Long walk on the trails

Looks like a good morning for a walk.

Still a little bit of yellow along the trail.

I found these young juvenile purple gallinules feeding along the trail. One was almost completely purple and the other hadn’t quite got his bright purple feathers in yet.

Views from the trail including that small alligator cruising along the lake.

The long walk around. I took the long way around Eagle’s Roost Trail to avoid the crowds later in the morning. I had the trail all to myself. This was right before my hip started hurting so I’ve only made a short trip back since then and stayed close to the parking lot area,

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Lots of little birds

The usual birds were at Chesnut Park in early November. A Carolina wren and a titmouse with a snack.

These look like immature pine warblers with that little bit of white around the eye.

A pine warbler.

I’m not sure what this is above. Might be a red eyed vireo. He was a little harder to catch.

This one was deep in the tree. I think it’s a blue headed vireo.

I’m wondering if these are the baby bluebirds from this spring that are now grown up. They were still acting like young birds. They were in the same spot, by the playground.

The usual tiny alligator at the dock. (There were many there, this one was the most visible).

Out and about one afternoon

I headed out to Fort Desoto late in the afternoon in early November. There wasn’t a lot of birds around later in the day but it was a beautiful afternoon.

Way out in the bay,

The sun was started to get lower at my favorite spot.

I drove over to the gulf pier before leaving.

Looking back at the old smoke stack.

Silhouettes of birds flying near the pier.

The sun still had a ways to go and I had to get home so I quickly snapped the above.

SkyWatch Friday

Visiting another country in my own town

On a random Thursday morning off in November I finally headed out to see the Hindu Temple of Tampa. It’s not far from my house and I had recently heard about it so I decided to go on a weekday morning since it can get crowded on the weekends (especially with the weather being so nice now and you cannot wear shorts there). Just 15 minutes away and it was like another world. You can go inside the temple but you can’t take pictures so these are all of the outside. The inside was small but with an amazing burst of colors. You can see pictures inside the temple here on their website.

Is that a bird’s nest I see on the top? It’s probably an osprey nest but would be great if it’s an eagle’s nest. I will have to come by here again later in January to see if it’s being occupied.

The carvings and details all around the building were breathtaking. I took a ton of pictures and it was hard to narrow it down to post.

Out near the parking lot was a small shrine under a native Indian tree. Behind the tree was a small lake which made it very serene.

The sun was peaking over the other side of the building and people were starting to arrive for a function so it was time to head home. You can tour the inside as long as there are no services going on (no shoes allowed inside as well as no shorts so you have to walk around barefoot or with socks). I’ve heard on the weekends they have a market and you can buy Indian food to eat on the grounds (probably the reason for the crowds). I’ll have to stop by here again soon.

My Corner of the World

Things at the marina

Trying to stay off my legs (due to hip bursitis) but not wanting to stay at home, I headed out for the Dunedin marina and fishing pier early one morning in mid-November. I spent the morning just hanging out, sitting on benches watching the activity around the marina. From the shots above, it was pretty quiet that morning.

I did see a manatee cruising around the boats in the marina.

This anhinga was having fish for breakfast.

Some of the birds also hanging around the marina, a green heron and lots of pelicans.

A spotted sandpiper was digging around the exposed muck at the boat ramp.

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Pelicans, wood ducks and swans (Oh my!).

Lake Morton in Lakeland is a good spot to find white pelicans in the winter besides Fort Desoto. There are a lot fewer at Lake Morton but you can usually get closer. They hang out on the brick retaining walls around the lake. Most of the time they are sleeping when I’m there but on a recent trip they were moving around a little. I think two of them were fighting over space on the floating pole.

A coot swimming by.

Wood ducks were napping up in the cypress trees and some were swimming around the lake.

There’s always turtles sitting on the cypress knees.

The city of Lakeland were selling swans in late October. When I was there they were in holding pens on the lake. I felt bad that they were leaving their home but there have been banner crops of babies over the last few years and the lake is over-run with swans. Swans were getting hit by cars and fighting with each other. Hopefully they’ll go to homes that have more room for them. If I had a small pond on my property I would buy a pair. The money goes back into the fund to feed the swans at this lake.

Just catching sunrise.

I use to set my alarm to get up early on the weekends but lately my internal alarm has been going off early and I got out of bed one Saturday morning in November and headed to Circle B Bar Reserve. Although, not that early since the sun was just peaking out as I hit the trails. It’s the perfect time to be there, quiet and not many people there yet. You can hear the birds starting to talk and the whistling ducks were starting to fly back and forth.

One of my favorite views in the morning.

There wasn’t a lot of different birds out. The usuals were there (moorhens, whistlers, herons, egrets, cormorants) but I didn’t see many uncommon birds. The above are fairly common in the winter (female common yellowthroat, house wren and the purple gallinules) but sometimes a little bit harder to find.

Some of the smaller critters along the trail.

The eagle’s nest is pretty far away but I could still see both eagles on the nest. Maybe she’s looking at her eggs in the nest?  Might have been a little early but soon.

SkyWatch Friday

A beautiful sight.

The first time I went out to find the rare whooping cranes last winter they were so far away they looked like tiny white dots across a cow pasture. I stopped by again while I was over in the area and this time they were closer to the fence (although still pretty far out, these were all with my 400mm lens and cropped). They are the tallest bird in north America and one of the rarest birds. We have a couple that hide out in central Florida during the winter. They were hanging out with the cows this morning.

It was a warm morning and the cows were sitting under the shade just chilling out.

One of the cranes started slowly walking across the pasture towards a pond near the road. The other crane just stood there for a while.

Finally he took off across the field and joined the other one. I was so excited as he started to fly by, not caring that I was shooting straight into the sun. He landed and the couple started walking towards the orange trees and farther away. It was great to see them moving around as I stood by my car on the dirt road.

My Corner of the World

Little hummers and other things

My second ever rufous hummingbird sighting. This one and the one before were both at Bok Tower Gardens. Rufous hummingbirds are fairly rare around this area. This is only the 2nd time of hearing about one and I was happy to have seen it even briefly. I caught him high up on a tree taking a break. When he went to feed, he would go deep in the bushes or the other side making it impossible to get feeding shots. At one point I could barely see him feeding deep in the firebush.

Ruby throated hummingbirds are pretty common. I caught this male feeding near the carillon tower.

He buzzed off and disappeared. I stood under a pine tree for a long time waiting for him to come back. At one point I looked up and he was sitting right over my head.

Birds with yellow. The top one is an easy one, a yellow throated warbler. The 2nd I think is a red eyed vireo with a bug. The last is a a female common yellowthroat.

An ovenbird and blue gray gnatcatcher.

A usual sight, a harmless black racer crosses the sidewalk in front of me.

A bee house in the garden. Used by mason or other solitary bees, they lay their eggs in the holes.

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