Safety Harbor sunset – Skywatch Friday

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I just missed the sun going down on the buildings in downtown Tampa. As I was crossing the Bayside Bridge after work, I could see the sun shining down and making the buildings across the bay look orange. By the time I got to the Safety Harbor fishing pier, I just missed it. The sun had gone down too low.

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It was a cool, windy night. This guy fishing in his kayak was bundled up.

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Birds heading home to sleep.

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Pelican flying over the pier as it was getting dark.

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A peaceful quiet night on the water.

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Panorama taken with my phone from the parking lot.

I was meeting my husband for dinner near the Safety Harbor fishing pier and had a few minutes to spare. I stopped at the pier and took a few pictures but it getting dark quick. Most nights I’m driving home in the dark so it was nice to see a little daylight even for a few minutes.

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Flowers at Bok Tower Gardens

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Even though it was late October, color was everywhere at Bok Tower Gardens. Flowers were still blooming and probably will be through December, unless we get a freak cold spell before Christmas. I’ve heard they decorate for the holidays so I might have to try to get over there before the New Year.

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Cool morning at Circle B Bar Reserve

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The very common palm warbler. They were falling from the sky. I’ll try not to take too many pictures of them this winter, even though they are the most accommodating birds.

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Even though you can’t see his legs in this shot, this is a yellowlegs. He’s a shorebird that should be at the beach. He was all alone in a small marsh.

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Another missed baby black bellied whistling duck opportunity. They were far out in the marsh and getting ready for a nap. They were probably going to stay in that spot for hours.

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I counted six but I think there were more hiding in the reeds.

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Phoebes where everywhere and you could hear that distinct call all over the reserve.

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This common yellowthroat sat still for 20 seconds. Long enough for me to get the above. Then he took off.

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A barred owl was sleeping close to the trail and everyone was stopping to watch him. He would not wake up and he was hidden behind a lot of branches. We kept going down trail and an hour later when we came back, he was still sleeping.

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“This is how I eat my dinner. Bang the fish on the branch so he won’t wiggle when he goes down my throat.”

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Yes, I have a ton of blue-gray gnatcatcher shots. But they are so cute and there were so many of them.

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The great blue heron doesn’t bang his fish before swallowing. He flips it over a few times and swallows it wiggling.

More of the usual stuff from Circle B Bar Reserve. The first weekend in November was perfect. Although we were a little cold starting out. 50 degrees at 8am. I didn’t even take my jacket off until we got in the car at noon.

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Sitting pretty for my shots.

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Butterflies were everywhere at Bok Tower Gardens in late October so I got a lot of butterfly shot practice. There were still a lot of summer flowers out. Now I can’t wait to go back in the spring to see everything blooming then. I was trying to take a closeup picture of a butterfly when I noticed something green moving on the next flower. That little lizard barely moved as I moved in to get a shot of him. He was so tiny, that flower didn’t even bend with him on it.

The frogs were a bonus. I had walked around the historic home at the gardens and in front of the house was a water fountain with frog statues along the bottom. I walked down a path and saw a little pond with a frog sitting pretty on the side. I said out loud “You’re not real” thinking it was another statue and it jumped up and landed in water.  So I missed out on a jumping shot.

Mandarin Orange MondayShine the Divine

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Hanging with the deer on a cool morning.

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When I first drove into the park, the deer where there to greet me.

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I got out of the car and watched them for a few minutes.

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I stood quietly while they walked around and ate.

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This guy let me get pretty close.

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A black and white warbler taking off.

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A bunny was sleeping near the boardwalk.

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The king of the lake on his throne. It’s rare that I don’t see him sitting up there on a visit in the winter. All the way across the lake.

There were very few birds that I could get shots of in late October. There were many warblers there but they stayed high up in the trees. It was one of the first nice cool morning so the park was already packed with people by 8:30. Everyone was out – joggers, walkers, dog walkers, bikers, kids playing the playground, people decorating shelters for parties. I was home by lunchtime.

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The usual birds – Skywatch Friday

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Early morning spoony flyover.

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American bittern hiding in the alligator flag plant.

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Here comes a sandhill crane couple.

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Anhinga with a fish.

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Typical Florida shot. Snowy egret in the trees.

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This is a juvenile something. I’m thinking an indigo bunting. There had been bunting sightings in the area but I didn’t see any adults. Any ideas?

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Phoebe high up in a tree with a snack.

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Bye, bye.

The usual stuff at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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Pretty as a peacock

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I only see purple gallinules in central Florida. Usually at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland which is where I saw this guy. They are in the same family as moorhens (also known as common gallinules) and those are all over the Tampa Bay area (or at least closer to the coast). I had heard they were back on Heron Hideout trail in the alligator flag plants. They eat the seeds hanging off the plants (picture above). I only saw one in late October. He was close to the trail for a few minutes then hid behind the plant. They are usually fun to watch, like tiny purple clowns but this one seemed shy.

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Cuckoo for a cuckoo

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So I’m standing in the “Bar” when a man walks up and says “You wanna look at my cuckoo?”  The real story –  I started walking down the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve and this nice man with a scope stopped me and said “I have yellow billed cuckoo in my scope.” I had never seen one before even though they are often spotted at Fort Desoto.  He was so well camouflaged in that bush. How did he see that bird so far out in the marsh. He said he saw something fly in and was able to get it on the scope. The first two pictures are from that bush and are extremely cropped. I thought to myself “The rest of the day is gravy!” Later in the day, I had one fly into a tree right in front of me. Could it have been the same bird I saw that morning or another one? He moved around the tree a few times but then came out and posed for me for a while. It’s always feast or famine. I have looked for this bird so many times at Fort Desoto with no luck. This is one beautiful bird.

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Flutter in the house.

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I’m not even going to try to give the names of these butterflies. I do know that the one above with the lime green spots is a malachite. They are rare in central Florida and mostly seen in the Keys and Caribbean. All of the above were taken in the butterfly house at MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) in north Tampa. I was tired of walking around Lettuce Lake Park but it was too nice to go home so I stopped there for an hour. There wasn’t a lot of butterflies outside in the gardens but the butterfly house still had plenty flying around.

Mandarin Orange Monday

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Things around the water

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Even though you don’t see any spots now, this is a spotted sandpiper. During breeding season (summer) this guy has brown spots all over his stomach. Isn’t that sexy?!?

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I think these are least sandpipers.

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A wood stork watching the fishing boats go by.

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A face only a mother could love. They look prehistoric.

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Cormorants swimming by.

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An oystercatcher trying to take a morning nap.

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This is a regular couple at the north beach tip.

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I’m not sure if I would want to stand in water waist deep fishing all morning. These guys didn’t seem to mind. At least they stayed cool.

Just a few critters around Fort Desoto Park on a recent trip.

Linking to Saturday’s critters

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