In the swamp in July.

The usual birds at Chesnut park in July including that titmouse hanging upside down trying to get a bug.

I was hoping to see some baby deer in mid July but I think it was too early. Only adults and young bucks.

The usual critter in the swamp.

A usual summer storm was moving in.

The boardwalk swamp was full of water after days of rain. It was weird to be walking around with so much water. Even in the early morning it was hot, muggy and buggy.  The last one is a quick video oft he sounds in the swamp.

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Those cute little sand babies

This baby was begging Mom to go get a fish. He was hungry, biting the parent’s beak and legs.

So many mouths to feed.

This one above appeared hungry but realized he would not be able to get that big fish down. After a few minutes he just sat down and wouldn’t take the fish from the parent. Maybe the parent had already fed them. The fish ended up in the sand.

It took this one a while but he eventually got it down.

After a while all of the babies were napping.

Another bumper crop of black skimmer babies this summer on the beaches in the Tampa bay area. So many babies and the parents were flying back and forth with tiny bait fish to feed them. I always wonder how the parents can find their own babies in a sea of little birds.

Photographing New Zealand

Too hot for the birds

Little critters at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Not many birds in early July. A cardinal with a snack and a Loggerhead Shrike

As I was leaving the gardens, I saw this hawk up on a light post. I think this is juvenile Cooper’s Hawk.

I stopped for a quick walk around the boardwalk at Largo Nature Preserve but there wasn’t much there either. I think the smart birds went north for the summer.  I found this green heron creeping around the boardwalk.

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Splashing and skimming

June is the time of the year when you can find black skimmers on the beaches in the Tampa bay area. They aren’t spread out across the area like gulls are but tend to congregate in certain spots to nest. Skimmers lay their eggs right on the beach and they do it in large colonies. In late June it was hot and many of the adults were hanging out along the water line taking baths. I was wishing I had brought my swimsuit so I could have joined them. They were also skimming along the line trying to catch fish to take back to the babies. There were lots of babies. More to come.

Sand Key Park

Least terns were just starting to mate on the beach at Sand Key Park in late June.

A crazed looking juvenile mockingbird was also on the beach.

On osprey was guarding the jetti with his fish.

A small storm was moving in across the beach.  The tourist pirate ship started to head out into the gulf but then turned around and came back into the bay. That trip must have gotten cut short. It started to sprinkle as I walked back down the beach to my car but then the sun came out just as fast.

I think it was going to end up being a perfect day after the morning storms moved through. I had stopped by the park to see if the least terns were nesting yet. They were there but none of them were sitting on eggs yet. People were starting to come out to the beach once the sun came out. It was time for me to go home and have lunch.

SkyWatch Friday

Duck controversy in the neighborhood.

There are several muscovy duck families in the neighborhood. Many young babies were running around in May and June. The above was too sad. I was driving home from work and saw these babies eating something in the middle of the street. They were eating another baby that had been hit by a car. Muscovy ducks are an invasive species and are not native to Florida. Yet they are everywhere. They can be mean and aggressive and leave big messy poop piles in driveways and on sidewalks. They try to drive out the mallards. Many of the neighbors want to call in a trapper to remove them (they can’t be relocated and would be euthanized). For years people were feeding them which led to the increase in numbers in the neighborhood. There is now a huge campaign to stop feeding them. Recently ducks crossing the road were driven over on 6 different occasions. Someone caught a glimpse of it on their front door camera but all you can see is a blurry SUV so we’re not sure who was doing it. Might not have been a resident. The neighborhood is divided. Those who don’t mind a little duck poop want them to stay and those who want them all gone (more will just move in anyway).

Several families with different ages of babies came running when I stopped my car to snap the above with my phone.

In my neighbor’s yard, these guys came running as well.

On a Saturday afternoon I went outside to get the mail and these mallard were napping in our driveway. They jumped up when they saw me but I’m not even going to feed the mallards.

Photographing New Zealand

In the backyard in June.

Starlings took over our backyard a long time ago but this is the first time I noticed them nesting. My neighbor has a dead palm tree that sits up against our fence and for weeks I kept seeing this starling popping her head out of a hole in the side facing our kitchen window. There was also one sitting on the top of the stump most of the time. I never saw any babies poking out but weeks later I saw an adult feeding several young ones in our neighbor’s yard.

It’s that time of the year when mama ducks are cruising the channels with babies.

One morning I saw the above woodpecker in a hole higher up in the dead tree. The woodpecker spent all morning cleaning out this hole so I thought we’d have babies at some point but I think she ended up not staying. A few days later I saw a starling going in the same hole and I haven’t seen the woodpecker since.

We have 2 Bismark palms in our backyard that are about 5 years old and this is the first time I’ve seen something blooming inside of them. It’s weird that they are suppose to be the same tree but the blooms look completely different.

Hibiscus on the side of the yard.

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