48 hours in Florida

My in-laws are snowbirds these days, so we made a quick visit to the West Palm Beach area over the weekend. The priority was family time, but I checked out iNaturalist before we left and was surprised to see so few salamanders reported in the vicinity.

We ended up taking a walk at Riverbend Park. While the only herps spotted were the ubiquitous invasive brown anoles and the very tail end of one black snake slipping into the long grass, it was lovely. We saw and heard a red-shouldered hawk and a pileated woodpecker. We encountered some people that directed us to where we could find an owl, so we headed that way. When we saw the older woman all geared up with a camera with a three-foot lens, we knew we were in the right spot. She showed us where the barred owl was, and it immediately flew to a nearby tree, holding a squirrel. She said there were babies nearby, but she’d lost sight of them. We moved along, but as we circled back, we saw the woman again and she beckoned us over to see the babies.

Mama barred owl

They were bigger than I anticipated, just staring down at us. So cute! This was right after all my in-laws were joking that this lady was totally me in 30 years. It might not take that long…

We also saw a white peacock butterfly. I was googling for some further interesting tidbits about it, and discovered there’s a site for submitting moth and butterfly sightings–of course! Check out www.butterfliesandmoths.org.

Now I’m back home, where everything is still mostly brown, and temps were in the 30’s when I left the house this morning. Things are slowly, slowly warming up!

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