Pink at the end of the day.

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I haven’t seen a lot of spoonbills lately. In late June, I was heading to lunch and saw a few spoonbills hanging out in the ditches along the back road. The next day I brought my camera and stopped by after work. The ones with the pale pink on their body and no color on their faces are juveniles, probably born early this spring. They look so pretty and clean. I stayed for a few minutes and headed home. I didn’t want to freak out the black necked stilts that were close by.

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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Flowers at the Largo Botanical Gardens

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You don’t notice all of the spider webs until you zoom up close.

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Pretty in pink.

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Raindrops? No, just the sprinklers.

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Everything was wet early that morning.

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Looks like a firecracker flower. A tree was full of these. Any ID? Hey, where did that bee come from?

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Yellow and pink.

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Not sure what this is.

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These were in the pond.

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The rose garden was in full bloom in late June even though some were starting to look a little crispy. The rainy season hadn’t started yet.

Just a few bright colors to brighten up your day!

Shine the DivineMandarin Orange Monday

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Funny things at the zoo

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One of the African spoonbills in the aviary that you can walk through. He’s looking at me like “What are you doing down there?”

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Funny duck trying to hide under a small bush.

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Everyone’s favorite, the meerkats.  The one on the right says “I’ll turn my head and you guys do what you gotta do.”

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“Did you get all the bugs?” says the one on the left. “The things you do for love.” says the one on the right.

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Baby marabou stork born this spring. He’s starting to look like his parents (which isn’t a good thing).

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You can always see plenty of injured manatees at the manatee hospital at the zoo. Which is really sad. The pools are always full. They get injured manatees in faster than they can rehabilitate and release them. Most are from boat strikes but a few where still there from getting sick from cold stress in the winter. Those will probably be released soon. One had lost it’s flipper to a crab trap.

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Turtles hanging out in one of the manatee pools. “No more parking on the stick.”

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The masked lapwing is one of the coolest birds there. He lets people get pretty close.

A had two hours to kill on a Saturday morning before I had a family commitment so I ran over to Lowry Park Zoo to walk around for a while. I was hoping to find wild nesting spoonbills but they did not show up this year. I was still able to find a few things to take pictures of.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

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The “I’m sick all weekend” post – Skywatch Friday

What did I do over the long 4th of July weekend?  Sleep. I was sick with sinus and throat infections so I spent the entire 3 days on the couch. I was looking through some old vacation photos and realized we had taken a trip to Exuma, Bahamas right before I started this blog.  So here is my “I’m sick so I”m going to bore you with my old vacation photos” post.

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Our hotel from the kayak. We stayed at The Hideways at Palm Bay.

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Our little cottage for the week. I loved that we weren’t connected to anyone else. The walkway lead right on to the beach a few feet away.

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Looking out on the beach. Yes, the water was that clear and clean. I did not “clone” out anything in the picture.

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Brett had just gotten into kiteboarding so he brought all of his stuff with him and kiteboarded almost every day. Now he’s been too busy to do this anymore.

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One of the beaches we went to for him to kiteboard. I just walked for miles on the beach and took pictures. It was so peaceful. Since it was the end of the winter tourist season, there was hardly anyone around. This was mid-May.

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Anyone looking for the old Love Boat?

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View from one of the highest peaks on the island.

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An old cemetery looking over a marina.

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The best food on the island. The famous “Chat N Chill” Only accessible by boat or a long kayak trip. We had rice and beans and the best fresh grilled fish caught right there.

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The old conch pile near the Chat N Chill. The big thing to eat on the island is Raw Conch salad.  Fresh right out of the water. No thanks!

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Someone’s lunch waiting in the water.

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Parking lot at the Chat N Chill. Our hotel had a little taxi boat that took us over.

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The starfish were amazing.

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I went kayaking every day. The beach was lined with kayaks to use so I would just paddle out for a few hours. Brett took this from our cottage. I had a shirt on because by the end of the week my back was getting a little crispy.

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We found a secluded beach within a few minutes of walking distance. No one was there. It was just beautiful.

It was a perfect trip. No rain, perfect breeze. Years ago there were only a few hotels on this little island. Exuma is much farther south than the bigger tourist Bahama islands. No cruise ships here. It was very quiet and laid back. Almost too laid back though. The service is not the same as back in the states.  The only place we got really great service at dinner was at the Four Season’s resort (which I think now is a Sandal’s resort).  The last two nights we just called and ordered room service early and then ate our dinner out on the beach. That was even better. Some day we’ll get back there. These were all taken with an old Fuji point and shoot. I think then I only had an 8 megapixel.

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Screaming birds and sleeping ducks.

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The trail at Largo Central Park Nature Preserve has an osprey nest at the beginning of the boardwalk. You have to walk right underneath it to get out on the boardwalk but the platform was pretty high up. The osprey on the right is the baby. At several months old, he is as big as the parent but still has the white dots on the end of the feathers and his eyes are still orange. It looks like they have a little tree growing on the nest. The parent must have pulled up some roots and it started growing on the nest. The baby was screaming for a while when I first got there. I turned around for a while watching some ducks and missed the other parent flying in with a fish.

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Zooming in on the nest, they were both eating some yummy fish. You can see the difference in eye color here.

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It wouldn’t be a summer morning walk without seeing baby ducks. I could see a family far down the channel and was able to zoom in on one of the babies.

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About an hour later, I did another lap around the trail and realized that they had moved closer to my side of the channel and the family was taking a nap under mom.

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They were all dozing quietly when some black vultures flew close by and woke them up.

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After a minute or two, they all went back to napping. They couldn’t all fit under mom but they were snuggled up together.

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Right below the duck family, a green heron was creeping around near the water.

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When I got back to the parking lot, this nanday parakeet was screaming from the utility line. I could hear them screaming all over the park but could not get close enough for a shot.

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And now as I was leaving, there were a few of them sitting in the tree right next to my car.

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Even though they are camouflaged into the tree, just listen for the loud screaming and you can find them.

Another hot Saturday morning walk around Largo Central Park Nature Preserve. It’s a small park right in the middle of a neighborhood and a small golf course. I usually walk 3 times around the trail but it was so hot I only made it around twice.

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Last trip to Gatorland for 2014

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Yummy snack!

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This great egret was gulping down the crawfish.

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This picture was taken on the 3rd floor of the observation tower. There’s a tall tree right up against the tower. The cormorants and anhingas nest in the upper branches and the snowy egrets nest in the bottom branches. I didn’t see any eggs or babies yet with this couple although the one on the left sleeping could be a juvenile. It’s kind of cool being high up in the trees hanging out with the birds.

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A male and female anhinga were either fighting or flirting. Not sure which.

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This great egret found a shell in the mud. I’ve only seen these shells on the beach so it’s weird that it was in this lake. I didn’t see him swallow it.

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Taking off.

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A cattle egret couple were just starting to nest. The one on the left looks grumpy.

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They did have a go at it so there should be late eggs coming soon.

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Afterwards, they ignored each other.

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A male anhinga up in the tree next to the tower.

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A very young anhinga that was born months earlier. It hasn’t got any color yet.

These were all taken in late May during my 2nd trip to Gatorland in Orlando. The bird rookery was still full of babies and eggs with a few couples getting a very late start. It was a nice quiet morning with just a few photographers there. Most of the winter crowd had gone. That’s because it was starting to get hot. I got there when the back gate opened at 7:30 am with my early access pass and was gone by 11am. By then all of the birds were napping. That was my last trip until next spring but I did take a ton of pictures.

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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Critters in the hot heat.

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The usual dragonfly.

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Up close.

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Usually when a turtle sees you coming, they dive under water. This one just sat there and stared at me. The people who frequent the park probably feed him.

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Butterfly up close.

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Blue dragonfly on a stick. I like the stripes on his body.

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I was standing on the trail taking pictures of baby ducks down the lake. All of a sudden I see movement below me out of the corner of my eye and this bunny was at my feet. He just kept chewing on grass.

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Another bunny out on the trail.

The bunnies at Largo Central Park Nature Preserve are used to people. There’s a constant flow of people jogging on the trail. There’s a canal that runs around 3/4 of the trail. On one side is a golf course, another side are small houses. This was my 2nd visit to the park. The birds were scarce since it was so hot. I think most headed north in the spring with the human “snowbirds” that live close by. It’s a nice park though. I walked two laps on both the boardwalk and the trail. By then it too hot and time to go home for lunch

Shine the DivineMandarin Orange Monday

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