Nature Walks – Wakodahatchee Wetlands, 27 October 17

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Nature Walks – Wakodahatchee Wetlands, 27 October 17

Yesterday, I also visited Wakodahatchee on my way back home up Jog Road.  I thought I would post these photos separately.  I actually took about 110 photos yesterday, most at the Japanese Gardens.  The place is extremely photogenic by design.

Walking through the wetlands that I visit weekly wasn’t a let-down, but it is very different.  There I was looking for creatures, feathered, armored and furry.  I was rewarded with a glimpse of some turtles, an alligator sunning on the lawn and several birds.  Apparently, another pair of Ospreys has taken up residence as they were announcing their presence and flying high above the marsh.  I noticed many of the other birds were sheltering under or near bushes and trees to avoid being lunch.

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There were some iguanas enjoying the warm autumn sunshine on the grass.  Mated pairs of herons were busily constructing twig nests in pond apple trees.  It was interesting to see the male fetching the twigs and giving them to the female to place into the nest structure.  Other birds, like Tri-colored Herons and Egrets, were wading in the dark waters looking for lunch, mainly the ever-present minnows.  Anhingas were hanging about drying out or acting like submarines, with their long pliable necks sticking out of the water before diving after prey.  Tiny songbirds were flitting around the branches in the hammocks but moving too swiftly for me to capture any photos of them.  I did see some noisy grackles and mockingbirds.  There were a few colorful gallinules wading in the muddy waters beneath the pond apple trees, as well.

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What have I gained by going to these wetlands?  Well, appreciation for the variety of wildlife that does still exist in South Florida, despite the destruction of habitat.  I was told that the wetlands were constructed and the birds and animals came to claim it as their own.  I’m not sure about the alligators.  They were probably introduced specifically into each wetland, although the beasts can easily climb chain-link fences.  The fish were also introduced, but are native species.  Mosquito fish keep down the mosquito larvae so it isn’t necessary to put on any insect repellent while visiting these “tame” wetlands.

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The wetlands also provide tiny sanctuaries where you can walk without the presence of vehicles, although street noise filters through the tree line screening the perimeters of the preserve.  I find that my level of relaxation and sense of well-being increases by just walking through on the boardwalk and it gives me something to do while I am living in this area.

 

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And in closing, here are a few more photos from the Japanese Gardens to enjoy.  The Japanese learned how to live within and practiced each task with intent and focus.  We could learn from them, as well as the beauty and diversity of Nature, with its flow of seasons and natural cycles of birth, death, and renewal.

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Enjoy your weekend!

Namasté,

Eliza Ayres

 

© All Rights Reserved, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

Photo Credits:  Eliza Ayres

 

 

 

Nature Walks – Morikami Japanese Gardens

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Nature Walk – Morikami Japanese Gardens, October 27, 2017

Clouds were pouring in from the ocean this morning, but the temperature was fine, so I thought I would venture forth to Morikami Gardens, a local Japanese Garden and Museum.  The gardens offer year-round programs, Tea Ceremonies, and tours, but I opted for the singular tour on my own.

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The Gardens did sustain some damage from the recent hurricane in September, but on the whole, was looking okay.  Some of the pine trees were a little sparse and other trees looked a bit wind-swept.  There were some broken trees and bamboo, but in the nearly two months post-hurricane, it appears that a lot of work has been done by the garden staff.

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Yesterday I watched the 1980 movie version of “Shogun”, which put me in the mood for walking through a Japanese garden.

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In the past, I’ve visited Japanese Gardens in several cities, including Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle, but the Gardens in Delray Beach are unique in that the setting is sub-tropical, meaning the typical plant material found in the northern gardens will not grow in Florida.  So different plants are utilized, along with the pines, grasses and azaleas also found in northern gardens.  The gardens also present a perspective on the development of the Japanese Garden, from early times into the present.  There is an assortment of water features, a couple of Zen gardens, a beautiful bonsai collection and interesting buildings.  Natural materials like large rocks, bamboo, and wood posts are utilized throughout the gardens.  A small grove of beautiful timber bamboo supplies much of the material for fences and gates.

At the end of your tour of the Gardens, you can sit down to eat at the cafe, visit the Museum Store, watch a movie presentation on the founding of the gardens or visit the museum.  Today the museum was featuring “Indigo Blues”, a collection of Japanese textiles, one of my great loves.  The detail and thought that went into even the simplest garments were extremely impressive.  The Japanese were very thrifty, as well, utilizing and re-using old materials again and again.  Their primary fabrics were made of hemp, cotton, and silk.  Japanese textiles were an inspiration for a variety of 19th century Europeans artists, going into the early 20th century, as well.

All in all, today was well spent outside in beautiful natural settings, taking in stylized plantings and design.  The weather also improved as the day went on, the heavy dark clouds making way for white fluffies and bluebird skies.

How about that– I was out on three separate outings this week!  My energy levels and enthusiasm increases as the temperatures decrease.  I’ll enjoy autumn and winter here in Florida.

Have a great weekend, folks, wherever you live!

Namasté,

Eliza Ayres

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

 

Nature Walk, 26 October 2017 – Loxahatchee Redux

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Nature Walk, 26 October 2017 – Loxahatchee Redux

It’s been a long time since I last visited the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Preserve.  It’s too exposed and hot there during the long days of summer.  Today, when I woke up, the temperature was a chilly (for Florida) 58 degrees F — perfect walking weather!  I loaded up the car and hit the road.

When I arrived at the entrance to the preserve, there was a guard on duty, the first one I’ve seen in months.  Visitors are required to pay or have on hand a pass.  I own a Golden Eagle pass so went in free as usual.  Traffic at the preserve has definitely picked up.  There were two buses with students and a couple of small shuttles (golf carts) for visitors.  I ignored the commotion and walked on the well-known paths looking for photographic subjects.

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One thing I’ve noticed about Florida, flowers bloom here all year round.  Some of the marsh flowers are very tiny, but the ground was carpeted with blooms.

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I saw some typical marsh birds, egrets, and herons, coots, marsh hens, as well as some Limpkins.  I also saw and photographed what looks like a Kingfisher, although not the Belted species that I’m familiar with from northern climes.  I’ll look the critter up in my little bird book later.  I also noticed a pair of osprey who appeared to be setting up their nest in a large tree in the center of the marsh.

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The water levels in the preserve were very high.  I kept a sharp eye out for alligators and other reptiles but did not see any… except one empty turtle shell.  The walks follow alongside canals that were dredged years ago to drain the swamp and control water levels.  The preserve doesn’t look very natural in appearance; nevertheless, it is a home to many birds and other creatures.  Beyond the great canal on the western boundary, you can see the grassy everglades stretching for miles… at least until the edge of the agricultural lands that were carved out of the marshland and now grow sugar, corn and other vegetables.  The Everglades are now but a shadow of their former self.

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I probably walked two or three miles, periodically flushing hidden birds from the wild grasses on the edges of the path.  Many of the wading birds are masters of camouflage until they break cover.

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It was a pleasure to be walking out under bluebird skies with nary a cloud in the sky except in the far eastern horizon.  Autumn is firmly established here as we experience this latest cold front.  A tropical depression or storm may be on its way later in the week, but who knows?

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I’ll enjoy being here now that the weather has moderated quite a bit.  Unless one loves humid heat, Florida summers can be exhausting.  The rainy season doesn’t seem to be slowing down too much either, although now we have days between storms, instead of hours.

Here are some more photos from my little jaunt:

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Namaste,

Eliza Ayres

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

Photo Credits:  Eliza Ayres

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Walk, October 25, 2017 – Cool Down

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After sweltering through upper 80’s F and humidity all late spring, summer and early autumn, the local temperatures have finally dropped into the more comfortable lower 70’s, at least for a day or two.  It was heavenly to feel a strong breeze this morning as I began my walk at Green Cay.  Some folks were bundled up in sweaters, but a t-shirt was enough for me.

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There were some new babies today.  The black-bellied whistling ducks had a new brood of fuzzy gray-brown chicks.  With the cooler temperatures, there was more activity around the marsh.  I saw glossy ibis, white ibis, roseate spoonbills, egrets, herons, anhingas, bitterns, as well as black buzzards and osprey playing in the thermals above.

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Dawn had seen heavy rain falling in the Delray and Boynton Beach neighborhoods, but by late morning, the sky was filled with high hazy clouds.

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The marshes are always entertaining, for the variety of wildlife seen and sometimes the visitors.  The snowbirds (people) are beginning to show up now and will thicken on the ground as the temperatures plunge in the northern states, holidays arrive and schools take winter breaks.  Right now, I’m enjoying the cooler temperatures.

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I just checked the weather report.  There is the possibility of a late tropical depression or a tropical storm coming out of the West Caribbean near Nicaragua this weekend.  It is tentatively forecast to arrive in Florida on Saturday and then sweep northward into the Carolinas during the early part of next week.

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With the cooler weather, I hope to branch out a bit more with my explorations.  I do not thrive well in the heat and humidity, but I have survived the last eight months in South Florida.  I am soooo grateful for air conditioning, at home and in the car!

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My sister and I were able to go to the beach on Monday for a short visit.  The Delray Municipal Beach lost a lot of its sand to the last spate of hurricanes, from Matthew to Maria.  With each tide, more loose weed gets tossed up onto the remaining beach.  The beach clean-up crew has a lot of work ahead of it before the beach is really appealing to winter visitors.  It’s part of living in Florida, having the beach nearby and then putting up with the occasional hurricane and resulting clean-up.  Still, it beats having to drive through ice fog and snow to get to work every weekday during the winter months in the northern states.

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Local hurricane clean-up continues with the big claw trucks going around neighborhoods picking up dried piles of debris.  And some of the palm trees are looking a bit bedraggled, with browned fronds, damaged from the salty tropical typhoon-driven winds.  There’s plenty of work for construction people, from repairing fences, roofs, windows, as well as removing broken trees and shrubs.  Still, the area is rapidly returning to a more normal appearance.

As I followed the boardwalk today, passing along the marsh areas and then through the various “hammocks”, I noticed a strong surge of new growth in plant, shrub, and trees.  Everywhere there were new flowers, new leaves, and new growth greening up the palms, and other subtropical trees.  I haven’t been quite as successful learning all the local trees in this area as I was in Flagler County.  My focus has been for some months more on the local and transient birds, especially the wading birds of South Florida.  I hope my readers have enjoyed my photography and ramblings about my little nature walks.

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Enjoy the rest of your week.

Namaste,

Eliza Ayres

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

Photo Credits:  Eliza Ayres

 

Journal Entry 10.24.2015 – “Being Change”

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Blue Dragon Journal

“Transformation”

Journal Entry 10.24.2015 – “Being Change”

The big build-up towards the last of a triple run of Super Full Moons has arrived. Anyone else feeling the energies?

This past week has been an interesting one for me. When I shared with a friend the latest goings on in my work setting, she told me that I had collapsed the former timeline. I know that I’ve been consciously working every night on sending Violet Flame (the Ray of Forgiveness and Creativity, Transformation and Transmutation) plus the Rose-Pink Ray of the Divine Feminine to the prison. I let the intelligence of the Light decide where to apply the transformative energies. And finally, I realized that the one being transformed is me.

Quantum physics has been around since the 1900’s, but is only now catching some attention by those who are yearning to understand the world from a new perspective. We’re learning…

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Eliza: “Feeling the Fifth”

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Blue Dragon Journal

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Eliza:  Feeling the Fifth

This article from Sharman the Pleiadian, via Suzanne Lie, inspired my writing for today:

http://suzanneliephd.blogspot.com/2016/10/chapter-27-preparing-for-first-contact.html

Last night, as is often the case these days, I wasn’t quite awake or asleep; rather, I was in that now familiar betwixt and between state where my emotional being is more receptive to feeling the higher dimensional downloads that are ongoing now.

How do I put into words a profound feeling of joy?  It was a wave of feeling, a peaceful sensation… and a feeling of being whole, complete and loved.  I felt a unity with those who were assisting me and communicated my willingness to completely surrender to my I AM Presence.  There was no sense of separation; just joy in being held closely to my unseen friends and allies. The feeling, the warmth permeates primarily  the area of the heart chakra,  although sometimes it can feel like all…

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Nature Walk, October 20, 2017 – Windy Day

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Nature Walk, October 20, 2017 – Windy Day

We’ve had a lot of rain and wind today.  When I looked outside this morning, I wasn’t sure if it was going to rain or not but thought I would chance it.  I really needed a walk in “nature”… which for me in this area equals my two favorite wetlands.

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Upon arriving at Wakodahatchee, I noticed that there were more birds present, including anhingas, egrets, and Great Blue Herons.  There weren’t too many birds wading in the dark waters; rather they were perched in the pond apple trees, a short shrubby native tree that grows in marshes hereabouts.

When I came around a bend in the trail, I noticed a Great Blue Heron with a long branch in its beak.  Then the realization hit me: The herons were beginning to build their nests!

Here are some more photos, some taken at Wakodahatchee, the rest at Green Cay Wetlands:

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When I started the walks, I wasn’t feeling quite myself, but upon completion, I felt much grounded and relaxed.  Even with the bigger crowd of people about, just being in Nature was very conducive to my well-being.

It’s the New Moon.  Take good self-care and be gentle on others.

Namasté,

Eliza Ayres

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

 

Eliza: On Changes and Transitions

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Blue Dragon Journal

Glimpses into the Distance

Eliza: On Transitions and Changes

This past week, two significant individual First Wave Volunteers passed from this world. We have known them as Dr. Emoto and Dolores Cannon. Still others have passed away earlier this year, bringing much sorrow to those who have looked up to them and have enjoyed the fruits of their great gifts.  Still others will be passing on without any fanfare, yet have served here well.

Each one of these individuals brought knowledge and understanding to their students and to humanity about the expansive qualities of life and the power of thought. They have added to the Whole through their life’s work through the expression of their talents and gifts.

It is now up to those who are left behind to take what they have started and to expand upon this work. It is up to those who are left behind to take up their OWN work…

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Journal Entry 11 October, 2017 – Gators be there!

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Journal Entry 11 October 2017 – Gators be There!

Despite some huge fluffy clouds overhead, I drove to my favorite wetlands for some nice walking and photography.

Wakodahatchee is nearly empty these days as most of the birds have completed their nesting cycles.  I noticed that some of the smaller songbirds are now showing up in the hammocks, although photographing them with my camera is almost impossible given the fact the birds hop around from branch to branch.

There was a large alligator paused in mid-swim with its nose to a clump of marsh plants.  These armored beasts are very big and powerful.  Swimming in the dark waters of Florida’s marshes and ponds is not advisable due to their presence.

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I saw a couple of Great Blue Herons, although it could have been the same one flying around trying to get me to take a photo of it, lol!

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Few other birds were present at Wakodahatchee except some Anhingas, marsh hen, some gallinules and a couple of ducks.

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After completing the mile-long boardwalk, I drove over to Green Cay.  There I spied a Roseate Spoonbill perched on one of the dead trees, along with a flock of white ibis all gaily gathered to scoop up whatever tidbits the muddy bottom could offer them.  I saw a brightly plumaged Northern Cardinal hopping about through a bit of oak hammock.  Then a brief tropical shower sent a few of us scurrying under the cover of one of the periodic shelters.  There was a group of bright-eyed children gathered there listening to a park volunteer talk about the local birds and alligators.

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When the rain shower let up, I continued my walk and found a few more birds.  Then I heard a deep series of growls and laughed.  One woman near me looked puzzled.  I explained it was a gator although we couldn’t see the beast due to the tall marsh grasses.  Continuing on I saw an elderly man leaning on the boardwalk looking intently into the dark waters below.  He pointed out another gator who was taking a brief break from its swim.

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Then, as I approached the Nature Center, I saw the group of children once again, all leaning out over the railing, gesturing and calling.  It was yet another gator, a smaller one, cruising towards the pilings under the large building.  Such excitement and rewards make these walks fun for me to do.  Even though I’ve been coming to the wetlands since I moved to this area, I always discover something new to watch, listen to or photograph.  And I’ve been such a regular that other walkers also recognize me.

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On the way out I saw two women leaning over the boardwalk, aiming their large expensive cameras as they were attempting to capture photos of the butterflies flitting around the butterfly garden.  The flowers of the native plants are coming on strong.  I noticed even a flush of new leaves on the Crape Myrtles, as well as on many other plants and trees.  Nature is recuperating nicely after the great storm Irma.

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Namasté,

Eliza Ayres

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

❤ ❤ ❤