Not my first myna

I had heard there was a pair of myna birds nesting in a storefront near my old office. Since I was going to be running errands nearby I threw my camera in the car. I found the nest one morning in late May but no birds at first.

After sitting in the parking lot for a few minutes trying to decide whether to leave and come back late or just wait, this bird flew up to the nest. It has some leaves in his beak so he must have been adding to the nest.

Another one showed up on the light pole. This one had a band on his leg. Mynas are not native to the US. Years ago they were popular pets so these could be escapees or they were let go.

They are pretty birds with that yellow around the face. I had not heard of them being in the Tampa Bay area until this spring. They are common down in south Florida though. Just a few weeks earlier when Brett and I were visiting relatives with his sister and her husband we saw one. We were having breakfast early one morning at a diner in Dania Beach and Laureen said “There’s a bird in the parking lot with yellow legs and yellow around the face”. I couldn’t think of what it was but we were able to find it hopping around the cars and sure enough it was a myna, my first one. I didn’t have my camera and it flew off quickly so I didn’t get a shot. Then 2 weeks later I hear about this pair right here in my area.

Summer walk on the causeway

I was heading out to the Dunedin causeway for an early morning walk in late June and saw that a baby turtle had been painted on the water tower right before the causeway. I had to turn around and take a quick shot. He’s so cute.

It was crazy hot even at 8am in the morning. I caught the drawbridge going up as I was about to cross it. It was a good spot to take a rest,

The usual great egrets and pelicans were hanging around the short bridge, hoping to steal some bait fish from an unsuspecting fisherman.

A fun bike rack in front of the kayak rental station.

After a long walk at the causeway I headed down to the marina for a quick walk. (I was really just stalling until my favorite lunch pick up place nearby opened at 11am).

Inspire Me Monday

Humming along in the backyard

I put up a hummingbird feeder in the backyard back in April. I had it up through May and didn’t see a single hummer so I took it down since it was so hot in early June and I was cleaning it every day. Then in mid-June I started seeing one around the gardenia bush and when I saw her feeding on the purslane plant in the backyard I pulled out the feeder and put it up later that day. She showed up the next morning. I loaded my camera up on the tripod in front of the window and waited behind the curtain with my remote shutter release. She came several times throughout the day for 3 days. I saw 2 flying around together but only saw one at the feeder. I’m not sure if this is only one or if they took turns coming to feed. I kept the feeder up a few days after that but I hadn’t seen them since that 3rd day.

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.

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