Too hot for the birds

Little critters at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Not many birds in early July. A cardinal with a snack and a Loggerhead Shrike

As I was leaving the gardens, I saw this hawk up on a light post. I think this is juvenile Cooper’s Hawk.

I stopped for a quick walk around the boardwalk at Largo Nature Preserve but there wasn’t much there either. I think the smart birds went north for the summer.  I found this green heron creeping around the boardwalk.

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

 

Splashing and skimming

June is the time of the year when you can find black skimmers on the beaches in the Tampa bay area. They aren’t spread out across the area like gulls are but tend to congregate in certain spots to nest. Skimmers lay their eggs right on the beach and they do it in large colonies. In late June it was hot and many of the adults were hanging out along the water line taking baths. I was wishing I had brought my swimsuit so I could have joined them. They were also skimming along the line trying to catch fish to take back to the babies. There were lots of babies. More to come.

Sand Key Park

Least terns were just starting to mate on the beach at Sand Key Park in late June.

A crazed looking juvenile mockingbird was also on the beach.

On osprey was guarding the jetti with his fish.

A small storm was moving in across the beach.  The tourist pirate ship started to head out into the gulf but then turned around and came back into the bay. That trip must have gotten cut short. It started to sprinkle as I walked back down the beach to my car but then the sun came out just as fast.

I think it was going to end up being a perfect day after the morning storms moved through. I had stopped by the park to see if the least terns were nesting yet. They were there but none of them were sitting on eggs yet. People were starting to come out to the beach once the sun came out. It was time for me to go home and have lunch.

SkyWatch Friday

Duck controversy in the neighborhood.

There are several muscovy duck families in the neighborhood. Many young babies were running around in May and June. The above was too sad. I was driving home from work and saw these babies eating something in the middle of the street. They were eating another baby that had been hit by a car. Muscovy ducks are an invasive species and are not native to Florida. Yet they are everywhere. They can be mean and aggressive and leave big messy poop piles in driveways and on sidewalks. They try to drive out the mallards. Many of the neighbors want to call in a trapper to remove them (they can’t be relocated and would be euthanized). For years people were feeding them which led to the increase in numbers in the neighborhood. There is now a huge campaign to stop feeding them. Recently ducks crossing the road were driven over on 6 different occasions. Someone caught a glimpse of it on their front door camera but all you can see is a blurry SUV so we’re not sure who was doing it. Might not have been a resident. The neighborhood is divided. Those who don’t mind a little duck poop want them to stay and those who want them all gone (more will just move in anyway).

Several families with different ages of babies came running when I stopped my car to snap the above with my phone.

In my neighbor’s yard, these guys came running as well.

On a Saturday afternoon I went outside to get the mail and these mallard were napping in our driveway. They jumped up when they saw me but I’m not even going to feed the mallards.

Photographing New Zealand

In the backyard in June.

Starlings took over our backyard a long time ago but this is the first time I noticed them nesting. My neighbor has a dead palm tree that sits up against our fence and for weeks I kept seeing this starling popping her head out of a hole in the side facing our kitchen window. There was also one sitting on the top of the stump most of the time. I never saw any babies poking out but weeks later I saw an adult feeding several young ones in our neighbor’s yard.

It’s that time of the year when mama ducks are cruising the channels with babies.

One morning I saw the above woodpecker in a hole higher up in the dead tree. The woodpecker spent all morning cleaning out this hole so I thought we’d have babies at some point but I think she ended up not staying. A few days later I saw a starling going in the same hole and I haven’t seen the woodpecker since.

We have 2 Bismark palms in our backyard that are about 5 years old and this is the first time I’ve seen something blooming inside of them. It’s weird that they are suppose to be the same tree but the blooms look completely different.

Hibiscus on the side of the yard.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

Growing up at work

For several years an osprey couple have raised a family in a nest on top of a light post in the parking lot at work. The nest is fairly high up so we don’t see the babies until they are pretty big. I kept my camera in my car and in April I caught Mom feeding them when I was leaving. One night Dad was right over my car feeding himself.

Later I realized there were 3 babies. This was the first year we’ve had triplets. Now I know why Dad was eating alone across the parking lot.

Another week goes by and boy was that nest crowded. At this point the babies are as big as the parents.

All 3 grew up and eventually left the nest. Now in early July, the babies are still visiting the nest. I’ve been seeing one or two sitting on the nest in the morning but they are gone when I leave.

We had some Canadian geese hanging around the parking lot as well in late spring.

 

On the beach near downtown St. Pete.

I usually only see reddish egrets on the gulf beaches but I found this one at a park on the bay near downtown St. Pete. I was bummed that the sun wasn’t out to show off his pretty colors but he’s still an amazing bird.

An osprey flew right over my head.

Usual things on the beach. Coconuts (although they look like tree boobs to me) and mangrove crabs.

The view from North Shore Park just north of downtown St. Pete on the bay.

I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home and just missed the greyhound meet up. I would have liked to have gotten pictures of them all together but they were just leaving to go on a walk around Safety Harbor. The dog in the first picture was wondering why he couldn’t go although he looked pretty happy just chilling by the water.

SkyWatch Friday