Thursday, February 15, 2024

Paynes Prairie

Paynes Prairie


This post is dedicated to all our friends in Florida. We miss you!


            When we lived in Florida, we volunteered as guides at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, on 21,000 acres just outside of Gainesville. Our duties were rather limited: answering questions as well as we could, and cautioning people not to pose their children near the alligators that lined La Chua Trail, the main path through the wetland to the observation tower (currently, I believe, under water). My favorite answer to a question came when someone asked me to identify a snake, something I could not do at all well.


            “What color is it?”




            “Then it’s a Green Snake.” I thought I was just being clever, but it turned out that I was correct.

Me, in Volunteer Mode

Paynes Prairie is most well known for its gators. Hundreds of them sometimes line La Chua Trail.

We tell people that when you are on Paynes Prairie, you are not at the top of the food chain.

Horses roam Paynes Prairie. They are descended from the Spanish horses brought by settlers. They are not fed or tended to by anyone. Doing fine on their own, thank you.

Bison also roam. These have been re-introduced, but they are authentic inhabitants.

Mainly, however, we went to Paynes Prairie to photograph the abundant birds.

Great Egret in Bur Marigolds

American Bittern

Turtle Surfing

Great Blue Heron, with Lunch

Black Vultures Holding a Meeting

Double-Crested Cormorant, Looking Cool

Wood Stork (not delivering a baby)

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Winged Blackbird

Snowy Egret

White-Faced Ibis
Colorful enough for you?

Eastern Palm Warbler

Wilson's Snipe
We hunted for Wilson but could not find him.

Green Anole
Not a bird, but beautiful.

Luna Moth

Happy trails to you, until we meet again . . ..


  1. Beautiful photos.

  2. Thank you ! The birds come alive in your wonderful photos.
    Peter H. ‘64

  3. Beautiful pictures! Makes me miss you guys being down here in Florida even more. Love you. -Rei