It used to be free admission for visitors to Lettuce Lake Park located just within minutes from our home; however, donations were welcome. Since recently (was it last year?), visitors are now charged $2 per vehicle. Still a great deal, considering what the park has to offer in terms of the scenic appeal of nature in close proximity to an urban center: a refuge for tired minds and a chance at communion with nature, even though it is for some brief moments.
Every time we visit Lettuce Lake Park, we always manage to notice different things from our previous trip, if we look hard enough. A different shade of color; a different encounter with the same denizens of the Park; kind of like a nuanced image that evokes differing responses based on the mood of the day.
This last visit was no difference: plenty of kodak moments, a mix of expansive vistas of the flowing river and the distant tree line and up close and personal shots of the various insects going about their business, not to mention a good workout from the walk-about, along the boardwalk and up the observation tower; in the shade and under the glare of the sun. Then there is also the pleasant surprise of meeting fellow visitors, some with sophisticated cameras with long zoom lens, but all eager to share their experiences of park hopping. On this trip, we met a gentleman who does a lot of boating at a little boat ramp that we chanced upon. He told us about the Hillsborough River State Park which we duly earmarked as a future destination. Here then is a smorgasbord of the sights that enthralled us during our most recent visit.
Wify with by now her favorite wrap-around sun glasses on the boardwalk, and another of her constant companion (other than me I mean) whenever she steps out of the home: a bottle of water, perched on top of the wooden railing.
Purplish flowers of the aquatic plants that populate the lake waters. The lettuce-like plants are what earned the name of the Park: water lettuce.
An island of plants with stems sprouting out of the water radiating outward in all directions, which are matched by their reflections but of darker hue on a unique one-to-one corresponse. Such is the symmetry of nature.
Another symmetry shot, but this time the sky and the water are reversed. I simply inverted the image as I prefer the sky to be azure blue. The obvious giveaway is the floating leaves at the top of image.
Mushroooms inserting themselves around the girth of the tree, subsisting on their host. The nature way of live and let live.
Fall is in the air already, though this hardly qualifies as the fall foliage.
Now this is the azure sky for sure, the upright observation tower is proof of that.
This would appear to be a bee ensconced comfortably at the end of a stalk that seems to defy gravity by sticking itself up. Of course this is not to be as the image has been inverted; the bee was actually clinging on to the underside of the stalk that hangs down.
Another bee exploring the floral bed, doing its assigned job as a vector of pollination.
A dragonfly with its gossamer wings alighting on a stalk.
A kind of half-way house for birds, courtesy of the homo sapiens, the gaudy color is perhaps incongruent with the lush green surrounding.
A limpkin perched high on the tree top, possibly scanning the surrounding for apple snails (I was looking up from the top of the nearby observation tower to take this shot). Just look at the long pointy beak, which is excellent for prying open the shells of apple snails: the nature law of one species holding an edge over another.