Random things at the Botanical Gardens

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I think this little guy was chowing on a pine cone. He was high up in the tree.

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Bug or bee?

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Dragonfly with a frown on his face.

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Tropical dogwood.

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Teeny island in the creek.

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Jump! I think he was sick. He was moving but didn’t jump and hide like he should have.

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Lizard on a leaf.

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Orange and pink.

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Peaking out.

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On the way home from the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, I passed this spoonbill in a ditch. I stopped and snapped a few pictures since I hadn’t seen one in a while.  He looks like a young one with that clean white face.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic

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Assorted flying things on pretty flowers

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Labor Day weekend was hot as usual. I headed out Saturday morning to the Florida Botanical Gardens to see if there were any flowers left that hadn’t wilted. There were a few still blooming. The gardens were almost empty of birds. Only a few osprey hanging around.

Shine the Divine Mandarin Orange Monday

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Same ole birds at Fort Desoto

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Wilson’s plover

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Sanderling

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Oystercatcher couple

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Bye, bye

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Grumpy snowy egret on a pile of seaweed.

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Great egret goes cruising by.

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“Hey, bring back that crab.”

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“Things are looking up.”

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“Sushi for lunch.”

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Loggerhead shrike on a wire.

Working on my tan at Fort Desoto beach.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

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Safety Harbor lightning – Skywatch Friday

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I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home recently and was kind of bummed the weather looked so bad. This was taken with my phone. I was thinking about jumping back in the car and going home but I thought I’d walk around the area for a few minutes.

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The only bird I found there, other than a few laughing gulls flying over head.

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The exposed sand along the seawall was covered in fiddler crabs. They are very skittish and kept running back in their little sand holes. I finally was able to get a few outside.

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They are very tiny, this is extremely cropped.

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Even with the threat of rain, there were a few people on the pier. Manatees were swimming close by but the water was too dark to get any pictures.

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I realized it was raining north of the pier and lightning was popping up.

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I only had my 70mm – 200mm lens with me and these were handheld.

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There was a lady on the pier as well who was taking pictures and she had a lightning trigger on the top of her camera that automatically shot pictures when it detected lightning. I had not heard of that accessory but it might be a cool one to look into. That would mean I would have to spend more time standing around waiting for storms. On the weekends,whenever I hear thunder starting I think “I should pack up and go to the airport parking deck to try to get lightning pictures.” It’s hard to get out and do that. I’m usually getting dinner ready or doing chores. Maybe a new toy would motivate me. Anyone have any experience using one?

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

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As The World Terns

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“Mom, pay attention. I’m hungry.”

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“I said stop ignoring me and get me some fish or I’ll throw a big tantrum.”

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“Oh brother, are they flirting?” says the juvenile sandwich tern in the back.

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“We are family!”

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“Make room for me!”

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“Dad, mom said for me to tell you to go get me some fish.”

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“Please!!!” says the juvenile on the right.

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“Can we get some peace and quiet around here?”

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“Here comes a dog. We’re outta here.”

The beach wasn’t covered with shorebirds since it was sunny when I got to Gandy beach after work. There was still a few people out walking around and swimming. I did manage to see a small flock of sandwich terns hanging out together. They were busy preening and bathing and wasn’t paying much attention to me sitting in the car. You would think a lot of drama was going on by the way they were yelling at each other. There were a few baby terns from this spring but now they are as big as the adults. Their beaks and legs aren’t as black as the adults yet. They can fly but I think they are still being fed by the parents. Soon, most of them will be gone heading south with the other migraters.

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Shorebirds at Fort Desoto

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Dowitchers taking a nap.

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Wilson’s plover not much taller than the grass.

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The sandwich terns are back on the beach for a while.

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Juvenile sandwich tern.

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Semipalmated plover.

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Dowitcher cruising by.

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Gotta itch.

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He’s so cute!

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Laughing gull missing a foot.

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Willet trying to be cute.

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A very young black skimmer taking a nap.

Same ole thing on the beach in late August.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for 

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In the woods

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Is it fall yet?

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Butterfly

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Weird things hanging off the fir tree.

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End of summer.

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Extremely cropped. A bee eating a dragonfly or the other way around?

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The boardwalk was covered in creepy spiders.

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Green on green.

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End of season.

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Fir in the swamp.

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Taken with my phone. Sun peaking through the trees on the trail in the early morning.

More from my hot steamy walk at Lettuce Lake Park.

Mandarin Orange MondayShine the Divine

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Up in the trees and under the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Park

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High up in a tree, it looked like this squirrel was eating a leaf.

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I found this anhinga up in a tree next to the observation tower.

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I heard a wheezing noise and had to look close to find this black bellied whistling duck high up in a tree. His friend was on the other side of the tree facing the lake.

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I don’t know what he was looking at. They do the funniest things.

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By 9am, when the sun was starting to shine on the boardwalk, it was so hot steam was coming off the rails.

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A view of the boardwalk in the shade.

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Down below in the water.

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A few little fishies swimming by.

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A night heron hiding out in the shade next to the boardwalk.

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More steam off the rails. I was drenched in sweat 10 minutes after I got to the park. I barely made it to 2 hours walking around.

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Reflections in the lake.

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Alligator trying to blend in. He was a tiny one.

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A shot of the main part of the lake from the observation tower. This was taken with my phone since I only had my 70-200mm lens with me. I was trying to travel light this morning.

Another hot steamy Saturday morning walk. Is it winter yet?????

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Black terns on Gandy beach – Skywatch Friday

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I had heard there were hundreds of black terns on Gandy beach in early August. By the time I made it over there in late August, there were only a handful still hanging around. Most had lost their all black feathers and were molting into some form of mix of black and white. The above was already in his winter feathers.

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You don’t realize how small they are until you see them next to a royal tern. Both little ones on the left and right are black terns in the middle of molting.

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Something spooked them and off they went. They circled around and came back to the beach.

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Was he showing off or clowning around?

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Bye bye. Down below is the reason the terns took off. This time they flew far away to the roped off area at the end of the beach.

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This guy thought it was funny to have his dog chasing after the birds. Since they were in the main beach area I didn’t say anything. All of the birds flew over to the sanctuary. I took these from the car. Although it was sunny here on this side of the beach, across the street were dark clouds and I could see lightning headed this way. I was disappointed there was no rainbow.

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I couldn’t blame the dog for wanting to run around and have fun. He was cute.

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Looking down towards the utility tower. The yellow on the left was a concrete wall so people couldn’t drive past that spot. There are also big signs that say keep out, bird sanctuary but many people don’t pay attention.

I stopped off at the beach on the way home from work to see if any black terns were still there. They migrate through in late summer and stay for a while. It started out sunny when I left work but right after I got to the beach, a nasty storm was heading for me quickly. I snapped a handful of pictures and left.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

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Black bellied plovers having a spat

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A cute black bellied plover in his breeding colors.

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Then I see another one across the beach.

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One of them started yelling at the other one.

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Are they arguing about something? They have plenty of space.

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A scuttle starts. Turf wars?

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Or maybe he’s trying to make up?

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They kept at it for a few minutes and then one of them flew off.

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The winner?

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I found the other one down by the water.

I counted 5 black bellied plovers at the north beach marsh at Fort Desoto in mid-August. I had not seen any in a while so I’m not sure if they are passing through and heading south for the winter. One couple was having a spat. They were chasing each other for a few minutes and then one flew off. I don’t know if they made up later. I hope so.

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