GOPHERUS POLYPHEMOUS AND THE WISDOM OF EEYORE

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Eeyore should so get more recognition

for his brilliance.

I did some serious listening recently ~ to the cabbage palms, in palmetto hammocks and oak scrubs.

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You might call it my listening tour of Halpatiokee Regional Park. (Remember Hillary Clinton? She defined ‘listening tour’. She was out there with a pad and pencil, and every time you saw her she was in listening mode.)

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Halpatiokee is a Seminole word.  It means ‘Alligator Water’.  Yes, they’re there. And they’re listening, too.  (Alligators hear with ears that are located behind their eyes and are very sensitive to vibrations in the water.)

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I hiked the 3-mile trail that runs along the South Fork River and loops back to the trailhead inside the 470 acres of this wetland preserve. 

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The area is a step back in time, to the days of old Florida. The quiet waters of the gently flowing river are tannin-colored. 

img_5762Like steeping tea bags, cypress trees stain the water a dark brown, but it’s clear, so you can see the fish below. 

JayW

Some of Florida’s most threatened and endangered species live here, eating and sheltering in scrub areas ~ like the gopher tortoise and the Florida scrub jay.

I met this guy slugging back to the scrub.

An amazing thing about the gopher tortoise is that it amiably shares its burrow with more than 350 other species. Burrowing owls, Florida mice, indigo snakes, opossums, rabbits, gopher frogs, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and gopher crickets enjoy good fellowship underground.

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The gopher tortoise, its shelters, and burrow mates are protected by Florida law. This little shaver depends on it.

In the Sunshine State, every day is a perfect day to take a listening tour.

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If you’re farther north, well……

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.

“So it is.”

“And freezing.”

“Is it?”

“Yes,” said Eeyore.

“However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

Toni 2/5/14

Sometimes We Need Props to Tractor Us Up and Over or in the Case of the Brown Creeper Spiral Up with the Help of a Spiney-tipped Tail for Support: in this poem the Creeper supported me for a few minutes (a 420 character 9 line poem by Patty)

Creeper.

I’m sick on my couch in the sunroom

and stare at the trunk of the biggest tree in my purview,

and lo!

like the proverbial dust of snow from a hemlock tree that saved a day from ruin,

I spy a tiny, long-tailed brown scrap hitch upward in a spiral,

going in and out of my sight, his down-curved bill probing the crevices*.

I see him fly weakly to a new tree, probably its base,

but I’m too weak to check. Or creep.

PATTY

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* A single spider will give the creeper enough energy to climb nearly 200 feet vertically.

I’VE JUST DISCOVERED THIS WONDERFUL BLOG AND READ ABOUT A FLEDGLING BROWN CREEPER. (PICTURES!PICTURES!) http://toughlittlebirds.com/tag/brown-creeper/