Hidden behind some trees

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Hiding behind trees at a very busy intersection in the Tampa Bay area is Possum Branch Preserve. There’s only a tiny sign on the fence and no real parking. You just pull onto the grass and park along the fence. There wasn’t a lot of birds the day I was there in early December but tons of plants along the ponds. If it wasn’t for all of the loud traffic close by I would have thought I was in the middle of nowhere.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

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A baby for Christmas

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Lowry Park Zoo announced a new baby tiger cub born on 9/11. By the week of Christmas the baby was out playing in the yard in the mornings.  Both of my sisters were visiting for the week so we made that our first stop on the Thursday morning before Christmas. The baby was already out and playing with mom. Of course I took a gazillion pictures. These are my favorites.

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Big birds up high

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Very young bald eagle soaring up high.

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An adult eagle coming right over my head.

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Across the marsh, I saw another eagle bringing a big branch back to the nest.

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A great egret going by with a snack.

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There’s always a lot of great blue herons flying around on Alligator Alley.

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There’s been a great blue heron sitting on the nest for several weeks now.  This must be the male taking his turn.  Look at that grumpy face.

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An osprey having a snack on the trail.

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Typical Florida shots.

I started going back to Circle B Bar Reserve in early November for the winter. It’s too hot to walk the trails in the summer. There’s been lots of activity going on along the Alligator Alley trail this fall. It’s been so nice to get out for long walks again since the weather has cooled off. The reserve is fairly quiet and hasn’t been too busy so far.

SkyWatch Friday

 

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I’m in Oz?

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It felt like it in late November at Circle B Bar Reserve. The entire preserve was covered in yellow. Bur marigolds bloom for a short time in late November in central Florida.

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Instead of the scarecrow and the cowardly lion, we had very aggressive alligators. One really big one was napping right up against the trail.

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Lots of other pretty plants there as well. When the wind blows, the plant in the last picture has small white flecks flying off.  You would almost think it was snowing, if you weren’t sweating in the 82 degree weather.

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My version of “Quack” Friday.

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White ibis coming in for a landing.

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A great blue heron posing for me.

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Since there is an abundance of green herons this year, you’ll be seeing a lot of these.

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I had heard there were black bellied whistling duck babies at the reserve but I didn’t think I would actually find them.  I found them but they were in a weird spot in the marsh and the family was not going to move for a while. The babies were already half grown so they were easier to see hiding in the reeds and muck.

I was not going to go shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was too nice to be indoors. So instead of a “Black” Friday, I headed out with my friend Pam and her husband to do our annual Thanksgiving weekend long walk at Circle B Bar Reserve.  Sunny and 70 degrees with no crowds.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

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Here Kitty, Kitty

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I had just walked out on the trail and was looking at the big group of people farther down the trail when something caught my eye.  One of the rarely seen bobcats was slowing walking right down the trail towards me. When he realized I was standing there he darted into the bushes.

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I looked backward and he came out farther down the trail. At first I thought I was just going to get butt shots but he turned around to inspect something for a few seconds then darted back into the bushes again. It was just a fleeting moment.  These were all taken with my 300mm lens and are extremely cropped so he was pretty far away.

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Lots of slow movers out this morning.

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I don’t see many of these big silk orb weavers like I did several years ago.

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Empty apple snail eggs liter the marsh.  Limpkins eat these.

A fun walk in early December at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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More from downtown Tampa

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One last post from my walk along Riverwalk in downtown Tampa on Thanksgiving weekend.  The white tent with the Bucs sign is the ice skating ring, set up for the holidays. The orange and yellow trimmed building is the Children’s Museum.

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Across the river is the University of Tampa. The main building was the former Tampa Bay Hotel built by Henry B Plant and was finished in 1891.

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The usual suspects

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At Chesnut Park in late November.

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Lots of quacks.

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Lots of pied grebes at Crescent Lake Park.

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Lots of mallards trying to sleep.

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Lots of friends sticking close together.

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Lots of variety.

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Lots of ring necked ducks and lesser scaup.

So many different ducks at Crescent Lake Park near downtown St. Pete.

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They all look alike

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This one looks like a female common yellowthroat. Although, it also looks like a female hooded warbler.

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The above two looks more like a female hooded warbler.

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Possible pine warbler.

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Or these could be a pine warbler.

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This is an easy one. A yellow throated warbler.

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A palm warbler.

All of these little yellow guys look alike. Especially the females.  Pine, Palm, Prairie or Polka Dots???   I can’t keep them straight. Next spring I’m going to take the time to write down what they are as I am taking pictures if someone there knows. Sometimes I have different people telling me the same bird is something different so that’s even more confusing. These were all taken in mid-November at Chesnut Park. It was a busy day for little yellow birds.

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