Getting up close with some fun feathered friends at the Tampa zoo.
A wild blue heron was sitting on a nest. I was checking to see if any babies were hatched yet in early April in the rookery at the alligator exhibit at the zoo but all of the moms were still sitting on eggs.
The babies started screaming as Mom crept closer to the hole.
Feeding was quick. The babies were screaming at her.
Mom squeezed her way in and was cleaning out the nest. She took off with something in her beak.
“Wait, come back. We’re still hungry.” There were 2 babies in the nest.
Twenty minutes later Dad comes to feed them (you can tell the males by the red stripe across the chin just under their beak. The females don’t have this stripe.).
These pileated woodpecker parents were busy with 2 little mouths to feed. The light was bad from the boardwalk so it was a challenge to get decent pictures. These were all taken with my 300mm lens and extremely cropped up. They are animated little birds, almost grown up.
I found this immature red-shouldered hawk on top of a picnic shelter at Chesnut Park. The park is heavily populated with hawks, both red-shouldered and Cooper’s. He was really focused on something.
Close by, I heard something peeping high up in tree and saw this fuzzball sticking his head up. A baby hawk. A tiny one.
The parent was one tree over, keeping an eye on the baby. I sat on ground for a while hoping the other parent would show up with something yummy to feed the baby but after a half hour I was hungry so I left to go home for lunch. I’m sure by now the park is full of young hawks flying around.
Most people don’t think of boulders in Alabama but they exist. Horse Pens 40 is known as a world-class bouldering destination. I had been here several times before at a child with my parents, probably during some craft festival but didn’t remember what it looked like even when my sister and I stopped by in March. I don’t remember the big rocks although I wasn’t much into rock climbing as a child and that was well over 40 years ago. It was cool to walk around and they have some great easy trails if you don’t want to climb around. My favorite is the last picture of the big rock with the small sign that says “Rock” in case you were confused.
There were a few people there rock climbing although the park was mostly deserted due to the recent rains.
Along the trails.
From the top.
We only stayed for about 2 hours. We were already tired from walking around another park so we didn’t go to far on the trails. The dark clouds were just starting to break up so the weather turned out nice. I would love to come back here and stay for a night or two. In a cabin though, not a tent.
The rare hybrid great blue heron/great egret was sporting his breeding colors back in early April. I did not change or enhance the color in his face, only cropped the pictures up. He looks more like a great egret now but they have bright green around the beak during breeding season. Great blue herons get a little blue around the eyes. He or she looks like he’s ready for a mate. I didn’t see him the last 2 times I was at the pier so maybe he’s on a nest.
Snowy egrets were stealing bait fish from the fishermen. The cormorant scored a big one for lunch.
Showing off on the light post.
Pelicans and frigatebirds were flying by.
Out past the fishing pier, the utility tower had broken off during Hurricane Irma. The broken tower is still laying below the water. People started swimming out to it and the lifeguards had to swim out and yell for them to come back to shore. Not knowing if they were strong swimmers, the lifeguards wouldn’t want them to get out too far into the shipping channels where the big boats come in.