Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Red Shoulder Hawk in Ridge Manor
Life is way too rushed. There are so many places along the trail, but we get caught up in the race from point A to point B. I like to leave early, no matter where I am going, so if I see something wonderful I have the time to stop. Nature moves at a much slower pace, and I remember my neighbor telling me this when he was trying to teach me how to hunt.
"Slow down, Calvin, You're not moving at the same speed as the woods." You miss the small indications when you are going too fast, the flick of a deer's tail or his ear, the branches that aren't branches.
The place in this picture is a bike path called Ridge Manor. It is on 50 West, but just east of I75, and it is a great place to bring a bike. The Withlacoochee bike trail overall is about 46 miles, but there are several trail heads like this along the way if you don't feel like doing the whole trail. The parts that go through Croom are really cool and offer great opportunities to view wild life. I have seen deer, pigs, rabbits, hawks, eagles, blue belly swifts, all sorts of snakes and other wonderful creatures. One time I even had a brief moment with a Bobcat. This is a place we found on the way to somewhere else, and now it has become point B, and I am still looking for and stopping at other points on the way here.
The hawk in this picture allowed Drew and I to get pretty close. We slowly moved forward, a post at a time till we could see what he was eating. Maybe that's why he let us approach, because he didn't want to relinquish his meal. Very beautiful bird, and the pic below is what was left over of the giant grasshopper when he was done. So the next time you're time driving down fifty and see a sign for Ridge Manor and a seemingly ordinary green bridge, Pull Over!