Pineland – Calusa Heritage Trail, Part 2

IMG_1258We’re picking up the walk around Pineland where we left off. Here’s a bird who’s got a lot in common with that guy who still lives in his mom’s basement. He sure looks like a grown-up osprey, but he was whining like a baby. “Feed! Me! Feed! Me! Feed! Me! he cried, in clipped, rapid succession.
IMG_1266Meanwhile, an adult in a tree some distance away flatly refused to bring food. Instead, she ocassionally called out encouragingly, “Get a job, you slacker – go out and hunt! The free ride is OVAH!” 😉 I have encountered this sort of stand-off before, at the Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel. Coaxing the young adults out of the nest seems like hard work, and it probably is – but in the case of the osprey, we cannot blame the economy!

IMG_1247On a mound that overlooks the water, we found a spot where a rabbit had been shedding (there wasn’t really enough of it to assume there had been a “circle of life”-type struggle).

IMG_1270This sign looks melted. We’re wondering if fire came through once upon a time and also wondering why no one has carted it away.

IMG_1277This made me laugh. Yes, OBVIOUSLY, one can hike in either direction, but more to the reason for laughter, it reminds me of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. “Of course, some people do go both ways.”

We came upon an entire osprey family on their nest, which had the most unfortunate piece of lumber sticking straight up, bisecting the tableau. Upon closer inspection, it looks like it was nailed up there on purpose to keep the nest from toppling over. At first, I didn’t see the two chicks in the center, and thought it was just a parent and a juvenile. Then the chicks popped their heads up, all staring curiosity, and the whole family posed nicely for me. I think the one on the right is from an earlier brood; he doesn’t look quite adult to me, but he’s clearly more mature than the two in the center.

IMG_1285Osprey chicks – faces only a mother could love. Despite their scrawny little heads with large staring eyes, they are somehow still every inch adorable!

IMG_1305This dead tree was riddled with line after line of perforations – must be a real favorite of the local woodpecker population. The air plant attached to the side looks like it’s still got a few buds left to bloom for the season.

Once we’d done the loop, we decided to take the shortest way back to the parking lot and get into some air conditioned goodness. Pineland is a very interesting place, and I’d like to take another tour sometime with a knowledgeable guide. However, since the trails don’t have a whole lot of shade, I think my return will be next winter, when the weather is kinder.

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