It really does freeze in Florida sometimes

Frost on turkey oak leaves.
Frost on turkey oak leaves

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary,” here are some leaves from an extremely ordinary tree. Turkey oaks are all over Florida. They’re so common you kind of stop seeing them after a while. They are scrubby, brittle trees that fall over if you look at them wrong. But that’s fine, because a hundred little saplings will sprout from the roots.

I took this on a cold morning a few years ago, when I was helping with a bobwhite quail survey in the Florida panhandle. I arrived at dawn, took up my post on a specific point at the edge of a field. It was a very cold morning for the area, and there was still frost on the leaves and grass as the sun rose. It made even the ordinary, scrubby, weed-like turkey oaks beautiful.

I took a couple of pictures and then stood there, shivering, and listened very hard. After a while, I almost started to hallucinate possible quail calls. Then I heard some real ones that reminded me of what they really sound like. You can hear it, too.

Published by

Bethany Harvey

I’m a biologist, GIS nerd, and occasional wildland firefighter living in North Carolina. The many hobbies I enjoy but am bad at include photography, rock climbing, tabletop RPGs, knitting, and orienteering. I write literary short stories and SFF novels, and hope to someday figure out why it doesn’t work the other way around. You can find me yelling about politics, gaming, and writing on Twitter (@bethanyharvey) or about under-appreciated wildlife at

3 thoughts on “It really does freeze in Florida sometimes”

  1. Great timing! On my bike ride, 2 days ago, I was astounded at the number of Californian quail I saw. I swear, if there’s such a thing as reincarnation, all neurotics come back as Californian quail. You cannot watch those quail run, without smiling. We live in a beach/rural area with lots of sand dunes and scrubby areas, and lots of small ponds so, now that it’s spring, there are bird families everywhere. Quail, ducklings, cygnets, pukeko, pheasants – I even saw a golden pheasant a couple of weeks ago. Lucky there ‘s not a lot of traffic around, the number of times I’ve almost fallen off my bike, trying to get a better view.
    Great photo, too.


Comments are closed.