April 10th, 2023
I gotta tell you, when Joy and I found out about this place, The South Venice Lemon Bay Preserve, we were dumbfounded. This place is only about 15 - 20 minutes over the bridge and down the road and yet, I never heard of it before. Neither had Joy. What???
We kind of just stumbled across the knowledge that it existed at all! So many of our usual hiking spots are currently closed for one reason or another and we were looking for somewhere different to go, so out of desperation, I resorted to Professor Google, the keeper of all information. I jumped on my phone and typed in, "preserves near me". A long list popped up, all places we already knew about and, as I said, many of which are not open at the moment. There was a lot of repeat info too. I think I read the name Carlton Preserve at least a half dozen times, and suddenly, this Lemon Bay name pops up. What?
I did a super quickie online look and, yup, it was an actual preserve, in Venice, and, most importantly, currently open. YAY! So on our last sojourn, we decided to check it out. What the heck, why not? If it turns out to be a bummer of a hike, we simply won't go there again. At the very least we will know about it. Knowledge is power after all.
This Photo Safari will naturally be the Lemon Bay Hike. We set out, not quite as early as usual since it was so close by. I set up the nav on my phone to direct us there and we found ourselves meandering through street after street of residences! What? Are you messing with me google directions??
Nope, suddenly, at the very end of, yet another residential road, there it was. We started out very excited at the prospect of discovery! It's not exactly the same as being the first man on the moon of course, but it was our first steps on these trails and we were ready to rock and roll. Or rather, we were ready to walk and look and take pictures!
First things seen? Some gorgeous spider webby things. Dew drops and spider webs and flowers and wow. Hard to find things prettier first thing in the morning.
And make no mistake, even though we were probably a half hour later than usual departure time, it was still early enough to get that absolutely beautiful early morning light:
We heard rumors that there were eagles in this preserve but of course had no idea if it was true and if it was where they nested. It was a big enough place that we might have wandered aimlessly without finding them for a long time. Instead, Joy asked the first person who walked past us. And to our great good fortune, she knew exactly where they were. Of course it isn't as if trails had street signs so we weren't absolutely certain if we were on the right track until Joy whispered to me, "look up" and there they were. Two of them, both at the top of a giant pine tree, one on a branch above the other.
Usually in preserves and parks, when there are protected creatures such as these, there are barriers blocking access and if we manage to see them at all, it's only through the magic of telephoto lenses. But this time they were literally in the tree right in front of us. Wow! Wow! Wow!
We starred at them and they starred back at us. Seriously, they turned and looked directly at us a number of times. Perhaps it's that stern sort of look that they have, but it made me uncomfortable and as if we ought to take our leave. And so we moved on. But still WOW!
We saw other birds, loads of cardinals:
Some lovely botanicals, so many beauties: (it smelled so goooood)
And the ever popular, Rando File:
We covered only the tiniest corner of this new to us preserve so we will absolutely return, probably very soon, to see what other wonders it has in store for us!
Thanks for coming along for the Lemon Bay Hike
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.