A productive bike ride in the neighborhood

I was heading out of my street on my bike one morning when I saw a black bellied whistling duck sitting on the side of the lake across the street from our home. This was the first time I’ve seen one in our neighborhood.

I pedaled around to the big open utility field and stopped to take some shots of the above deer. I don’t see bucks often so I had to stop and get a shot of him even if it was across the field.

Yes, more turkey shots. I was cruising around and saw some turkeys up on a roof. They must have had a pretty good view from up there. Eventually they started coming down and pecking around in the grass.

I ran into some nanday parakeets that were feeding on someone’s feeder.

My 2nd neighborhood fawn sighting. This Mom only had 1 baby. They crossed the street and went behind someone’s house that backed up to some woods.

I was waiting at a stop sign for traffic to move (but really just taking a rest) and heard a black bellied whistling duck. I looked over and there were 2 sitting under a tree near the main road into the neighborhood. I started snapping some shots and realized they had babies with them. There was a pond nearby but they were not that close to it.

They headed down into the ditch and made their way towards the pond. Of course they went to the pond that had houses around them so I lost sight of them. I didn’t want to walk into someone’s backyard (as tempting as that was). These were taken across the street and heavily cropped. Those babies stayed close to Mom. A third whistler showed up as they were heading to the pond. I wonder if it was the same one that was in the lake across from our house. I didn’t see it there again.

Heading back home I ran into more turkeys on the other side of the neighborhood.

September in the yard

I looked out the back window one morning and saw deer on our patio. One was so close. I took these with my camera through the window. I knew they would take off if I opened the door but I think they still saw me.

One walked over to my Christmas cactus (that wasn’t blooming at the time) and started eating it. I took a video of if and above is one of the stills. She demolished it. It was a small one and wasn’t doing very well so I didn’t try and stop her. I replanted the pot with petunias.

Bluebirds taking a bath.

Across the fairway I could see a spoonbill sleeping under a tree. I went outside and snapped the above from our little yard. A little later I saw it feeding in the newly formed pond from the much needed rain we had. I didn’t see anyone on the course so I snuck across to get a little closer.

I sat down under a nearby tree and watched as the spoonbill was feeding. A juvenile little blue heron and a few white ibis were also there.

The young turkey showed up with Mom again. I went outside and took these. They didn’t seem to mind me sitting in the grass nearby. They stayed for a while, pecking around the yard.

I saw another lone turkey taking a nap (or a dirt bath) nearby.

I finally saw the twins in my neighborhood. I was coming home from running errands and had my camera in the car. I pulled over right before my house and snapped them heading into the woods at the end of our street.

The view from across the street in mid-September.

I took these with my phone from the upstairs bathroom window. This was the only night we had a good lightning storm this summer.

SkyWatch Friday

Another morning at Fort Desoto

It was a beautiful morning in early September. I was at Fort Desoto looking for the flamingoes again. I had made 2 trips out already and had only seen 1 each time. I had heard there were several here the day before.

Again, I found one at the north beach tip and it took me a while to hike out near it.  I snapped a few shots and it took off over the trees. They don’t stay long in the lagoon here.

I headed over to the fishing pier before leaving and caught the boat rush hour traffic.

A manatee made a brief appearance near the pier with only his snout coming up for air.

I found some of these cool sea creatures in the shallow water.

Pictures from around the park taken with my phone.

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Lots of teenage birds on the beach.

When I was at Fort Desoto in early September looking for the flamingoes I couldn’t help but notice the reddish egret adult and the juvenile (in all gray) that was learning to catch the fish from his parent. There was a handful of photographers standing along the water line waiting for the lone flamingo (that was far out in the water) to move around and feed. The reddish egrets walked right in front of us and started showing off. The juvenile appeared to have caught on quick and was catching as many fish as the parent.  They really put on a show and would not be ignored.

The juvenile sandwich terns were still screaming at the parents to bring them some fish.

This royal tern brought his young one a fish. The juvenile was probably old enough to get his own but won’t until the parent stops feeding him.

A lone lesser yellowlegs strutting around.

Terns flying high.

Hanging on the causeway

I was back at one of my favorite spots for a quick walk and a rest.

After my walk I got out my chair and started watching a juvenile yellow crowned night heron trying to eat a crab. He flipped it around for a long time and then swallowed it quickly when I blinked. He has one tiny white fuzz strand still sticking out of his head from his baby fuzz.

It was low tide and the rocks were covered in these tiny black shells. I don’t know if these are baby conch shells or just some type of tiny black shell. Any Florida shell experts out there?

A pair of oystercatchers fly by.

Later I drove over to the other bridge on the causeway, closest to the mainland, and parked to walk on that bridge. I noticed a great egret and a reddish egret standing fairly close to each other. I pulled my camera back out and shot the above.

The great egret started walking towards the reddish egret and the reddish egret started ruffling his feathers like “Don’t come over here. This is my spot”. The great egret kept going and then flew off.

Heading over the bridge.

Clouds were moving in as I walked over the bridge. I noticed an osprey on the top of the gate that closes when the drawbridge has to go up.

Pelicans were sitting along the pilings under the bridge.

As I was getting back in my car I heard some nanday parakeets screaming nearby so out came my camera again and I walked over to the bushes and caught a few of them eating the seed. At this point the clouds were getting dark so I headed home.

SkyWatch Friday

All the usual birds

I made a trip down to Fort Desoto Park in August to look for a bird. Not just any bird but one I had not seen before. A Wilson’s phalarope had been reported there for several days. I made my usual stop on the bridge going into the park and snapped the above with my phone.

I headed out to North beach and figured that even if I didn’t find the new bird it would be a great morning out.

The new bird looked a lot like the above but no, these were plain ole willets. They are common here along the beaches.

A great egret flies by.

After looking around for the new bird I walked north on the beach and found the white morph reddish egret. He’s a regular here if you can find him along the beach. He was dancing around looking for fish so even though I have a ton of pictures of him I took more (because you know, you can never have too many pictures of the same bird).

A cargo ship goes by.

Some black skimmers came flying by and one went skimming along checking out his reflection.

A cute little piping plover was walking around. He had quite a bit of bling on his legs.

A tricolored heron posed for me.

Snowy egrets lined up on the fishing pier. They were waiting for a fisherman to pull up bait fish.

A shot of the Sunshine Skyway bridge taken right into the sun.

Before leaving I stopped at the East Beach turnaround and shot the above with my phone. And no, I didn’t find that Wilson’s phalarope. There were several others there also looking for it and no one could find it again. I was right though, it was still a great morning out.

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A quick walk at Chesnut Park

It was the end of August and I kept missing all of the fawns this summer. I finally found one with Mom at Chesnut Park. The baby was getting pretty big but still had spots. I only saw them for a minute and they took off deep in the woods.

I found the osprey eating a fish right off the parking lot. I snapped a few pictures and she looked over at me like “I knew I was being watched.”

A scruffy looking female cardinal was eating seed that someone had left on the boardwalk rail.

Reflection of a green heron.

The eagles were back for the winter. I found one hanging out near the restrooms.

The sun was coming up over the trees.

As I was leaving I saw a couple hanging just outside the fence. I pulled over and watched them for a few minutes from the car.

It’s turkey week on the blog

I’m continuing with turkey week. Only these aren’t recipes for what to cook for today’s Thanksgiving festivities. These are wild turkeys in my backyard. (Full disclosure – I am not a vegetarian. I’ll probably be eating a little turkey later today, one bought from a store). A Mom with her lone baby was feeding around in our backyard one afternoon. I went outside with my camera and was sitting in the patio chair taking these.

As I was watching baby I could see the older juvenile turkeys across the fairway. They started heading over to our side of the cart path and towards the tree island behind the building next door.

The Mom and baby started to make their way over to where the older turkeys were. I was wondering if the older turkey family would let this baby hang out with them or chase it away. I’m hoping Mom was ready to get her baby out of there but she was heading right for them.

I followed Mom and baby over to the newly formed tiny pond from the recent rain. The adults were feeding in the water, scratching around in the muck. The Mom of the juvenile turkeys was standing close by watching them feed in the water. I didn’t get too close and was taking these with my 400mm lens.

Mom and baby kept their distance. They were watching for a few minutes and then left and headed over back towards my home so I followed them back.

A few minutes later the older ones cruised by my neighbor’s yard and went around the building and left.

I eventually went around to the front yard to look for the older turkey family and saw a yellow crowned night heron and a limpkin in the lake across the street.

The sun going down through the trees.

Red clouds in the backyard later in the week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

SkyWatch Friday

Backyard critters in August

It was early August and the hummingbirds were still coming to the backyard. There were at least two that I could see. They would buzz by each other on the way to the feeder. They were also both feeding on the shrimp plant hanging near the feeder. They would come to the plant early in the morning and then the feeder later in the day. The bottom picture is a young male. He was just getting a few red dots on his throat.

One morning I saw him fly up to the top of the oak tree. I ran upstairs and was surprised I could find him again up there. I could just barely see him sitting high up through the window.

A squirrel doing a sploot on the bird box and another one was eating what looked like an old pine cone.

A juvenile male cardinal was scratching around under the bird bath. Dad was close by and was feeding him. He was just starting to get that black mask around his eyes and beak like Dad.

I saw a lone doe across the fairway.

A little while later she was taking a break.

Since this is turkey week, I’m posting tons of turkey pictures. I was seeing them a lot in August. One morning they were on the golf tee out our back door.

I heard Harley, my cockatiel, screaming and looked outside and there was a hawk on the ground right in front of our door. He must have been hunting lizards. He saw me and took off.

We had an armadillo in the backyard one afternoon. The first shot I took with my camera through the window across the yard. A little later I saw him scratching around under the ferns near our door. I went out and took the 2nd one with my phone. He let me get pretty close, although I wouldn’t get tooooo close. I’ve read they don’t have great eyesight so he probably didn’t even see me.

I was taking the garbage out one morning and saw the above gulf fritillary caterpillar on the plant. Of course I went and grabbed my phone to take a picture.

The neighborhood eagles were back in late August. I stopped one morning and got a shot of one of them sitting on the nest tower. There was still some of the old nest left but they had their work cut out for them to get it ready for nesting season.

Late August brought some much needed rain although we are still in an extreme drought. We only had a few nights with summer skies. Both taken from the driveway.

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A busy morning on my bike

It was mid-July and I still hadn’t seen the baby turkeys this summer. I had heard they were around from neighbors but I kept missing them. I went out for a bike ride one morning and there they were. Crossing the street and almost grown. I knew they would be in the woods in a second so I hopped off my bike and snapped the above.

As I passed them by I was able to get a quick shot before they went under the wooden fence and disappeared into the woods. They were still in that “cute” stage.

As I got around to the open utility field I saw a deer couple. The male looked young with those tiny antlers.

I saw another turkey family, all grown ups, far off on the other side of the field. They were heading behind someone’s house. When I got around to the other street they were feeding in front of a home, scratching around for bugs.

I stopped by the pond behind the golf center and found some baby mallards on the other side of the pond. I rarely see baby ducks here. In our old neighborhood in Tampa there were always a ton of babies almost all year round, both mallards and muscovy.

I also found some baby moorhens.

A great egret flies by as I was taking pictures of the moorhens.

Across the golf course I could see a doe running into the cover. I’m thinking she looked pregnant.

Flowers blooming around the neighborhood.