Blooming in the winter

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Pretty things were still blooming in the winter in central Florida. On a cold (60 degrees) sunny morning I headed out for a good 3 hour walk. I went to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. Not many birds there but still lots of flowers blooming. I know, everyone else is showing off their pretty snow pictures but soon they’ll be wishing they were down here for a visit.


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Fun in the sun

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Yes I took these right into the sun. I was standing on a sea wall looking for ducks and heard a splash down near the beach area at a park in Safety Harbor. The black dog ran in and was barking at the brown dog to come in. They splashed around and played for a while. They looked like they were having the best time in the cold water. The brown dog got tired and went back on the beach and the black dog seemed to stand there like “Come back, it’s not time to leave yet.” He finally shook off and headed back to the beach.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No, it’s a bird. – Skywatch Friday


Juvenile bald eagle soaring overhead.


“Look up. There’s a white pelican flying by.”


“Here comes a few more white pelicans.”


“Now it’s a party.” Too bad they didn’t land where we could see them.


The black vulture has an all black face.


Turkey vultures have a pink face. The one in the front looks like a juvenile. His face will turn darker pink like the one in the back and his feathers will get darker on his next molt.


A lone pelican swimming in the lake.

At first all I saw was the one white pelican swimming by far out in the lake. Later down the trail, hundreds of them flew overhead. They may have been heading to the other side of the lake but we couldn’t see them from anywhere on the trail. It was a beautiful sunny morning in late November at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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Shorebirds trying to sleep

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I made a quick trip to Fort Desoto one night after work. I got there right before dark and the shorebirds were already trying to sleep. The sun was going down and they were settling in for the night. The east beach was full of dunlins, dowitchers, sanderlings and the usual terns and gulls.

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The Land of Oz (only with marigolds instead of poppies)


The preserve was in full yellow bloom. The burr marigolds were all over the place. It looked like the land of Oz on the Friday after Thanksgiving.


Sandhill crane way out in the marsh.


Anhinga showing off in the marigolds.


Tricolored heron on the marigold border.


A wind-blown great blue heron watching me.


Carpets of marigolds.


My pictures do not do the colors justice. Taken with my phone. You can see all of the trees in the back have lost their leaves for the winter but the marsh is full of flowers. November is the best time at the preserve. I realized I didn’t take any pictures of the bald cypress trees. Those are all bright orange right now. They will be losing their leaves in the next few weeks. See, we do have a fall here. It just comes much later than up north.

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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Fun things at Circle B Bar Reserve


Fly on a sign. Notice the hair on his bottom.


Berries waiting to be eaten.


This blue-gray gnatcatcher was posing for me.


They don’t have any bright colors but their personality makes up for it.


The number of limpkins at the reserve seem lower than in the past. I only saw a few on this visit.


Yummy breakfast.


 I’ve been seeing a lot of pileated woodpeckers lately.


Anhinga posing in front of the yellow flowers.


A great blue heron prancing down the trail.


The black bellied whistlers didn’t seem to mind the glossy ibis getting so close.


In a huddle.


Hiding in the yellow flowers.


The usual alligator close to the trail.

The first week in December was perfect. Cool sunny days. I had to get out for yet another long walk at Circle B Bar Reserve.

LorikArtShine the Divine

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It was Raccoon day at the preserve


We saw them walking down the trail and then we lost them. Looking around, we heard some shaking high up in the tree. Looked up and saw this staring at us.


“Yeh, I’m mean. See my teeth?”


“You don’t believe me? How about this?”


“What about if I growl?”


“I’m sorry. Did I upset you?”


“I’m really just chewing on an acorn.”


“These are yummy.”


Later, we saw another one all alone wandering down the trail.


He was much smaller and all alone. He got pretty close before he veered off into the bushes.


It was also armadillo day. We saw three different ones. I rarely see them here.

Instead of going to the mall for Black Friday on the day after Thanksgiving, we headed to the Black “mask” Friday at Circle B Bar Reserve. Pam’s husband, Craig, came up with that name for the day since we saw so many raccoons that day. It was a beautiful fun trip and way better than fighting the crowds at the mall. Who still goes to the mall these days anyway? Shop on-line.

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In the Marsh – Skywatch Friday


Not a pretty morning but still a pretty place. The yellow flowers were just starting to come out.


Tricolored heron in the muck.


Green heron trying to blend in.


Pretty little pied (grebe).


House wren hiding in the bushes.


“Run coot run!”


It’s always fun watching them skim across the water.


Spoonies in the rain.


Only a few were mixed in with egrets and ibis.


Another view from the trail. The bushes were losing their leaves as the yellow flowers were blooming so the contrast was weird.

Even though it was drizzling on and off all morning, I still had a good walk. At least it wasn’t hot. Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, hot or cold, animals everywhere or very few around, Circle B Bar Reserve is still a perfect place.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

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I should have slept in.


I went looking for a grasshopper sparrow that had been reported at Possum Branch Preserve before heading over to Chesnut Park. This was all I got, trees full of yellow rumped warblers.


And pigeons flying overhead.


And fruit that is toxic if you eat it in this state even though it’s pretty.


Chesnut Park wasn’t much better. Palm warblers. Really? I should have slept in.


Bees and flowers were still blooming.


At least the squirrels were cute holding the berries in their tiny hands.


The usual titmouse were looking for a handout.


They get pretty close.


The lake was full of these blooming. Bees were enjoying them.


View from the end of the dock. You would almost think fall was here. There were a few trees turning red. It was the weekend before Thanksgiving and the high was going to be 80 degrees by noon.

I stopped at the little Possum Branch Preserve to look for the rare (in this area) grasshopper sparrow. There were 3 other birders there looking as well. No luck even though he was sighted the afternoon before. I moved on to Chesnut Park a few miles away. Not a lot of birds there but people were coming in fast. Every picnic shelter was booked and everyone was hauling in food, coolers and decorations. It was a perfect day for a family outing.

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Up in the trees at Circle B Bar Reserve


The usual phoebe.


Juvenile bald eagle up in a dead tree.


What a great face!


Pileated woodpecker climbing up.


Trying to get that berry.


He was across the creek and high up in the trees.

A few things in the trees at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-November.

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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