Live Oak and the Red Bellied Woodpecker

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When passing a nearby Live Oak tree in Florida I saw a bird swooping to the trunk. She started pecking a hole and I could see it was a Red Bellied Woodpecker and she was making a nest inside the tree at the crook of a large trunk where a limb had been. After she hollowed it out she made a nest there inside and would poke her head out looking for her mate. Eventually she had babies to feed and frequently flew back and forth to feed them.

Robinson Preserve South in Bradenton

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On the map of Bradenton, Florida you could see there was another part of Robinson Preserve Park but about a mile to the South. This was connected but a long way from the Northern part of Robinson Preserve. This part of the park had large highly elevated boardwalks going up to massive buildings in the jungles there. There were many playgrounds and one several story playground up in the roof of the jungle with tubes, slides and stairs going from level to level for the children. Here you can see the entrance boardwalk to the main building that makes it even handicapped accessible.

Arch in Palma Sola Botanical Gardens

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Here we are at the Palma Sola (Sole Palm) Botanical Gardens in Bradenton, Florida near the entrance of the Robinson Preserve Park. They have many Royal Palms and botanic features and they have this giant Archway feature which leads to the gardens here. This arch reminds me of the Skyway Bridge.

Lily Pads at Palma Sola Botanical Gardens

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There were several large ponds at the Palma Sola Botanical Gardens across from the Robinson Preserve Park in Bradenton, Florida. There were many water vegetation exhibits and among them this display of water lilies that were blooming.

Palma Sola Botanical Park in Bradenton

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Directly across from the main entrance of the Robinson Preserve and Park just to the West of Bradenton, FLorida is the beautiful Palma Sola Botanical Park (Palm Alone). This was a hidden park of trees, ponds and flowers everywhere. There were several nice buildings used for functions, but they were all closed due to the pandemic so perhaps on the next trip we can explore them. I particularly liked the rows and rows of Royal Palms around the buildings and in the fields.

Homestead at Robinson Preserve in Florida

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We are at the beautiful Robinson Preserve Park West of Bradenton, Florida and exploring around. At one of the drive in entrances where you park is the relocated Valentine House. This was a house from the late 1800’s in Palmetto and was moved from Palmetto to the Robinson Preserve in Bradenton via a barge across the Manatee River and Tampa bay and then by wheels down trails of the Preserve to the present location. Now you can tour the Valentine house during your visit to the Robinson Preserve. Below is a photo of the house in its original location in Palmetto and on a barge being moved.

View of the Water from the Robinson Reserve Trail

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The Robinson Reserve Park West of Bradenton, Florida is a vast park with miles of trails over sandy desert like areas, over trails into marshes and boardwalks along the waters of the Manatee River and Tampa Bay. On one of the farthest out trails the boardwalks returned to dry land and mangrove forests and along the River just as it entered Tampa Bay and you could find places to rest. Here was a bench and relaxing spot along the river like quite a few others provided by the park. Oddly, the water was high and often came up and completely around this bench.

Winding Boardwalk Through Robinson Reserve

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We are exploring Robinson Reserve Park to the West of Bradenton, Florida. This expansive and beautiful reserve is at the mouth of the Manatee River as it enters Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. There are many widing and long boardwalks throughout the park that take you safely over the saltwater marshes there. Here I found a winding back and forth boardwalk that was near the Manatee River side of the park. The salt water was flowing strongly by the boardwalk like a river with current.

Marsh View at the Robinson Reserve Tower

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Here is a view from the giant four story Observation Tower at the Robinson Reserve park just West of Bradenton, Florida. This is where the water of the Manatee River meets the Gulf of Mexico and there are many saltwater marshes and estuaries. From the very top of the tower you get this view looking South.

Boardwalk to the Robinson Reserve Tower

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We are at the Robinson Reserve park to the West of Bradenton, Florida. At the highest point we can see the four story high observation tower. The curving boardwalk that runs to and from the tower can be seen from the top. Here you pass by a shallow saltwater marsh that was teeming with life such as fish and crabs. The large body of water had mullets jumping out of the water all over the place.

View Up the Robinson Reserve Tower

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West of Bradenton, Florida near the Gulf of Mexico beaches and the Manatee River is the great Robinson Reserve. Here are miles of sandy trails leading to the water of the Manatee River as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. There are boardwalks, marshes, desert like prairies and water filled ponds. Here was a giant tower 3-4 storeys tall giving great expansive views of the surrounding reserve. When you get closer to the tower you can barely see the top and it looks totally different from the view hundreds of feet away.