Bradenton, Florida & Lake Manatee State Park
January 21st and 22nd
While we are at it I am going to take this opportunity to share with you a little game Joyce and I play. Yea, adults play games. VBG
As we head to South Florida each year we take note of the vegetation changes along the way. For example the first mangroves we saw were in Tarpon Springs. We know we are getting into a tropical environment when we start seeing mangroves. They will not survive in the Florida Panhandle where we live. Then as we crossed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge heading into Bradenton we spotted our first royal palm trees. These are really tropical palms and we were surprised to see them this far north. They actually grow wild in the Everglades south of Naples, but that is another 150-miles south of here. There is a good landscape of those wild royal palm trees in Collier Seminole State Park which is southeast of Naples. Additionally, the city of Ft Myers has landscaped their major boulevards with these magnificent palms.
Bromeliad (air plant) on live oak tree in Lake Manatee State Park east of Bradenton, Florida
In Lake Manatee State Park we spotted our first bromeliad (air plant). Bromeliads become a common fixture on large trees the further south you go. By the time you get to the Everglades they are thick and easy to spot.
Ball moss in Lake Manatee State Park east of Bradenton, Florida
We also spotted our first ball-moss in Lake Manatee State Park. Spanish moss is common throughout the south but we only see ball moss in southern Florida.
Wood Stork spotted in ditch east of Sarasota, Florida
In Sarasota we spotted our first wood stork. For some reason we do not see wood storks in the Florida Panhandle. However, we do see them when we visit Central and South Florida each winter.
White Ibis at Sun N Fun RV Resort Sarasota, Florida
At Sun N Fun Resort in Sarasota we spotted our first white ibis.
Strawberry field near Lake Manatee State Park east of Bradenton, Florida
Just outside the gate at Lake Manatee State Park is a large strawberry operation. Each day we watch as an army of migrant workers make their way through the fields picking the ripe strawberries.
Monk Parakeet aka "Quakers" in Cortez, Florida
We spotted our first wild monk parakeets, of this trip, in Cortez, Florida and another flock on Anna Maria Island. These small parrots fly in flocks and are very vocal. Their chatter is very distinctive and I tend to spot them when looking for the source of that unfamiliar "noise".
Quakers, as theyre known in the bird trade are intelligent, sociable birds that have been exported from their native South America in huge numbers. The colonies we see in south Florida are escapees that are multiplying in the warm climate.
OK, those are our "firsts" at this stage in the trip. I hope you enjoy playing our game with us. VBG
Date Palm with fruit in Cortez, Florida
A beautiful date palm tree in Cortez.
Palmetto bloom on palmetto in Lake Manatee State Park east of Bradenton, Florida
A palmetto bush in bloom. You can see palmettos all over the the state of Florida.
Workers in strawberry field near Lake Manatee State Park near Bradenton, Florida
This strawberry fields were located near our campground at Lake Manatee State Park about 12-miles east of downtown Bradenton. Picking strawberries takes a lot of back breaking work.
Green tomatoes being hauled to market in Bradenton, Florida
This truck load of green tomatoes was headed east out of Bradenton. We do not know if these were headed to market or if they were rejects headed to cattle operations east of town. The state had a week or so of extremely cold weather last week so these could be good or bad. I just do not understand picking tomatoes this green and I certainly do not understand stacking them this way if they are going to be sold as "fresh tomatoes". Possibly someone reading this can offer a sensible explanation. I sure would appreciate it.
Until next time remember how good life is.
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Until next time remember how good life is.