Lettuce Lake in the morning – Skywatch Friday

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The moon was still out when I got to the park at 8am.

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You would think by these pictures that it was started to feel like fall around here. Oh no, we’re still at 85 degrees. We’ve been getting a lot of rain so I’m not sure why some of the leaves were turning so early.

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It was nice to see the red leaves. Something we don’t see often here. Most of the time it goes from green to dead.

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Ferns growing on a tree branch.

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There were more spiders than birds.

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This looked like a big cotton ball in the middle but it’s some kind of spider web.

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Little squirrel looking for a handout.

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You had to keep an eye out over your head as you walked along the boardwalk. I kept doing spider checks in my hair.

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Into the sun.

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View of the lake from the tower. Taken with my phone. You can just barely see the moon in the sky.

I had a nice weekend morning walking around Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa. The weather was perfect but the birds and animals were scarce. The swamp was flooded so the wading birds were not around. I got a good 3 hour walk in before heading home for lunch.

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Wet and drippy morning

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I got out of my car at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo just as the rain was going from a heavy downpour to a light sprinkle. After waiting 30 minutes I was ready to get out. Everything was wet and drippy including me since all of the trees were still dripping on me. The birds were hiding so I started snapping pictures of all of the wet stuff around the gardens. I was trying to be creative catching the light through the raindrops but it’s harder than it looks. I probably could have used a tripod. Next time I’ll throw it in my car just in case.

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Back on the trails at my favorite park.

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One of the first birds I see walking down the trail is a common yellowthroat.

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He was checking me out.

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A hairy woodpecker flew in.

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Then a red bellied woodpecker showed up.

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Another bird, I think this is a female yellowthroat.

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Down the trail, I see the royal couple looking over their kingdom from a tall cypress tree in the middle of the lake.

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Green heron doing his “trying to catch a tiny fish” pose.

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Another red bellied woodpecker.

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Another downy woodpecker. The trail was full of woodpeckers.

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This is the 2nd time I’ve seen black bellied whistling duck babies and again they are far away and into the sun. I waited for half an hour hoping they would swim towards me but they kept getting farther away. This a late family.

It was so good to get back out on the trails at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland. I had not been since May. It’s way too hot in the summer. There wasn’t a lot of bird activity yet. The winter birds and ducks hadn’t gotten there yet. It was still fun to get out and walk. But, the spider webs were out of control. You really had to watch were you were going. They were across the trails in the trees and along the sides. Soon, meaning maybe mid-November, the weather will break and it won’t be so miserably hot there.

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Bored waiting for a flycatcher to show up.

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Tiny butterfly at Fort Desoto.

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Teeny tiny things flying around.

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There were lots of weird looking plants.

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Spiky plant.

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Moth on a flower.

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Up close.

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These moths were everywhere.

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I think these are sea grapes (although I wouldn’t eat them).

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It’s weird to see how this tree trunk has grown.

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Staring out towards the water.

It was an early morning on Saturday in late September. There had been a rare type of flycatcher seen at Fort Desoto Park a few days earlier. I knew it was a slim chance to find him still at the park but I figured it would still be a nice morning out either way. There were several other people also looking in the same wooded area for him. We stood around hoping he would eventually show up. I got bored waiting and started taking pictures of other stuff around me. After two hours of looking around for him, I headed out of the woods and up to the north beach area for a nice walk on the beach.

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Birds and bees at the Botanical Gardens

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One of the few birds I saw this morning. A mockingbird staring down at me.

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Dragonfly trying to hide behind his wings.

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I saw this bunny hiding in the water fountain. Can bunnies swim? He may have come through the pipe where the overflow water comes out.

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The only other bird I saw, a hairy woodpecker.

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Bees were buzzing around the flowers in the frog pond.

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I was hoping to get lucky and not get rained on. The news was saying 70% chance but it usually holds out until after lunch. I drove into the parking lot of the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo around 8:30 and it started pouring. I checked the radar on my phone and it looked like it would move through quickly. I sat in the car for half an hour until it was just a light sprinkle. I got out and started walking around and 20 minutes later the sun came out and it felt like a sauna. I still got my walk in but it was very quiet at the gardens.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

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In the backyard – Skywatch Friday

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A great egret sitting on our dock. Taken through the bedroom window.

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Our neighborhood osprey showed up in late August after being gone for 5 months. He must have had a late nest. He usually disappears in February or early March and is back visiting by end of June. I finally was able to get a shot of him trying to eat a fish on our neighbor’s dock. Taken through the bedroom window.

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He would take a bite and then look around and take a bite and look around. He sure was paranoid.

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Cool spider on my in-laws wall.

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He was crawling close to the roof.

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Palm tree in the backyard.

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I got home right when it stopped raining one night after work. The sun was trying to peak out as the clouds moved through so I ran out in the backyard and snapped this with my phone.

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Yes, more shots of Big Red.

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Look who just flew in!

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He looks hungry.

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He started jumping around trying to catch the tiny fish.

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He’s so funny to watch.

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Oooh! He got a fish.

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And, he drops it.

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Trying again.

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He got it this time. He turned around to show me.

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This is gonna be good.

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Oh no, he drops it again!

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He caught it again. This time he got it down.

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He was not about to let Mr. Great Egret move in on his fishing spot.

I could have sat there all day taking pictures of this reddish egret. When I first got out to the north beach at Fort Desoto I saw Steve sitting down taking pictures. I said “How many pictures of that bird are you going to take?” We had just spent an hour a month ago taking a ton of pictures of this bird already. He said the same thing I tell my husband “You can never have too many pictures of any bird, especially Big Red”. They have so much personality. The few that hang around Fort Desoto Park do not seem to mind the photogs taking their picture. If you sit down and watch, they will start dancing for you and get close. I had to get up and move back because this guy kept getting closer. So yes, I plan to post even more of this bird if I see him again.

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Birds and beasts at Chesnut Park

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Cardinal wanting a handout.

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His mate wanted a handout as well.

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A wet brown thrasher hiding in the bushes.

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Something yellow. I’m thinking a female common yellowthroat?

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A carolina chickadee high up in the trees. I could not get a good shot of this guy.

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A male common yellowthroat high up in the trees.

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Mom alligator still guarding her nest. I thought it had been close to 2 months since I had seen the alligator nest mound she was resting on. Still no babies on this trip. The area is fenced off so I took this in between. She’s got some nice teeth.

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Turtle hanging out near the alligator’s nest.

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Buzzing around.

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 I saw this beautiful dog walking with his owner and had to take a picture.

Another quiet morning at Chesnut Park. There were a few migrating birds showing up but most stayed high up in the trees. I’m having a hard time seeing many of the fall migrating birds this season. It always rains during the week when the birds stop by for a rest and I can’t get out of work. By the sunny weekend, they all have heading on their way south for the winter.

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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Macro on a rainy day

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Playing around with my macro lens on a rainy weekend.

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A squirrel and a frog

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Not sure what this warbler is. Too pale to be a yellow warbler. Could be a first year of some type? No real markings on it.

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It was the only warbler I saw that morning at the end of September.

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The catbirds are back for the winter. I’ve been seeing them everywhere in the last 2 weeks.

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The most exciting thing I saw. A squirrel eating a pine cone.

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Looks like he’s eating corn on the cob the way that he’s holding that pine cone.

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This flew very high up over my head. Someone yelled out that is was a peregrine falcon. If so, it’s a first sighting for me (or at least a blurry one from far away).

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Before leaving the park I headed to the bathroom. I’m usually pretty good about looking around for snakes or spiders in park restrooms. Don’t want to get bit on the bottom. I didn’t even notice this guy until I turned around to flush. Of course I pulled out my phone and took the above picture.

It was a beautiful morning but a little disappointing in the way of birds. If the highlight is a squirrel and frog, it’s a slow morning. But, the weather was perfect and I got a good walk in.

Linking to Saturday’s critters

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