“Ding dong the witch is dead.” I tried to watch the movie “Oz, Great and Powerful” over Thanksgiving weekend and I just couldn’t get through it. I guess I’m still partial to the original Wizard of Oz. I’m bringing this up because this place makes me think of what Oz would look like (you know, if it was in central Florida). At least in mid-November. Finally, the reserve was covered in the burr marigolds that come out each fall. Last year the amount of yellow was disappointing so this fall it was nice to see the area covered in them.
My friend Pam was taking pictures of the flowers with her old film camera. I’m still waiting to see those pictures. I know, back in the old days it used to take forever to get film back (way before the one hour photo shops).
A blast of yellow. And to think most of the north was covered in snow when I took this.
Old cypress trees covered in moss along one of the many ponds.
Traffic jams on the trail the weekend before Thanksgiving. Did everyone get that shot of the coot???
The magic tree down on Wading Bird Way is looking pretty sad.
There’s something magical about walking out on the trail and see the marshes covered in yellow flowers. I wished they lasted longer than a few weeks. Maybe by the time the flowers die, the white pelicans will have arrived and we’ll have something else to get excited about. There’s been a few flying overhead but not any swimming in the ponds or lakes yet.
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“Oh look, there’s a great blue heron with a fish.”
“Is he showing me his fish? If he thinks I’m jealous he’s crazy. That looks gross.”
“Ohhh, don’t drop it.”
“Are you just playing with it or are you going to eat it?”
“Stab it in the middle. That’s a good way to stop it from flopping as it goes down.”
“Down the hatch.”
“Gulp. Man, I’m glad I’m not a heron, eating raw fish, bugs, frogs and snacks all day. I know, it all taste like chicken (except for the fish).”
On a recent walk down Marsh Rabbit Run trail at Circle B Bar Reserve I ran into the above. I watched him for just a few minutes while he was trying to swallow it.
The hooded mergansers showed up in our channel in early November. I saw that flash of white and started yelling “The hoodies are back!” This is the 4th year we’ve had them floating in the water behind our house during the winter. These were taken through the bedroom window. If I just open the back door, they take off down the channel.
At first we just saw 2 males. Since then we’ve had a few females show up.
This one came pretty close to our dock.
A female anhinga hanging out on our neighbor’s dock.
I noticed the little kingfisher sitting on our neighbor’s dock post and realized he had a fish in his beak. I snapped the above through the window. He saw me.
He flew down to our neighbor’s dock with the fish. Then he flew off down the channel so I didn’t get to see him swallow it.
Later in the afternoon he was back on our dock.
I noticed the white ibis sitting on my neighbor’s dock. They were watching something.
On the other side of the dock was an osprey with a fish under his foot. That juvenile ibis was pretty brave to fly over to him. The osprey eventually got tired of the crowd and left with his lunch.
Just a few visitors to the backyard in the middle of November.
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My first “in the wild” crested caracara. This was taken from the car. On our way back from West Palm beach I told my hubby we have to look out for a vulture looking bird with a big orange beak. We saw him early into our drive. He was sitting in a tree just off the road. Hubby pulled off on the grass and I was able to snap this quickly before he took off. They are only found in Arizona, Texas and Florida and usually in open fields. This bird has alluded me for years. I’ve never heard of one being seen in the Tampa bay area. They are found in central Florida but every time we head to the other side of the state I can’t seem to find them.
Later in our drive, about half way across the state, Hubby spotted this one on the road. He turned around and pulled off the side of the road. I took the above from the car since I was afraid he would take off as well. He did not seem to care, although we were pretty far back.
This one is a juvenile with the pink beak and not quite dark feathers on his body. He was chowing down on a raccoon. I got out of the car and walked slowly towards him but still stayed far away.
Nice yummy piece of raccoon meat in his mouth. He kept an eye on me as he was eating.
What was he thinking as he stared at his meal?
When cars went by he didn’t move but when a big truck came by he would fly over to the grass and come back a few seconds later.
At one point he took off with a bite still in his beak.
Then he flew over to the fence post.
He stayed on the fence post for a while.
Up close, he’s prettier than black or turkey vultures. I mean really, first with the pink beak and then it turns orange. How cool is that? I guess if I saw them everyday I would say (and to quote my Dad) “Just another buzzard.” We were only there for a few minutes, then he flew off across the cow pasture. We saw two other caracaras that day but there wasn’t anywhere to stop off on the side of the road so we kept going. The above were all taken into the sun as well so not ideal. I’m keep looking for them though.
She has pretty eyes.
You can almost always find a sandhill crane in a cow pasture.
Interesting black and white cow.
Red shoulder hawks were everywhere.
A typical sight on the dirt road. silhouette of a vulture.
Hubby and I were headed to West Palm beach to visit his aunt that recently turned 95. We left fairly early and headed out across central Florida. I wanted to drive down a dirt road to look for a caracara. A bird that has alluded me. I had heard that they hang out on Peavine Road. A long dirt road that runs from Highway 60 up towards Orlando. Unfortunately we hit rain. It rained most of the way across. I was thinking we should just head straight for West Palm. We got to the dirt road and the rain had stopped so we decided to drive down a little ways. It drizzled on and off so we only went half way down the road before turning around to head on our way. The road was filled with vultures, kingfishers, great blue herons and cows. Cows went on for miles. There was no sight of a caracara that day but on the way back home we went a different way and I got lucky. More on that tomorrow.
Sitting on my neighbor’s dock, she’s been hanging around a lot lately.
A juvenile white ibis was on our dock. I think he saw me through the window.
Our yard is always full of squirrels since we don’t have dogs or cats nor do our immediate neighbors.
Another day, another sunning. I wonder if this is the same lady.
This fruit was hanging over our fence from our neighbor’s yard. I was using my macro but it was a challenge since it was so windy. The orange blob kept bouncing around.
Another had ripened and opened up showing the red seeds.
A bee on the bush.
Taken during the last full moon in the backyard. It was early in the morning.
Just a few things I saw while peeking out the bedroom window and then later walking around the yard. There’s been an anhinga sleeping in our neighbor’s tree lately. I wonder if it’s the same one above. I can see her shadow in the tree in the morning when I get up. A big limb hangs over the water and she’s been sleeping there a couple of months.
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“Hey lady, are you going to watch me eat too?”
“Wait, I’m getting a snack”.
“Look what I got!”
“Hey, I’m hungry too.” said the juvenile purple gallinule.
“That seed over there looks pretty good. If I could only get there without falling off.”
“Upside down is the best way to eat.”
“You got any salt?”
“Look, there’s more seed over there.”
“I’m getting a neck cramp from all this stretching.”
“I wish I had some fries to eat with all this healthy food.”
Again, the clouds were in my favor this morning I went to Circle B Bar Reserve. I would not have gotten decent shots of these guys if the sun was out in full force based on where they were on the trail. I would have gotten dark shadows. There were at least 8 of them dangling from the reeds getting the seeds. That’s the most purple gallinules I’ve seen at one time. There were several adults and the rest were juveniles. Looks like they must have been born early this past spring. They were just barely getting their colored feathers but no candy corn beak yet. I stood there for half an hour watching them. It was like watching kids playing on the jungle gym. They were pretty funny. I hope they stay in the area for the winter.