Flamingo Gardens

Pretty flowers.

Things in the water.

Peacocks had free run of the gardens. They were everywhere. One lady was even taking a dirt bath.

Yes, there were flamingos at Flamingo Gardens.

Egyptian geese also had the run of the gardens. They are also pretty common out in the wild in the south Florida area.

A wild hawk was building a nest near the aviary.

Brett and I stopped in the old Florida attraction while we were in the Fort Lauderdale area visiting some of his relatives.

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Wild parakeets

You can usually find wild nanday parakeets flying around Fort Desoto Park. Most of the time, you hear them before you see them. They buzz overhead, screaming the entire way. Lately I’ve been seeing them hanging around the east beach trails.

On a recent Saturday morning I was about to get in my car when I saw flashes of green moving on the ground near the flowers. The parakeets were eating the seeds out of the dead flowers. There were 10 of them munching away and keeping an eye on me.

Others were grabbing a flower and flying back up to the utility wire to eat. They really are pretty even though they are loud and can wipe out a flower bed in minutes.

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Usual stuff at Circle B Bar Reserve

One of my favorite trees at Circle B Bar Reserve. A bald cypress in the middle of the lake. It looks like a great blue heron is nesting on it.

Some of the usual birds along the trail.

A few not so common ones, a Wilson’s snipe and a chipping sparrow.

Purple gallinules were all along the trail.

A few crawling critters.

Across the lake, I could just make out the bald eagles sitting on the right side of the tree. You can also see one of the baby’s brown head sticking up off the nest.

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Growing up in a tree.

One of the great horned owl parents keeping an eye on the nest.

The baby great horned owls are very cute at this age. They were very curious and would bob their heads when a mockingbird or osprey flew by. They spent a long time looking around and then finally facing Mom in the other tree. They eventually dozed off.

Mom didn’t move all morning.

These were all taken in mid-February with my zoom lens and extremely cropped.

Early morning at Fort Desoto

Terns, willets and laughing gulls out on the beach.

A lone prairie warbler on the trail.

Someone caught a creepy crab while fishing on the pier.

A common sight around the fishing pier, a snowy egret hitching a ride.

The morning started off cloudy, looking like it was going to rain but the sun came out before noon.

SkyWatch Friday

It’s the start of osprey nesting season.

On a Saturday morning in February, I walked out on beach trail and saw this massive osprey nest above. It must have been here for years but on this particular morning, I noticed how much bigger it had gotten. Maybe it was sinking in and the osprey kept adding to it. On Sunday, someone had posted on the Facebook Fort Desoto site that the nest had completely collapsed and fallen to the ground. The osprey couple did not let this get the best of them. They spent an entire week bringing sticks back to the nest, starting from scratch. They were seen all over the area bringing sticks back (although if they were that smart they would just fly down to the ground underneath the tree and bring the same sticks back up). The next Saturday morning I went back out on the beach and saw the below.  The birds had already built a pretty good size nest.

Even a week later, they were still flying in with sticks. They didn’t want to waste anymore time. As I was leaving and heading back to the parking lot, I took one last glance back and saw they were mating.

Farther down the trail, this guy was just starting breakfast and didn’t seem to mind me standing on the trail watching him eat.

Photographing New Zealand