Winter vacation sneak peak

After 2 years of not going anywhere, we booked a trip to Park City, Utah so Brett could snowboard and ski. I’m not a skier but was planning to do a lot of walking around in the snow and just seeing the sights.  Luckily our flights last week were uneventful and on time. We also spent some time doing some tourist things in Salt Lake City. I took a gazilion pictures (okay maybe not that many but almost 1,000) and I’m started to edit them now so I’ll have a lot of vacation posts coming but here’s a sneak peak.

Our first stop was Park City Mountain so Brett could snowboard. After dropping him off here, I headed over to the old historic Park City area to walk around.

The old strip is full of restaurants, shops and artist galleries. It was quiet the morning I was there so I was able to walk around without bumping into too many people. It’s usually packed at night.

We made several road trips outside of Park City including one morning to go snowmobiling.

We spent some time at Antalope Island in Salt Lake City. This buffalo decided to cross the road right in front of us. He was not fazed by cars. Everyone was going slow and stopped to let him cross.

There wasn’t any snow in Salt Lake City but you could still see it on the top of the mountains all around the city. We found a spot to hike around there not to far from the University of Utah. The views are amazing almost anywhere you are in that city.

Needless to say, more to come on our trip.

SkyWatch Friday

A 3 park morning

I was out early one morning right before Christmas.  My first stop was the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but thought I would do a quick lap around the gardens.  The gardens were decorated for Christmas and you could see the lights all over the bushes and trees. I thought this owl statue was cool and would have loved to see it all lit up but I didn’t make it here for the night holiday lights this year.

The usual birds were in the main pond. A green heron at attention, a wood duck (the entire family was floating around the pond) and there were lots of moorhens.

After the botanical gardens, I stopped at nearby Largo Nature Preserve to see if there was anything new. A grebe spent some time preening close to the boardwalk and there have been some northern shovelers there for several weeks now but nothing new or different.

My last stop before heading home wasn’t really a park but the Dunedin marina. I was hoping to see dolphins or manatees hanging around the marina but I didn’t see any on this trip so after walking around for a while it was time to go home for lunch.

My Corner of the World

A little bit of history – repost

I am reposting this post from early 2018 since today is Martin Luther King Jr, day.

I was born in Birmingham Alabama in 1963. My mother was pregnant with me through some historic events that happened that year in this city. I would not learn what happened during that time until much later. My parents were not from the south. They ended up there because of my dad’s job in the middle 50’s. My mom grew up in New York and my dad grew up in Argentina, moving to American in his late teens. When I was young, my friends thought my parents were from another planet since they didn’t have southern accents. I didn’t know the small park in the pictures below existed. I grew in northern Birmingham going to a Catholic grade school and then a public high school. I don’t remember learning about any of the events that took place the year I was born. It wasn’t until I moved to Atlanta after college and became interested in history that I heard the stories about “Bombingham”. 

My sister and I spent some time at Kelly Ingram Park during my visit over Easter weekend. Neither of us had ever been there before. The park is located across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church where 4 young girls were killed when a bomb went off in the church on a Sunday Morning in 1963. The park now has many statues and sculptures related to the civil rights movements.

The famous “Foot Soldiers” statue depicts a scene of what happened in  May of 1963.

More sculptures in the park.

The statue of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Four Spirits statue that depicts the 4 young girls that died in the church bombing in September 1963.

Roses next to the Four Spirits statue.

Across from the park, the 16th Street Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. was a frequent speaker. There’s a lot of history in this building that you can read about here. 

Our World Tuesday Graphic

A quick stop in the backyard

I’ve had so many birds stopping by in the backyard for a quick bath or drink in early December. Titmouse are regulars. Mockingbirds, cardinals, catbirds and pine warblers have all stopped by. I’ve only had one chickadee stop by (that I’ve seen),  

There’s always a lot of pine warblers coming through.

The Carolina wrens stay on the ground most of the time, digging around under the leaves.

I’ve seen a few downy woodpeckers in the big oak tree outside the window.

This is a dangerous place for a squirrel to take a break. I’ve seen a hawk sitting here twice.

Neighborhood walk in the fog

I peaked out the window in early December and saw the fog.  It was a good morning for a walk in the neighborhood.

The lake across from our home was almost covered in fog. It was cool out but I felt like I was walking through a shower.

Heading down the street I saw this guy cross in front of me. I pulled my phone out and quickly snapped this since I knew he would be gone in seconds.

I got to my favorite open spot and I could barely see the utility towers in the open field. The sun was just starting to come up behind the trees so I knew the fog would be gone soon.

There were some ladies having breakfast in the woods next to the field. I didn’t see them when I was walking to the end but saw them coming back.

SkyWatch Friday

Is if fall yet?!?

The usual birds can be found on the boardwalk at Largo Nature Preserve. They are acclimated to people being around and the limpkin didn’t even fly off as I walked by.

This snowy egret looks like he is walking on water. He’s actually half skipping and half flying along the surface looking for bugs or fish in the water.

I had forgotten that northern shovelers hang out here in the winter although I rarely see males here. This time there were several males with their dark green faces.

Other critters include a butterfly and an otter that came out of the water far down the canal.

I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home to see if the cypress trees had turned orange. The small lake there is surrounded by them and can be quite a sight when they turn colors but this year they were mostly brown and had lost a lot of leaves already. Maybe it was due to the lack of rain we’ve had this fall. There was a hint of orange so it did feel a tiny bit like fall, even if it was 85 degrees in late November.

My Corner of the World

Foggy and yellow

I love going to Circle B Bar Reserve early in the morning when it’s foggy (as long as it burns off quickly). It makes the reserve look different than other days. You can see all of the spider webs across the marsh and it makes you realize just how many spiders there are out there.

Black bellied whistling ducks flying out across the marsh.

The bur marigolds were blooming in mid-November and the marsh was a blanket of yellow.

A few of the little critters flying around.

It was a quiet day for birds, except for some of the usuals including purple gallinules and swamp sparrows.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Where injured sea critters live

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has more than just rescued dolphins. They also take in other injured animals from all over. You are greated by these white pelicans when you first come into the aquarium. They have a lot of character but the glare on the glass is a challenge.

After walking around for a while, we realized we could see them from the other side as well. They had moved over to the inside of the exhibit and I think I bonded over this one for a second.

Up close with some crabs.

You can also see stingrays up close.

All of the turtles here have some type of injury. The top one had lost his back flippers and the bottom one lost his front flippers. There are all types of injuries, most of them here are man made. Boat strikes, getting flippers tangled in fishing line or crab trap lines. The aquarium also rehabilitates a lot of turtles when red tide (algea bloom) is bad but any of those that recover are released.

Hunting for shells

The best spot in the Tampa bay area to look for shells is Honeymoon Island, out past the Dunedin causeway. Thanksgiving morning we heading over for a quick walk before the cooking began. It started off cold but warmed up quickly as the sun kept rising. The tide was super low and you could walk out pretty far in ankle deep water. I love mornings like this. Sunny and cool, low tide and very few people out.

My sister’s stash.

SkyWatch Friday

Around the neighborhood.

I went for a quick walk early one morning in early December. I was heading for a pond down from my home and caught this guy flying right in front of me. He was so close I couldn’t get his legs in the shot.

The small pond down from my home was quiet. I only found a mallard couple and a small alligator.

Birds from my window include bluebirds and a pileated woodpecker.

Walking around in my small backyard I could see that my neighborhor’s feeder had lots of bluebirds. It looks like he had changed out the mealworms for a suet. He was also getting woodpeckers and pine warblers.

On another morning walk I found the deer in the open field down the street.

The small camellia bush in front of our garage started blooming. I didn’t realize they bloom in the fall here and it was a nice pop of color in the front yard.

I made some fun nature art with a few of the fall leaves on our patio. Yes we do have seasons here in central Florida. Fall doesn’t really start until early December. The leaves were changing but I had on shorts and a tshirt and was sweating making my fall leaf circle.

My Corner of the World