a great visit Suzan and Ron!
Florida- the Sunshine State where the sunsets aren't bad either!
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