Friday, February 10, 2017

Feb. 9, 2017---the ever popular Lakefront Park!

I guess if you live near there it is, but I had never heard of it and still wouldn't have heard of it if we didn't need a couple new tires for our Taurus.  Turned out to be a blessing in disguise!  Loved the park and that whole area.  I think it's still part of Kissimmee, but it was about 30 minutes down 192 from Orange Lake.   Ken made a 2 pm appointment to get the tires changed, so we left early and decided to check out Lakefront Park which was only a couple miles from the tire shop.  Don't know if it's listed as a birding place, but I did run into someone else there who was staying at Orange Lake and they had been told about this park for birding.  It turned out to be quite nice!

Our first birds---a group of white ibises
 a female grackle.  I love the sound the grackles make!

 nice walkway along the lake
 there were even Wood Storks there.
 another view of the lake
 map of the huge park
 a commemorative sculpture of the siege of Bataan and Corregidor where many US soldiers and Filipinos lost their lives to the Japanese.
 lawn space in the park
 more of the walkway
 pavilion and cafe
About now it was time to make our way to the tire store.  They still weren't ready for us, so I checked the internet for a highly rated nearby restaurant and it came up with Pizza City.  Turned out to be national pizza day, so our trip there was appropriate.  Turned out to be an excellent choice.  We shared a meatball sandwich and a pepperoni pizza.
Both were very very good.  
 Loved the murals on the walls
 their menu cover.
Certainly doesn't look like much, but they did a good business while we were there. Their service was really good, too.   They had several pick up orders while we were there that seemed to be for regular customers.
By the time we were done there, the tire place was ready for us, so we went there and waited around for the new tires to be put on.  By the time we were done there, it was about 3:30.  I wanted to stay around for sunset by the lake, so we went back and wandered around some more.

more ibises
 resting and checking out the extremely itchy welts the b@#$%^ly insects at the beach gave me last night!  I think they were gnats, but I've never been devoured like this before!  The gnats at Cape Canaveral must be other-worldly!
 back to enjoying the views of the lake
 and the wild flowers
a Cormorant and a couple Anhingas in a tree
 gazing at the lake some more.
 walking down the walkway
 a male grackle
 palm warbler or yellow rump warbler---I have a hard time telling them apart.
 more ibises along the way
 a Green Heron
 lots of these really large snail shells
 even a Limpkin
 Then another Limpkin showed up and I guess they decided to try and make more Limpkins.
 Wonder what happened to this guy
 These great Egrets were sparring with each other.
 a lone Snowy Egret.
 a fishing pier down at the far end.
 another angle.

 We sat around there for awhile, then decided to jump in the car and see if we could drive around to the East side of the lake.
 Did find access to another park a little ways down the road.
 Even saw this nesting pair of Osprey there.
 But there really wasn't a view of the lake from there.
 Ken waiting in the car for me.
 Saw this pair of Sandhill Cranes as we were leaving that park.
 Decided to go back to Brinson Park on the lake we were at earlier--by the pier (at the end of Lakefront Park).  Noticed a bunch of Wood Storks and Ibises picnicking with a gentleman across the street.
 Then this Muscovy Duck swam up with her ducklings.
 There were even boats in the lake.
 love reflection pictures.
 Turned out to be a pretty good place to catch sunset.
 Even the ducks were enjoying it.
 such cute little fuzz balls.
 almost sunset time
 looking out across the lake from the pier.
 Looked like we were going to have a nice cloud cover for sunset.

 one of the fishermen's catches.
 Glad we stayed for sunset---it was stunning!
 an anhinga enjoying a sunset snack.

 Even had an almost full moon to enjoy.
 by the time the sun did set, a lot of the clouds had disappeared, but there was still a nice amount at the horizon.

 The clouds changed colors several times.
 After watching the sunset for about 45 minutes, we headed back up the road towards Orange Lake.  By now it was close to 7, so we went in search of dinner.  Tried Miller's Ale House again, but it was so packed that there was no parking.  Ended up at another favorite place just a couple buildings down 192---Chuy's.  Love the quirkiness of this place---as well as the food. 
 We were in a section with car stuff memorabilia.
 I wandered around a bit and took a few pictures of some of the other areas of the restaurant.

 love all the fish

A rather unusual vacation day---getting tires---but it turned out to be another great day! 

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