Saturday, June 8, 2013

Discovering the Pinellas County Parks

As a snowbird, I hope to share the unique perspective of a retiree, who lives in Florida for 4 months each year, and how I enjoy the Pinellas County parks, which teem with unique flora and fauna. In Pinellas County, there is a bio-diverse ecosystem comprised of seashore and inland wetlands, with various lakes, canals, estuaries, salt marshes, mangrove swamps, cypress swamps, and pineland forests. There is tropical foliage, reptiles that cannot live in colder climes, and unusual resident and migrating birds.  I love it all.

From my experience, I find that one does not fully appreciate what is in one's own backyard. For example,there is a wonderful park about 12 miles from my house up north. It has over ten beaches,  some with lifeguards, a multipurpose trail, lighthouses, an historical monument, and a multilevel environmental education center with interactive exhibits.. They hold an annual bird count there, as many rare and endangered birds migrate through the area. I visit it about 1-3 times a year, as I get distracted with other things in the summer, such as family, taking care of a big house, and it's just too far away..

 I place a priority on exploring nature when in Florida. It helps that there are several parks within a mile or two of our rental property. No excuses that I don't have the time.  And we just don't have the same creatures and vegetation where I come from.  I am enthralled with the big wading birds. While stretching my legs, I can study their habits, resulting in unique photographs. Often I spy an occasional snake or alligator. I know that those pictures will elicit oohh's and aahh's from even the most bored family member at home.  The grandchildren especially like the turtle, fiddler crab and squirrel pictures and the gardeners and botanists of the family appreciate the exquisite tropical flower and bird pictures.