2022 Wrap-Up — Part I

Well…it’s January 3rd in 2023 now so Ima bit late on doing my wrap-up post for the much lamented…not…2023. Warning though…this post (Ed. Note…actually this and the next one since the bear ended up splitting the Wrap-Up into two parts.) is image heavy…but hey, whaddya expect for a recap for a whole freekin’ year?

Nothing really new going on since my last post on Dec 28. The humans did have Date Nite Friday at Restaurante Fabio…an Italian place down on Hancock Bridge Road. It’s not quite as good as the one up in Port Charlotte…but it’s only about 1/2 the price and is a whole heckofa lot closer. Connie started with a glass of Merlot because she was originally going to have the Manicotti which has tomato sauce on it and Neil got a half carafe of Pinot Grigio since he knew he was having the Veal Marsala, although he was mightily tempted by the Veal Francese with lemon, butter, and wine sauce (but he’ll have that next time he sez). They split an order of bread with their wine and ordered the herbed garlic dipping oil…it was seriously…Ima talking *seriously* loaded with raw garlic and although it was tasty Neil thinks they should get the Parmagino Balsamico version next time for lightness…it was almost too much garlic. Then the waitress came around and told us about the specials…and Connie found out that she “choose poorly” as the aged knight said in the Indiana Jones movie…because she dropped the manicotti selection like week old bread when she heard the salmon with deep fried mushrooms and spaghetti with some wine garlic herb sauce. So she ordered a glass of Chardonnay and Neil eventually ordered another half carafe of the same so they wouldn’t run out of wine before dinner was done. All was excellent and there were leftovers of both that became lunch the next day.

New Years Eve was bike day and he did a nice 15 miler in the nice weather in the morning…that finished his year at 141 rides and 1,647 miles for an average distance of 15.11 miles in an average time of 58:07 for an average speed of 15.6 mph. Fastest speed was 23.55 mph (downwind of course). Average heart rate was 136 with maximum of 154…his calculated maximum is 152 so he’s in better shape than your average old geezer I guess. Target rate for exercise is 64-76% of maximum…so with a range of 118-143 for vigorous intensity workouts he’s well above average. He’s trying to bike every other day and at the recommendation of the fellas at the LBS (local bike shop) who live and breathe this stuff he worked this year on increasing his cadence (pedal revolutions per minute)…the experts (but they’re all youngsters) said that 75-85 is where you want to be…he increased his about 7 revs for an average of 58. To do that one basically gears down which makes pedaling easier but at a slower speed unless you pedal faster…he’s going to keep working on it but faster cadences make for a much harder aerobic part of the ride…which reduces the fun part so who knows.

After the ride…Connie and Neil watched the Sugar Bowl…Alabama was in it for the 17th time playing Kansas State (Big 12 champs) and as was typical in some of their games this year they started slow and were in a 0-10 hole late in the first quarter compliments of an early 1 for 4 passing effort by QB Bryce Young (he missed wide open receivers twice that would have been TDs) and an 88 yard TD run by the KSU back (the guy was super short…his head was below the rest of the team’s shoulders)…his size let him get sorta lost in the pile and he got past the line and turned out to be really fast as he outran the defense to the end zone. Things turned bad then…Young only missed 2 more passes the rest of the game and ended up with 5 TD passes as the Tide scored 35 before KSU scored again. Final was 45-20 and it really wasn’t as close as that seems.

It being New Years…they did their usual thing and went to bed around 2300…watched the first half of the Georgia-Ohio State game but they were too tired to stay up that late to watch a team not named Alabama. Georgia ended up winning and will face TCU in the championship game next week after TCU upset favored Michigan.

Trips…well, we did have a couple of those although nothing super exciting…but hey, Fun Stuff© is Fun Stuff© ya know.

First up in early February was a trip up to Tavares for the Elks Quarterly meeting…Connie had a bunch of stuff to do so Neil popped over to Circle Bar B Preserve near Lakeland by himself while she was off Elk-ing.

Sun coming up o’er the marsh.

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Great Blue Heron…or GBH as it’s known as.

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Osprey with his takeout breakfast.

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And he/she landed to eat.

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Snowy Egret…aka Snowy.

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I canna ‘member what this is and am too darned lazy to look it up again.

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Later on in the month…another several day trip up to Titusville for Black Point Wildlife Drive then over to west of Orlando for Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Both of these drives are better in the first half as (a) the light is better earlier and by the time you get to the second half it’s past golden hour and (b) the bird and wildlife concentration falls off after the halfway point.

Wood Stork.

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Male Little Blue Heron with its red mating coloration. Despite its name it’s actually much more closely related to the Snowy Egret than the GBH.

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Red-winged Blackbird.

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Lazy strikes again.

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Snowy that missed breakfast.

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Roseate Spoonbill.

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Green Heron…which actually has a much longer neck than it looks like. Don’t see many of these out in the open, they usually hide a lot better.

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Tricolor Heron (aka Louisiana Heron in some parts) takeoff.

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Black Crowned Night Heron.

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Peregrine Falcon…look at the talons on it…the whole bird is 16-20 inches in size. It eats mostly birds and mostly takes them on the wing…and is the fastest flying bird reaching 230 mph in it’s diving stoop.

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Kingfisher…long range shot since they’re really skittish.

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GBH with a gator cruising by…and yes, they really were as close as it looks.

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We’ve seen Anhinga and Cormorants doing this wing drying thing…but never seen a GBH do it. This shot is out back at our pond and we’ve seen this specimen throughout the year…and have still never seen another GBH do this.

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Pair of Glossy Ibis, both juvenile but the one on the right is farther from maturity.

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The next week…a trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

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Great Egret with breakfast.

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While Connie was getting the one above Neil saw a different individual Great Egret taking flight.

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Black Crowned Night Heron.

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And then a trip over to Fort DeSoto which is on the end of the peninsula with St. Petersburg on it.

Again…sun coming up.

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Over on the west side of the park they found a little lagoon with quite the bird population, Roseate Spoonbill here.

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And all of his friends.

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Breeding Reddish Egret (note pink beak) in one of it’s two favored feeding postures…this one creates a shadow that allows it to see past the reflections on the surface and attracts the fish into the cool in the shadow. It’s about the same size as the GBH is.

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The Reddish Egret’s s second feeding posture…running around chasing down the prey.

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And got one…

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Snowy on a bad hair day that totally messed up his breeding plumage.

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While Neil was getting that one…Connie spotted this White Ibis having a crab for breakfast.

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Willet unless I’m misremembering.

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In late March…another trip to Black Point and Circle Bar B.


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More laziness.

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Breeding Tricolor Heron…blue beak is it’s attraction and I think this is a female, the male has a little gold curl feather thing at the back of his head…although I may have this backwards.

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Male Cardinal with breakfast.

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Yawning Moorhen that just woke up.

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Moody and mossy canal.

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GBH with breakfast…some sort of eel.

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A mated pair of Sandhill Cranes talking to each other…or mebbe to other Sandhills for all I know to tell them to get out of Dodge as this area is spoken for.

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Mated pair of Red Shouldered Hawks…their nest was about 50 yards away from this pole across a canal and the chicks (hawk-lets mebbe?) must be old enough to have both parents gone for a bit…or perhaps they just delivered breakfast but are no longer feeding the young and letting them dismember and fight over it amongst themselves.

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Next up…Corkscrew…again…but Ima gonna stop here and save the rest of the year for next time.

Interesting things found on the net.


I have no idea what Chinese refers to when talking about sexual orientation.




And finally…



About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
This entry was posted in Food, Photography, Travel, WIldlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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