The screened lanai is a great place to relax and enjoy nature, either the views during daylight or the sounds of the evening. Mornings may start with the mysterious mist rising over the 58-acres of wetlands as the sun rises. Highland Lakes homes are in the trees on the distant edge of the wetlands. Evenings are especially relaxing as the view is to the southeast, away from the hot evening sun.
A pair of sandhill cranes nested around the pond, not always successful in raising their chicks. We were fortunate to even see a pair of whooping cranes visit the wetlands. Binoculars are an important accessory to get the best view of nature activities.
Periodically we’ve seen great blue herons catch and eat a snake–quite a process for the heron. The heron will catch the snake in the water and then fly off to the open ground to finish the catch. It takes multiple attempts to drop and grab the snake as it writhes around; when sufficiently tenderized by the bites the heron will then arrange the snake with it it’s head into the heron’s month. I then takes just a few “gulps” and the snake disappears into the great blue heron. It then flies back to the water.
The back yard is great for blooming amaryllis flowers which come back each year.
Some of the visitors were too far away for good pictures. One year there was a large group of wood storks which visited for a short time. We also saw a rare pair of whooping cranes; unfortunately there was never a repeat appearance. When water conditions are right alligators will look for food.
Bald eagles nest nearby and are frequently seen on tall power line polls within the community. We were fortunate to see this bald eagle on the berm behind the neighbor’s property.