Painted Wildlife

Spoonbills painted on a water tower in St. Pete.

On the side of a building in downtown Tampa during the Gasparilla Art Festival several years ago. I think there’s a new building blocking it now.

An exit ramp off I75 in central Florida.

My favorite water tower in St Pete.

Above are from Tarpon Springs. The pelican is on the wall at one of our favorite restaurants in Tarpons Springs, Hellas.

One of the many murals in Wynwood Walls, Miami.

I took this years ago on the side of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  I was there recently and with all of the renovations and construction that they went through, the mural is still there.

You can find painted turtles and dolphins all over the Tampa Bay area. Most are in heavy tourist traffic areas. The above were at the Clearwater Marina on Clearwater Beach.

The above was at Save Our Seabirds in Sarasota. They rescue and rehabilitate injured birds (all birds, not just seabirds).

A great restaurant in Miami that we ate at years ago.

At Brett’s aunt’s nursing home. The top one is painted on the outside of the building. The bottom is in the main lobby.

A great little take out place in downtown St. Pete.

I was going through some older pictures recently and realized I had a lot of pictures of  painted wildlife. Brett asked if I even remembered where I took them. Yes, every one of them. Although, I can’t remember which exit off I75 that the fish are painted underneath. We were on our way back from Atlanta years ago and had stopped for Blizzards from Dairy Queen. Somewhere between Ocala and Tampa.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Why the storks bring the babies!

I think this was the youngest baby at the rookery. You could just barely make out the baby’s head at the bottom of mom’s beak.

Most of the other nests had babies that were pretty grown up. For some reason these guys were wet and dirty. Dad must have brought back some wet dirty moss to replensh the nest.

Moms were busy tending to the nests and babies all over the tiny island in the middle of this neighborhood pond.

Looks like this Mom had only one baby. Some had two or three.

Zooming in, these guys were all white and fluffy.

 

The annual trip to the Tampa rookery

As soon as I got to the bird rookery in north Tampa in late April I look over and see a muscovy duck family resting in the shade. I snapped a couple of pictures and then realized they see me. They all popped up and came running over to me.  “Not going to happen guys” I said. I’m not feeding them although I’m sure people who live in the nearby neighborhood do. After they realized I wasn’t going to feed them they got in the water and took off for a swim.

The wood storks were flying into the pond right near where I was standing and while getting a sip of water this one found a good stick to take back to the nest. He’s looking at me like “What do you think of my stick?”. I’m thinking “She’s going to kick you off the nest if you come back with that tiny stick.”

Wood storks were constantly flying over to surrounding trees and grabbing sticks to bring back to the nest.

True love is hard to find.

This guy was being lazy. Just watching all of the busy birds go by.

SkyWatch Friday

Things blooming in early April

The winter months are my favorite time of the year since the weather is so mild here in central Florida. But, when April rolls around I always think it’s my favorite month. It’s still cool in the mornings and everything is blooming everywhere. The flowers look fresh and haven’t been fried by the summer sun yet.

Even the pitcher plants were blooming.

The little critters were buzzing around.

Painted buntings were everywhere this year.  This couple only stopped at the feeder for a few minutes.

Of course cardinals are always around.

A bunny on the trail at Bok Tower Gardens in early April.

My Corner of the World

Butterflies and turtles.

You can usually find butterflies here in central Florida all year but in early March the gardens were full of them at the Florida Botanical Gardens. Lots of colors fluttering by.

It was a quiet birding morning. The highlights were a pileated woodpecker across the pond and a cute grebe not acting skittish.

This guy ignored me while he ate his breakfast.

After a walk around the gardens I stopped at the nearby McGough Park to visit the turtles. I thought the ones above were kissing but I think it’s just the angle.

Turtles were everywhere. On the grass and climbing on the rocks.

A shot of the turtle pond with my phone.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Guess what’s for breakfast

Mom was digging around in the nest early one morning in February and pulled up a rat. I’m going to be repetitive about using rat poison. Owls love rats. When people use rat poison the rats don’t die right away. They wander off and the owls pick them up and eat them. Owls can easily die from a rat that has eaten rat poison.  You don’t need to use it. The owls (eagles and hawks as well) will take care of the rats.

I spent a good part of the morning waiting for the baby owls to wake up and then  watching Mom taking turns feeding the babies.  Doesn’t that look yummy!?!  It was an overcast day, I was using my long lens and these are extremely cropped up so they aren’t quite as clear as I would have liked. But that’s okay. I’d rather be standing half way across the beach than too close. I didn’t make it back out later to see these little ones completely grown. On a sad circle of life note, I heard that one went missing and a team of people spent all morning looking for it. They think it may have fallen during the night. The area has a lot of coyotes that we don’t see during the day so one of them or an eagle could have gotten it.

The owls at Fort Desoto

Mom standing watch over her babies.

Meanwhile, the babies are acting cute with those curious eyes. Always looking around at the sounds and birds flying by.

Mom moved over to a tree nearby for a while.

Then back to the nest to sit for while before feeding the kids. You could see both sides of the nest since it sits between a trail through the woods and the beach. We were running back and forth trying to get the best shots while the sun was going in and out. I think this is when I got my poison ivy on my ankles. Not paying attention and running around in the small wooded area where the owls nest. One ankle was pretty bad and my foot was so swollen I couldn’t get a shoe on for almost two weeks. That’ll teach me. After 13 years of doing this I’ve been pretty lucky with not getting it before now. Of course now I’m checking everywhere I step or walk.

The baby should have been excited since he was about to be fed but instead he was yawning. Mom was digging around on the nest for something good she had hidden in there. More to come on what that was.

SkyWatch Friday

Bok Tower Gardens

Even though chipping sparrows are not rare, I don’t see them often.

I found a female ruby throated hummingbird feeding in the english garden at Bok Tower Gardens in late February. It almost looks like she was molting around her face.

I was standing on the path for a while under a pine tree waiting for the hummingbird to come back to the flowers and someone walked by and said “Look at the owl over your head”. I didn’t even notice him when I walked up earlier. I’m glad he didn’t poop on me!

Butterflies and flowers in the garden near the bell tower.

The door to the courtyard at the historic house on the grounds. The Pinewood Estate is closed for now but you can still walk around the grounds.

I found the Fairy Garden on this visit. I usually don’t venture into the children’s garden there but it was a quiet morning so I wandered in to see if there were any good birds back there. I loved the big oversize nest and the little houses made from nature. It’s so creative.

My Corner of the World

Color in the gardens

Lots of color in late February at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales.

I love this plant with the bright pink stalks and the shiny green leaves. It looks like pink celery but the leaves are different so I’m not sure what it is. It might be swiss chard.

If there was ever an on line scratch and sniff invented, it would be for this. The smell of an orange blossom is the best smell ever. When you drive into the gardens you wind your way through a large orange grove before getting to the parking lot. In February you have to roll your windows down to take in the smell. There were also orange trees scattered around the park and I just stood there for a while taking it in.

The azaleas were in full bloom and the park had sections that were covered in the bushes. This was the perfect time to be outside in central Florida.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

Spring is here

Trying to get a shot of an inchworm hanging from a tree is like trying to bite an apple hanging from a tree with your hands tied behind your back (I remember doing this as a kid at Halloween parties).  The trees were full of these guys dangling and swaying back and forth in the wind. It’s not a sharp shot but you get the drift.

They were crawling around in the weeds as well. Every year in early March they take over a few of the parks here in the Tampa bay area. Harmless but annoying when they get in your hair.

The inchworms where hanging in the tree that is home to the owls at a local park. Dad was in his usual spot overlooking the big tree.

My first baby owl sighting of the year. He looks a little grumpy, like he just woke up. It was late in the day when I got to the park. The babies were just waking up from a nap and were ready for a snack.

Mom flew up to a branch over the nest.

The babies were watching Mom and one was climbing up the tree trying to get closer to her. Did I say “babies”? There were actually 3 and I eventually got pictures of all of them together but more on those later.

I was sitting at a traffic light on the way home and noticed an inchworm on the inside of my window. He had the nerve to poop on my window and leave a trail. When I got home I got him out and put in on a bush.