More crazy birds at the rookery

A juvenile night heron sits alone at the front of the rookery. He’s been there on my last 2 visits. They nest deep in the bushes so I can’t see them as little babies.

A snowy egret still flirting.

The cormorants and anhingas nest high up inthe cypress trees so it’s a little harder to see those young babies. As they get older the bigger babies end up down on the rookery and Mom feeds them there. The top one is a cormorant. They have orange curved beaks and hook their fish. The middle shot are both anhingas (male on the left in all black and the female on the right has a brown chest and neck). They have pointed beaks and stab their fish. The juveniles with the great egret in the bottom shot are both anhingas.

A female grackle getting some bugs. They also nest deep in the bushes.

A wood stork getting a drink in the pond.

I saw a tricolored heron fly over to the top of a tree away from the rookery. She’s got food in her beak and she’s trying to get her young one to fly over to be fed. She was yelling at the baby to fly across the pond to her to get food instead of her bringing it to the baby.

The baby eventually flew over and got his meal.

All of the tricolored heron babies that I saw were almost fully grown. They all had their adult colors in their feathers but they still had those baby spikes on the top of their heads and were still squawking for food.

Morning walk around Dunedin

One last look at the purple martins at the Dunedin marina. After this trip in late May they have left the condo. The babies were flying around the marina but still landing back on the nest house to be fed. Next year I’ll have to remember to stop by here earlier before the babies are fully grown.

House sparrows were taking a dirt bath below the purple martin nest box.

After walking around the marina I left and stopped at the nearby long fishing pier at Weaver Park. Looking north I could see the drawbridge up at the causeway bridge. This was a common sight back in the “old days” along the intercoastal waterway. Now as older bridges are being replaced, they build them up high so a drawbridge isn’t necessary anymore. This is one of the last remaining drawbridges in the area.

A few guys were fishing at the end of the pier and this great egret flew in looking for a handout.

After hanging around the fishermen for a while, he must have gotten tired of waiting for a handout and started getting his own snacks.. He was leaning over the floating dock and catching the bugs on the side of the dock to eat. Yum!

A least tern takes a break from diving into the water for his fish.

Earlier that morning when I was walking around the marina, some of the houses close by had these cactus vines growing in their yards. These cactus, night blooming cereas, only bloom at night but I was able to catch a few closing up early that morning. I’ve heard they are really beautiful and smell great when they are in full bloom but I would need to be here around midnight for that.

Inspire Me Monday

Regurgitated sushi for dinner

Wood storks and great egrets were flying into the bird rookery in north Tampa non-stop in late May. They were bringing more nesting material but mostly food for all of those screaming babies. It was loud to stand there in the late afternoon as those big growing babies were ready to eat. And they let everyone know it.

There were still a lot of young wood storks honking for food.

The almost grown baby great egrets were really aggresive. These parents have a tough job. Getting fish, then swallowing that fish, then regurgitating it back up to feed the baby.

If you look closely at the beaks you can see fish parts coming down from the parent’s beak and into the baby’s beak. All while big brother is trying to get a bite as well. That does not look yummy.

Even after they are fed, they still yell for more food.

Around the house in mid-June

The downy woodpeckers and the chickadees keep coming to the feeder together.

Another set of Carolina wren babies were hopping around our backyard. I think they had been born in my neighbor’s pot because I kept seeing an adult flying over there with bugs.  Mom was close by. You can still see the fuzz in their head and necks.


A beautiful cooper’s hawk in our tree. I was walking back from getting the mail and he landed on my husband’s car in the driveway. I ran back in and grabbed my camera thinking he would be gone when I got back outside but he flew up to the tree when I came out.

I have seen hummingbirds coming through the backyard but this is the first time I was able to catch one. They were buzzing around my gardenia bush but they don’t stay long. I was looking out the back window watching a squirrel and saw her fly in and feed on my hanging purslane flowers. I grabbed my camera and waited, half hiding behind the curtains. She came back again and I was able to snap the above but then she took off and I didn’t see her again that afternoon.

A smiling gator drying out behind the pond near my house. I was riding my bike around the neighborhood with my camera and stopped to catch it.

Juvenile osprey are everywhere in the neighborhood. There’s a nest in every utility tower across the neighborhood and they are all filled with osprey.

As I was biking home I stopped at the pond down the street and noticed something moving around with an adult limpkin. I was glad I had brought my camera in my backpack. At first I thought there was just one baby but when they started swimming across the pond I could see all 5 of them. The pond turns into a river that runs through the neighborhood and once they crossed they started heading behind some houses so I lost track of them.

The rain was starting to move in. I love the summer skies after the rain. The lake across from my house is going to be a good spot to catch some orange sunsets.

 

SkyWatch Friday

First time baby sighting

You don’t see many glossy ibis in the Tampa Bay area. For years the only place I saw them was at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland but in recent years I’ve seen a few on this side of the state. Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa was another place I would see them. Recently there has been one hanging out at the nearby Possum Branch Preserve but it’s hit or miss to see it there. Last year I saw one at the bird rookery in north Tampa but I didn’t see any babies. This year there were several adults there and on my last visit in late May I saw babies.

They nest on the back side of the rookery so there’s no way to see the babies until they are juveniles and moving around on the rookery. There were 2 families there with the parents feeding them all over the rookery. They would fly off to get food and the juveniles would travel all over the bushes. The parents always seemed to find their own babies when they got back.

 

One of the juveniles was old enough to fly down into the pond and get some water. He didn’t have the deep burgandy color on his face but his green feathers on his wings were beautiful.

They were patiently waiting for Mom to come back with food. Some were practicing their wing flaps and hopping.

Deep in the bushes I could just barely see a much younger set of twins.

I’m hoping next year we’ll see even more of these beautiful birds at the rookery.

Tiny critters at the botanical gardens

I think this lizard was flirting with me at the Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Tiny critters were buzzing around the butterfly garden.

A few of the butterflies in the butterfly garden. I was expecting to see many more than this. I didn’t see any yellow ones. I keep saying I am seeing less and less of them every year. I wonder if it’s all of the spraying that is being done. Spraying for invasive plants, spraying for mosquitoes.

A soft shell turtle swims by under the bridge. I was only able to get his funny shaped head in the shot. He almost blends in with the brown lily pad leaves.

A young moorhen walking around the spatterdock lilies in the pond.

A few of the flowers blooming in early June.

Inspire Me Monday

The backyard in early June

I keep seeing downy woodpeckers and chickadees on the feeder at the same time.

I think this chickadee was going to tell me to get better seed.

I’ve been seeing baby bluebirds bouncing around in the backyard. I’ve seen 4 at one time but it’s hard to get more than one through the window. They are very skittish and take off if I go out in the back.

The doves were napping under the bird bath.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen a lizard shedding his skin.

Sunset in the lake across the street.

I usually stop at the lake as I’m getting the mail and one night I saw a lone skimmer cruising around right before dark. This was taken with my phone, which I usually have in my pocket. I went out there the next 2 nights with my camera but didn’t see him again.

Tricolored herons and anhingas are usual in the lake, getting that last meal before dark.

I caught this tern flying overhead right at dark. I think it’s a Caspien tern.

Downtown St. Pete parks

You can always find turtles chilling on the trash bumpers at Crescent Lake Park near downtown St. Pete.

I found some cute duckies walking along the sidewalk.

Usual birds around the lake include the loggerhead shrike, a roseate spoonbill and an anhinga drying out.

I found an unusual pair of birds sitting in front of my car, northern rough winged swallows. I’ve seen them in other parks before but they are fairly rare.

A cloudy morning at the park.

The big banyan tree has been fenced in for several years now. They are trying to keep it alive since it’s so old (not sure how old though). It’s taken a beating over the years with people climbing and playing on it.

It looked like it has snowed along the street in front of the park. I realized there were several cottonwood trees in someone’s yard. I had never noticed this before so I must not have been here when they were blooming. I’m sure it’s beautiful when it’s in full bloom but what a mess it was in the street and yard.

After leaving the park I stopped by Rouse park on the bay in St Pete, only a few minutes away. The royal poinciana trees were blooming and the are a lot of them in this small park.

Enjoying an early morning on the bay in late May.

SkyWatch Friday

Friendship Friday at Create With Joy

 

Riding by the cows

Scenes from my bike ride in late May. Pedaling past cow pastures.

I had my camera in my backpack and had to stop for a shot of the cattle egret with the cow. This is where they get their name. Egrets hanging out with the cattle, trying to eat the bugs that the cows stir up as they eat the grass.

I found the meadowlarks again.

I found several juvenile tree swallows sitting on the fence. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen them actually sitting down. They spend most of their time cruising around catching bugs. EDIT: Thanks to Lea’s Menagerie for a correct ID. The above is an eastern kingbird. I’m still learning a lot of the migrating birds. This was late May so it makes sense he could still be hanging around. I think that Florida sun is starting to get to me.

A pond along the cow pasture fence was a busy watering hole.

There are several gopher tortoise holes along the fences but this was the first time I have seen one out of his hole. They are listed as Threatened in Florida and both the tortoise and their burrows are protected by law.

Morning walks at the marina

The Dunedin marina area is one of my new favorite places to walk in the mornings. Even though it’s miserable hot, there’s usually a breeze here on the water. During the week, before 9am, it’s pretty quiet and easy to get a good parking spot.

Two juvenile osprey were trying to catch some food. After a while they both ended up on the same tree on the water’s edge.

This anhinga had no problem catching her fish. I think she was showing it off.

Juvenile house sparrows were digging in the sand for bugs to eat.

I found these fuzzy plants on a fence near the water. It looked like cotton but a month later I would find out what they were. More to come on these.

A great egret ready to take off.

Inspire Me Monday