Critters in the rain

I left work while it was still raining in early August hoping Chesnut Park would be empty of people due to the weather. That’s when the baby deer come out from hiding in the woods. Early on Saturday mornings when I’m usually there, the park is filled with joggers, walkers and dogs so the deer stay deep in the woods. It was still drizzling when I first got there. I quickly saw 2 hawks that were soaked.

I spotted a fawn staying close to the family.

Not sure if this was Dad or a big brother. It’s rare to see older males at the park. They usually stay farther north and come down to the park during mating season.

This little one had a sibling. Even though the rain had stopped, I stayed in the car to take these. I didn’t want to spook them. They continued to graze and I eventually headed home.

“I’m heading down the Atlanta highway”

Atlanta, as seen in the first episode of the tv series “Walking Dead”. Except in the scene, the roads were lined with abandoned cars that were photo-shopped into the scene. I took this the first night of our long weekend to visit friends. It was dark and cloudy and had just stopped drizzling. My husband thought I was going to look silly being the only person standing on the Jackson Street bridge taking this picture. No, there were several other people there taking pictures as well. I found out later that there are “Walking Dead” tours that take you to some of the places that scenes were filmed at. This is one of the stops.

Another Atlanta downtown scene, taken as we were leaving to head back home.

One morning while Brett was riding his bike with some friends, I took a walk around Piedmont Park. They used to have great art festivals and other events here. I’m sure they still do but it was quiet the morning I walked around the lake.

A few of the critters and an interesting mushroom or fungi around the lake. After my walk around the park, I headed over to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, more on that later.

We stopped at a shopping center to get something and this hawk was in the parking deck. At first I thought he was hurt but I think he had just finished a meal. He took off as I got closer to him but he let me get pretty close. He left behind a few scraps of his lunch.

Almost 25 years ago, Brett and I got married here in the gardens behind the Swan House. We were passing by and I made Brett stop for a few minutes.

I was feeling really nostalgic for Atlanta. I had lived here for 17 years before Brett and I moved to Tampa for work. Since his family moved to the Tampa bay area years ago, we hadn’t really spent any time here in over 3 years so we came back for a long weekend in August. We packed a lot of sight-seeing in the 2 and a half days we were here. We happened to be staying in a hotel next to this mural. The mural is on the side of the building where the old Limelight disco was back in the 70’s and 80’s. I spend many weekends there dancing with my sister and our friends back in the mid 80’s.

SkyWatch Friday

Crazy faces at work and it’s not the employees

Although this is how I feel most days when leaving work.

Besides osprey, we have yellow crowned night herons that nest in the pine trees in the parking lot at work. The nests are really tiny and always look like the slightest breeze could knock them down. We lose a lot of eggs to the fish crows that relentlessly attack the night herons when they are nesting. A few babies make it to adult hood. It’s so funny to see their bright orange eyes staring down at me when I’m walking to my car.

I recently saw a bunny in the parking lot and snapped this through the window before leaving work.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Out on the beach in the summer

I hadn’t been out on the beach for a long walk all summer. In late July, I headed out for a walk to get some fresh air and hopefully a cool breeze coming off the gulf. My main reason for going though was to look for skimmer babies. I hadn’t been out to see them in 2 years.¬† I saw the above as I started my walk.

After a while I saw some skimmers soaring over the beach and finally made it to the skimmer nesting area.

The black skimmers nest right on the beach and there were a lot of babies at all different ages.

The baby skimmers have a tough time growing up. Besides sibling rivalry, there are so many other dangers. Gulls and crows will fly in and snatch the tiny ones if the parents aren’t guarding them. The beaches are full of tourist and the baby skimmers blend into the sand. They could get stepped on. Kids like to chase the birds and make them fly off which leaves the babies exposed. A really bad storm could flood the beach and the babies can’t fly off or swim yet. So many hurdles.

The view from the water. There are a group of volunteer bird stewards that rope off the nesting areas to keep people from stepping on the babies. They guard the area during the busy times and answer any questions that curious tourists may have about the skimmers. And yes, those are volleyball nets in the back so the babies could also get knocked out by a stray volleyball. I took a ton of pictures in the hour I was there so more to come on these cuties.

Rapids in Tampa??

Yes, if you can call the above rapids, then we do have them in Tampa. At Hillsborough River State Park. According to the Florida State Park website, these are Class II rapids. I visited for the first time in mid-June after several days of heavy rain.

The elevated bridge that crosses the river.

The water in some of the swampier areas of the park looked like tea.

Lots of beautiful old trees along the trails.

The park’s purpose it to preserve the “real Florida”. It was hot, muggy and buggy in June and that’s exactly the real Florida. I had 2 layers of DEET on and still came home with lots of bug bites. I didn’t see a lot of wildlife the morning I was there. Not like all of the other parks I frequent close by. Very few birds but I’m sure there were lots of snakes hiding. It’s about 45 minutes away from my house so not a long drive but I don’t think I’ll go back until winter (which around here means January).

SkyWatch Friday