Due to my hiatus from paddling (cataract surgery) I offered a walk on the Levy Lake Unit of the Barr Hammock Preserve. We would take advantage of the man made dike or berm, to walk a short portion of the 6.5 total miles that this trail/berm entails. This property which totals over 5,000 acres in the south western portion of Alachua County was purchased with conservation monies, via the Alachua County Forever program.
This day we chose the southern portion as it was in the shade and thus cooler. The berm encircles a mixed wetland with some woody plants, and trees such as sweet gum, red maple and coastal plain willow along the perimeter of the wetland. Birds were not as present, though we did see three great egrets, and heard red wing blackbirds vocalizing in the wetland.
Almost immediately we came upon these prolific bloomers, a thistle like flower in the Lactuca genera. They occupied both sides of the trail, and had a very light fragrance and ranging up to eight feet tall. Match heads, elder berry, water hyacinth, morning glory, cattails, and sweet clover were in bloom along the berm trail too.
We came upon a water control structure, a remnant from the early cattle farming practices when this property was under private ownership and the area de-watered for more grazing acreage.
We walked approximately 1.25 miles and then turned around for our return to the trail head. Along the way we saw this small alligator in the vegetation sitting motionless, apparently awaiting its next meal.