Birds at the fountain

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A dove in the first picture, the rest is a yellow rumped warbler taking a bath. I was sitting on a bench in the wooded area at Fort Desoto watching the fountain with several other birders. It was a quiet morning and we were hoping something good was going to stop by the fountain for a drink. Meaning an indigo bunting or worm eating warbler. Something we rarely see. After half an hour, all that came by was a common ground dove and a yellow rumped warbler. The warbler did not seem to mind us all sitting there watching him take a bath. He stayed for a while until a crow ran him off. At that point it was time to go home for lunch.

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Spring walk at Circle B Bar Reserve

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Yes, another purple gallinule picture. I’ve seen more this past couple of months than in the entire 5 years I’ve been looking for birds. Although, on my most recent trip to Circle B Bar Reserve, I didn’t see any so they may be gone for the summer.

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Female wood duck on a tree. This was the first time I’ve seen wood ducks at this park.

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The male was watching us pretty closely.

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She was pretty. They were hopping from tree to tree. Maybe this is how they flirt.

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The green heron looked all dressed up with those orange legs.

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The wilson’s snipe was still hanging around. Pam found him. We were looking closely in the marsh at something else. I think it was an alligator and she says “What is that?”

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Palm warbler with pollen all over his beak.

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Savannah sparrows can usually be found at the intersection of Marsh Rabbit Run trail and Heron Hideout trail.

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This looked too yummy to pass up. I asked him if he needed any tartar sauce.

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Another one with lunch landed on a branch close by.

Most of the winter birds and ducks had already left for up north. Spring migration of the songbirds hadn’t really started yet so it was a slow morning at Circle B Bar Reserve. Just the usuals there with the exception of the wood duck couple. They became celebrity visitors there real fast.

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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Too early for swan babies

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I stopped at Lake Morton in early April to see if any of the swan babies were born yet. No babies but there were nests all around the lake. The nests are roped off with big signs to leave the nest alone and don’t go near it. They also have cameras in the trees since a few years ago someone was stealing the eggs.

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Nice day for a swim. It was noon when I got to the lake and the sun was high up.

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The black neck swan couple are still hanging around.

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This turtle came up on the bank for a nap.

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The white ibis are in their breeding colors with that bright red beak.

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Going, going

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Gone. To sleep. It always feels like spring when you see baby ducks.

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Later they were hiding under mom.

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Lots of pairs of swans together.

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The black neck swans swim by me.

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A tree was full of these buds. I just found out it’s a Kapok tree. I’d love to have one in my yard.

Even though there were no swan babies yet, it was a beautiful spring day.

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Fun day at the zoo.

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“Gimmi a kiss!”

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“I gotta itch.”

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“I’m still a baby.”

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“Gimmi a hug!”

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“I’m the biggest one here.” (I realized later that he had a problem with his foot.)

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“Let’s go for a swim.”

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“Come here lady. I’ve got something to tell ya.” says the croc.

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“Come join the party.”

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One last parting shot from my fun day at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

Linking up to Saturday’s Critters Shine the Divine

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Soon I’ll be flying – Skywatch Friday

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It was a perfect Sunday afternoon in early March. I was standing in a small dirt parking lot next to the farm. The parking area is often used for a riding area so there was dried horse poo all over. At least I wore my old already cruddy hiking shoes. It was late in the day and I think I missed the late meal but the baby eagles were active. Junior was flapping his wings several times. He was just starting to get lift off, practicing for that big day when he finally takes off. It wasn’t this afternoon. I think it was still a little early and he had a little more practicing to do. One parent took off and Junior was screaming “Wait for me.” The parent circled several times and then landed again. Maybe he was showing Junior how it’s done. I haven’t been back since this day. I’m sure by now both kids are flying around even though they may hang out in the area for a while. I stayed for several hours and then it was time to go home and cook dinner. I felt like I was covered head to toe in dried horse poo powder so a long shower was taken before dinner.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

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A sad circle of life.

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I had read that there was a new sandhill crane family at Circle B Bar Reserve. As soon as Pam and I walked out on the trail, we saw them slowly making their way towards us. The little babies were so cute. One was much younger than the other. Maybe by a few days.

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The smaller one was all wet. They must have been in the marsh.

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He looked tired and plopped down for a rest while the parents and older sibling were looking for food. Pam said “I wonder if there’s anything wrong with him. He looks bad.” I didn’t think anything of it. Maybe he was just tired since he was younger.

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The oldest sibling stayed close the parent and was getting fed a few bugs.

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They looks so funny, all wet.

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The parents started cruising down the trail and closer into the marsh. I started taking pictures of a flock of vultures close by that were eating a turtle.

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I looked over a few minutes later and noticed both babies were down in marsh and it looked like they were playing. The above and below were extremely cropped.

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After a while we realized the older baby was hitting the younger one on the head with his beak. He was pulling out fuzz.  At that point we realized that the older one was attacking the younger one. We stood there at a loss of what to do. We took a few steps closer into the marsh but the parents came towards us and seemed to be guarding what was going on down there. Do we risk getting eaten by an alligator or poked in the head by a parent sandhill crane? The parents were watching us and would move towards us if we moved towards the babies. The family started to move on and we thought maybe the little one would be okay, maybe the older one was just play fighting a little too hard.

We headed down the trail and a few hours later, we stopped by that same area and the entire family was gone. We thought they must have kept going and that the baby was okay. Later that night I had read on the Circle B Bar Facebook group that someone had seen the little one alone on the trail. The parents and older sibling had eventually left him behind. A ranger was called and she rescued the baby and took it to a bird rehab facility. The baby did not survive. Apparently this is common in sandhill crane families like it is in other birds such as eagles and hawks. I have seen a mother snowy egret drop the youngest of her 3 babies into the alligator pond at Gatorland so I shouldn’t be shocked but it is still sad.

If you need some cheering up after that, check out Jess’s blog. She was recently able to get pictures of a sandhill crane coming out of the egg. So cute!

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A spring migration tease in late March.

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My first sighting of the morning was a black and white warbler.

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Then a hooded warbler.

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Then a yellow rumpled warbler. These have been around most of the winter.

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A barn swallow sitting still. I’ve never seen one sitting still before.

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Another hooded warbler landing right beside me on the ground.

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Another black and white warbler later in the morning.

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These birds are so funny they way they hang upside down most of the time.

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I only saw one yellow throat warbler that morning.

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Another hooded warbler?  The trees were dripping with them and they were not being shy.

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One last parting hooded shot before heading home.

I think this day was “Hooded Warbler Day” at Fort Desoto. They were everywhere at the park in late March. There wasn’t much of a variety though. Just tons of the above. I had heard there was a worm eating warbler there as well but I could not find him. It would have been a first for me. I’m hoping this was just the beginning of spring migration and it doesn’t fizzle out. If the winds are favorable for the birds through April, they will just keep flying right past us without stopping for a snack.

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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