This part of Florida is less developed than the Tampa area where we just were. This means that the traffic is lighter and there are many small nature reserves all around. Some members of the photo club spoke highly about the Enchanted Forest, a little gem of territory with varied ecosystems laced with hiking trails and educational signs. When we went there today it was well staffed with enthusiastic volunteers. We went to the EF hoping to see animal life, but saw very little compared to what we see at The Great Outdoors every day. It is likely that we got going much too late in the morning. Our neighbor Doug who makes part of his living selling nature videos is up and out shooting while we are still in bed and comes back when we are still enjoying that second cup of coffee. The vegetation at the forest was thick and there were probably lots of little eyes looking at us as we wandered around. But except for the leopard tortoise basking in the sunshine, we saw no critters.
So we came back to the motor home where the owl has been giving us hints that its time for her eggs to hatch. Or maybe they already have. Since we first discovered her New Year's Eve, she has faithfully been sitting on the nest 24/7 as far as we can tell. Recently a cold front came though and generated stiff winds. We worried about how well she could hang on, but she prevailed. The last few days we have caught her off the nest a few times and tonight right after sunset she and Mr. Owl had a brief rendezvous on the nest. We could barely see her lift something up out of the nest and dangle it a bit. Af first we thought it was dinner, but she didn't take her usual posture, where she holds her prey with her feet and rips it with her beak. We heard little cheeping sounds that we haven't heard before. We can keep an eye on the owl family while we are still in our pajamas drinking that second cup of coffee. Exciting!