Parks close to home

A quick early walk at Chesnut Park in early May. The park started to get crowded pretty quickly so I left and headed out to another park close by.

Possum Branch Preserve was void of people but not many birds there either. At least it was a nice walk outside.

A few birds there included a juvenile night heron and a red bellied woodpecker.

I caught this common snapping turtle cruising down the back trail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snapper out in the wild. This one was pretty small.

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Quackers in my neighborhood.

Beautiful Blondie came by with her babies in early May. Swimming right by our dock.

A mallard family in one of our neighborhood ponds. They came running up to me to see if I had something to give them. I didn’t but someone has been feeding them.

A muscovy mom with her 8 babies in another pond. She started with 13. I’ve been keeping track of her on my walks and she’s now down to 5 babies but they are pretty big so they just might make it.

Pretty colors in the spring

Luckily not many people thought the Botanical Gardens in Largo were still open.  There was almost no one there in late April. I could sit quietly in the butterfly garden without people walking in front of me scaring away the butterflies.

I sat for a while hoping to see a hummingbird but there was no sight of any. I got the next best thing. A clearwing hummingbird moth buzzing around right next to me. This is the only place I’ve seen them before. They hover and feed like hummingbirds, not landing on the flower and then zip away to rest.

Still working on getting that perfect magnolia picture.

Some type of hawk was flying high up in the sky. This is extremely cropped. I couldn’t make out what it was but I don’t think it was a red shoulder. Might be a cooper’s hawk with that dark head.

My Corner of the World

This park should be called “Turtle Park”.

Different patterns on the mangrove leaves along the boardwalk.

I finally was able to see a few migrating birds coming through in late April. Since the best place to see spring migration was closed (Fort Desoto Park) here in the area, we were thinking we wouldn’t get to see any birds coming through. Since some of the smaller parks were still open I was able to see a few birds. They were very skittish and stayed hidden in the bushes. Above are a hooded warbler, a redstart and an ovenbird (or at least I think it’s an ovenbird. May be a thrush of some type?).

 

I had not been to McGough Nature Park in Largo in years. It’s a small park that sits on the intercoastal waterway. I had heard there were a few migrating birds there so I headed out not expecting much. I had forgotten that the park has this great turtle pond. There’s a small dock that goes out over the pond and benches all around it. Turtles were all along the bank and it was very peaceful watching them hang out.

My Saturday morning “just being outside” shot from the boardwalk.

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Screaming white fuzz balls.

It’s that time of the year again. Where the bushes over ponds are loud with baby great egrets screaming for food. The north Tampa rookery had a few families that were already making a lot of noise.

These little babies have a lot of personality and are very loud for their size.

I was able to catch Mom feeding the baby and it looks like he got a good size piece of regurgitated fish from her. It’s amazing how big the food is when they swallow it. He got that piece down with no problem.

Two parks in early April

Heading out to Chesnut Park in early April. There was hardly anyone there but someone had come before me laying bird seed along the boardwalk.

I didn’t see where this crow got this egg. He stopped in the tree right in front of me. It could be a turtle egg.

I saw this little sparrow deep in the bushes along the boardwalk. I was hoping it was something rare but realized it was just a chipping sparrow. Not rare but not extremely common here.

Dragonflies are everywhere now.

I was watching this guy skiing back and forth across the lake. Looks like a fun way to do social distancing.

Enjoying the quiet morning but since this park was open it started to get crowded pretty quickly. I left by 9:30 and headed to Possum Branch Preserve.

Almost no one here at the reserve. Not many birds either.

The sora rail was still here a few weeks after I first saw him.

A beautiful morning for a walk.

SkyWatch Friday

Colors on my neighborhood walk.

More things growing on my walk around the neighborhood in the mornings before work.

Taking tons of pictures of the hibiscus plant in our yard.

Lots of baby ducks on the walk as well.  I realized there are two different creme colored mallards in the neighborhood. Perhaps they are related?  This one had one baby with her and has a little more brown in her feathers.  She was at a small pond at one end of our neighborhood. There is also one with 9 babies floating around our dock the same day. She’s a little more lighter and we all call her Blondie.

A white pigeon in the pond.

The moon coming out at night. All of the above were taken with my phone.

My Corner of the World

No one around at Sawgrass Lake Park.

Green herons are everywhere.

This guy was too cute not to stop and snap a picture.

Wondering what this white fuzz is growing on the tree? Some kind of fungus?

I found some bushes that were covered in grasshoppers. The invasion has begun.

There are several endangered gopher tortoises living in the park.

More “just being outside” shots from a quiet corner of Sawgrass Lake Park in late April.

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Just being outside

In late April, I went out for a walk at Crescent Lake Park. It would be hard to close this park down since it’s really just a small lake with a sidewalk around it in a neighborhood. Although the baseball field was empty and the fenced in dog park area was closed. There were several fitness classes going on in the open grass under the trees. The groups were small and everyone was spread out. Looks like people just moved the gym outdoors.

A female grackle in the reeds.

At first I thought this grackle was just standing on one leg but when he flew up into the tree I realized he was missing a leg.

I cannot seem to get a good shot of the otter there. This time he was coming right at me and I would be shooting right into the sun. He was chewing something in the middle of the lake and then disappeared across the other side of the lake. He’s always so quick and doesn’t stay still for a second. I’ve heard there are several here but I’ve only seen one.

Blooming things along the lake.

This was my “just being outside” shot of the day.

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