I hope they are hiding today.

This young turkey greeted me as I drove into my neighborhood.

I’m thinking these are females. I passed them on my walk early one morning and took the above with my phone.

Where the turkeys hangout.

Walking back home after seeing the turkeys, I saw several deer running across the golf course. I quickly pulled my phone out of my pocket and shot the above.

Late one day in late October I was closing the blinds early since I was meeting Brett after work for dinner and we wouldn’t be home until dark and saw this lady staring at me from my yard.

I wonder if they were the same ones I saw on my walk a few days earlier. I watched them peck around for a few minutes and took the above through the window. “Sorry I was late for dinner, dear. I had to take a bunch of pictures of the turkeys in our yard.” was very strange to say.

Hope you are having a Happy Thanksgiving and are not eating Tina and Trudy (my neighborhood turkeys) for dinner.

SkyWatch Friday

Creeping things along the trail

What would you expect to find walking down Marsh Rabbit Run Trail at Circle B Bar Reserve? I rarely see them on this trail but there it was on my walk in late October. As I got closer and he disappeared in the bushes on the side I yelled “Don’t go in there. The alligators will get you” but he didn’t listen.

These guys are always hanging on the side of the trails.

So are these. Marsh Rabbit Run should really be called Creepy Spider Trail.

This is what you see after the trails open back up after being closed for the summer. The sides of the trails are full of spiders. Those tiny dots are spiders in between the trees. That’s why you don’t want to get to close to the sides of the trails (although most of them are pretty high up there are usually a few lower down). I think for the most part these are harmless although I always do a spider check if I feel like I walked through a web.

An eagle cruising far away across the marsh.

My favorite purple clowns were out feeding. These are juvenile purple gallinules that hadn’t gotten their purple feathers in. Soon they will look like the one below. They were eating the tips of the alligator flag plants.

Assuming this is one of the parents.

My Corner of the World

The moon was still up

There’s something magical about being at Circle B Bar Reserve when the sun is coming up. Besides it not being crowded or hot yet, the birds and critters are very active this early in the morning. It was my first time back since April and it felt good to be out on the trails. I usually don’t come during the summer because it is so hot and the main trails are closed due to alligators nesting on them.

Turning around, I could see the moon still up in the sky.

Of course I had to stop and take pictures of my favorite spot before heading down the trails. The last one is with my phone and you can see how big the marsh is on this trail.

The great blue heron was sitting right on the trail. I walked right under him and he didn’t move. I stopped and snapped the 2nd one with my phone so you can see how close he was.

After passing him I turned around to see if he had flown off. Nope, he’s still there watching the sun come up.

A few fly bys. A night heron and a pair of cormorants.

Some of the tiny birds, a common yellowthroat (who looks more like a masked bandit) and some blue gray gnatcatchers.

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Critters from my yard.

More shots of the little titmouse around my bird bath. I have taken around a gazillion pictures but it’s hard to stop when I’m out walking around. They love to pose for me.

A few other visitors in early November. There are a ton of downy and red bellied woodpeckers in the neighborhood. I’ve seen a few pileated woodpeckers go flying by but I have yet to get pictures of them.

I’ve seen several black and white warblers in my big oak tree.

A yellow throated warbler in the palm tree up against our townhome.

A chickadee looking around under the patio chairs.

This juvenile little blue heron was creeping around the grass. All of the above were taken through the window.

If I stand on the end of my patio, I can see my neighbor’s bird feeder a few houses down from ours. He’s always got birds on his feeder (although mostly blue birds and pine warblers). After taking these and zooming in, I realize he had dried mealworms in his feeder. I only have mixed seed and I’m only getting titmouse at my feeder although I have gotten a few pine warblers as well. I may have to step up my feeder game.

A pine warbler on my feeder (through the window).

I was walking back from getting my mail and this hawk was in the short palm tree next to my driveway. He watched me walk right by him and didn’t move. I ran in and got my camera and he was flying off as I walked out. He flew down to the grass and looked like he was stalking something but eventually he flew to a lightpost empty handed.

After the hawk flew off I realized there was a bluebird on the power line right over my head. It was almost dark at this point but he sat there for a while.

A few more critters in the backyard. The squirrels like to sit on this low palm  tree up against our house while snacking.

Craving open spaces

Our new home is surrounded by trees and I don’t really get to see much of the sky unless I walk to the end of the driveway or out on the golf course. In our old house I could look out the sliding doors and see the big sky so now I’m craving wide open spaces. I found it about 10 minutes away walking down my street. If I walk the other direction I end up here. A big open field where the utlity towers line up. Part of the field has a small wooden fence around it and they mow it regulary. Neighbors bring their dogs here to run around. It’s a nice place to walk to see the sun go down after work (although now it’s dark after work).

I stayed right before the sun went down.

Turning around looking in the other direction, there’s lots of lines. A sign of progress?

Parts of the field were covered in these yellow flowers.

SkyWatch Friday

Flashes of pink and green

I barely made it to see the silk floss blooms this year. The silk floss trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens bloom in late September and I didn’t make it there until mid-October but there were still a lot of pink blooms on the tree in the parking lot. I was taking some close up shots of the beautiful pink flowers on the low hanging branches when I saw a flash of green go by.

I heard the loud squawking near the top of the tree and realized that several monk parakeets had landed in the tree.

They spent quite a while eating parts of the flower. They seemed to be eating the bottom part of it where the seed is but they were also playing around with the pink petals. It was so much fun to watch them eating for a while. It was a challenge to get a clear shot since there were so many branches in the way and the light was terrible.

Stepping back and taking this shot with my phone, you can see how big the tree is but this one is much smaller than the one behind the visitor’s centor. There were only blooms left on the bottom half of the tree.

My Corner of the World

Color and turtles in October

Yellow and orange from my trip to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo last month.

The large cactus in the front of the gardens had big blooms on them . The details inside the bloom are amazing. The cactus also had this big pink ball which I assume are the blooms before they open up. Or, maybe they are the seed pod after the bloom dies off?

Little critters. Bees had taken over that bird house.

I found another face in the tree along the boardwalk.

I stopped by and said hello to the resident wood ducks.

After leaving the botanical gardens, I stopped at McGough Park to see if there were any fall migrating birds. I didn’t see many birds but the turtle pond was full of turtles taking a sun nap.

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Remembering Winter

It is with heavy heart that I write this. Thursday night Clearwater lost an icon. Winter, the dolphin who lost his tail and lived at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, died of a gastrointestinal infection. Specialist from around the country flew in and the best care was given to her but she had other plans. Winter was a young dolphin when she was rescued in 2005. Her tail was caught in a crab trab which resulted in her losing her tail. She was the star in her own movie “A Dolphin’s Tale”. I recently visited her back in June and you can read about that visit here. Below is an older post from 2011.

More from the Veterans Memorial Park

More pictures from the Veteran’s Memorial Park in east Tampa. I took so many pictures and had to post most of them. You can see my first post here. The above were taken in the WW2 section.

You can see the cool helicopters from all over the park.  Once I got into the Vietnam section, I could really see the details. You could see into the bottom of this one and it had a camera in the floor. I tried to imagine someone flying this and taking pictures over enemy territory.

The one with the teeth across the front was also impressive. I wonder if it was painted this way when it was in use?

There was also a memorial to the dogs used in the military.

The park is in a beautiful setting and was a perfect way to spend a morning walking around under the trees learning about the history.

The park sits on the Bypass Canal and of course I spent some time walking along the water looking for birds. The only ones I found were two limpkins. One was a juvenile, still yelling at Mom to feed it.

There were a lot of hibiscus bushes in the park, which are are my Dad’s favorite.

Speaking of my Dad, here he is going into boot camp. He was over in Germany in 44 and 45.

He had a camera permit while he was overseas. He had a photo album full of pictures taken overseas that I didn’t even know existed until we found it after he died. I still have his camera pass. He would have been 97 years old last week.

SkyWatch Friday

Birding in my pajamas.

Titmouse are coming to my backyard bird bath pretty regularly to take baths. I try and hide behind the curtains and take pictures through the window so I don’t spook them.

I’m also getting blue jays and catbirds but they just get a quick drink and leave.

Watching the birds fly around the trees, I saw a dash of yellow from across the yard but almost didn’t look twice because I thought it was a palm warlber. I was able to grab a shot of this hooded warbler with a bug in his beak through my dirty windows. (I have since spent some time cleaning them).

I took the shots of the pine wabler and yellow throated warbler outside early one morning, walking around the trees in the back of our home before work.

Twice I watched this red bellied woodpecker hide nuts in a palm tree. He was getting them from a feeder across the fairway and flying back over to our side and hiding them.

Usual morning birds in the back, a great egret and blue jay.

There’s a ton of squirrels in the yard. One climbed up on the outdoor chair and was watching me in the window. I changed out the bird feeder pole to a much higher one and now he can’t get to the food so he wasn’t happy (although at some point he’ll figure out a way to get up there).

My Corner of the World