Nature in early October

Is it fall yet?  It was cool on the morning I was at Chinsegut Wildlife area in early October. Only 75 degrees at 8am. It warmed up quick but was a nice change from the summer heat.

It actually felt a little like fall even though it was warm.

Color along the trail.

Heading down to the lake, I thought these fallen logs covered in moss were interesting. Nature’s artwork?  Out at the lake it was quiet.

A few little critters. The first is a cicada which are usually hard to spot although you can easily hear them. This one landed in the tree right in front of me.

There wasn’t many birds at the feeders. Only a lone chickadee. I think there’s more food for them out in the wild at this point in the season.

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Critters out the back door

This red shoulder hawk was stalking my cockatiels through the window. I heard Harley starting to scream and ran over and looked out the window and saw this. He was sitting in a low branch right up against the house.  I ran outside and walked right up to him. After picking up a big branch and shaking it at him, he finally flew off. He was not intimidated by me at all. I don’t think he realized he couldn’t get my birds that were inside the house. He came back again the next day and I went back out and shook the big branch at him again and I haven’t seen him since.

I think this squirrel mistook the hanging plant for a bird feeder. He’s looking at me like “Lady, where’s the food?”

I saw the deer from the kitchen and grabbed my camera and ran out to the back porch. The deer were across the fairway and glanced at me for a second before continueing to eat. This was late in the afternoon. They stayed out there until right before dark and then headed off into the woods down the street. It’s a little strange for me to see deer grazing right out my back door.

When I was out taking pictures of the deer, I shot the above of the ibis on the tee. There’s always a ton of ibis on the golf course.

An early morning walk

I left the house in the dark in early October, heading north to Chinsegut Wildlife trail. It’s only an hour away but feels like a completely different place. I made some quick stops along the way, taking shots of the light coming up over the trees and through the fog.

Right before the trail I saw this old building. At first I thought it was a house but it might have been some type of small factory or type of barn. There were trees growing in the middle of the building. I had to stop and get a shot of it. As I was taking some pictures with my phone, some crows flew out of the building. I thought “Is it Halloween already?”

When I got to the conservation center to park the sun was just coming up. I hadn’t been out for a long walk in a while and it felt good to be out in the woods.

Due to a lot of recent rain, things were pretty swampy. I had on a lot of bug spray so I was able to linger a while and listen to the swamp sounds.

It looked a little like fall with a few red leaves but I would suspect that they are really from the trees being so flooded for a while.

I found a sandhill crane family near the parking area and junior was almost grown up. He didn’t quite have a full red head yet though. They walked around for a while, picking off some bird seed in the ground feeder and then eventually headed into the woods.

 

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One last walk

I got up early one morning in late September to take my last walk around the neighborhood. It wasn’t my last walk anywhere, just around this neighborhood. After living here for 17 years, we moved about 20 minutes away so Brett could be closer to work and it was time to downsize. It was before the sun came up and a faint rainbow was visible as the ducks flew by. I said goodby to Blondie and her grown babies. I’ll miss those creme colored mallards.

The ducks stopped by the yard days before we moved. It was the last of the bird seed so they were going to have to scrounge somewhere else.

Backyard skies on our last week here. I’ll miss the open sky but we are moving to a heavily wooded area and it will be nice to be in the shade now and see different wildlife. I’ll be posting pictures of the critters near our new home soon.

SkyWatch Friday

A great morning for beautiful birds

I headed down to Fort Desoto at the end of August not expecting much. As I headed out to the north beach I was greeted by a few spoonbills. I rarely see them here and in fact it was probably last fall when they were in the same spot. I wonder if these are the same ones that have stopped by for a rest.

I found a few red knots hanging out with one of the resident reddish egrets.

A red knot still in breeding feathers.

The best part of the morning was seeing an uncommon avocet. It wasn’t really a surprise though. I had heard 2 were here but wasn’t counting on actually finding it so it was a bonus to walk up on it. I didn’t see the other one although it may have been hiding in the sanctuary close by. There were 3 that hung out here last fall and I was able to catch those on 2 visits.

A young skimmer fluffing up his feathers.

A dunk and a catch.

Looking over through the sea oats over to Egmont Key in the distance. If you look close in the right hand side, you can see an osprey sitting on a branch on the beach.

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Fishing on the fishing pier

One of the fun things about walking around on the fishing pier besides fishing, is watching the birds steal the bait fish. The snowy egrets get in squabbles over the tiny fish.

All lined up, waiting for someone to pull up a bait net full of fish.

This great blue heron had already eaten and was wiping his beak on the light.

Cruising by with the big boats in the background.

The guy who owned this rolling bucket was not paying attention. He had some fish already in there but left it open and walked farther down the pier to pull up another net full of bait fish. The snowy egrets and great egrets were having a feast until he came back.

 

Things in the backyard

I was out in the backyard in early September and noticed this mallard trying to eat something that was bobbing in the water. I ran and got my camera and headed down to the dock and realized it was a mango. He was chowing down on it.

After 17 years in our house, we finally had a dragonfly come in. He was flying around for a while. We opened the doors and was waving around a broom and mop and was finally able to shoo him out into the screened in porch. I then opened the porch door and eventually he flew out but not before I was able to get this close up of him. He had a beautiful green color on his head.

Later in the week it was raining. We had a wet green heron hanging out on our dock in the rain and the mallards have been visiting for a while.

Squirrels like to hang out on the top of our down spout when it’s raining to stay dry. I took this through the sliding door and the screen.

We’ve been getting regular visits from 2 female mallards lately. They scrounge around under the bird feeder for fallen seed. One morning I looked out the window and realized they had brought friends. We also get ibis on a regular basis.

Looking out the side window from my desk, I see a dove sitting on the fence. Later a little blue heron was on our neighbor’s shed.

Taken through the window, this lizard had the cutest toes.

Sunset from the backyard.

My Corner of the World 

A hot morning in August

A quiet (swampy) place to reflect. Just ignore the Beware of Alligators sign on the right.

This one was watching me as he cruised in front of the dock.

I found a few wood ducks in front of the dock at Chesnut Park.

Young cardinals were all over the park. They were all pretty scruffy looking, not having gotten their adults feathers in all the way yet.

A limpkin trying to hide behind some weeks.

The little chickadees were so cute. There were a lot of them here in early August. I saw my first one here at this park more than 10 years ago and then didn’t see any for a long time. Now I’ve seen a few around on most of my visits in the past few years.

After leaving Chesnut Park and heading home, I stopped at a small park nearby on the bay to see if anything was around the fishing pier. I had fun watching this dog romp around in the low tide. He stuck his tongue in the water for a drink but he did not like that salty water.

The one that got away. After taking a bunch of pictures of the dog in the water, I look up and see the back of an eagle heading the other way. I’ll have to keep an eye out here during the winter to see if there’s a nest nearby.

My Corner of the World

Summer clucking

In early August I headed over to Ybor City early one morning to see if there were any summer baby chicks running around. I found two hens each with two babies. It’s weird to think there are wild chickens running around near downtown Tampa but I think they have been a long time. They say that the chickens have been here over 100 years, since the first Ybor city residents were living here before downtown really existed and there were small farms in the area.

They were so cute to watch. The chicks were curious but did not stray to far from Mom.

At the baseball park

In early August I stopped by the baseball fields near my house to see if any parakeets were nesting. Getting out of the car I could see the nest high up in the light post. The clouds were moving in over the sun you could just make out a faint rainbow around it.

I could hear loud screaming coming from below the light post in the big pile of sticks. The parakeets build their nests at the bottom of the osprey nests and go in from underneath. The osprey have long left since they nest late winter. These monk parakeets were busying flying in and out but I didn’t see any young ones. There were several entrance holes to this one big nest.

A few of them flew over to the tree and hung out there for a while.

Some of the other light posts that didn’t have nests were full of pigeons taking a nap.

A tricolored heron posing on top of the ballfield fence, in the outfield.

There weren’t any games going on while I was there and the park was pretty quiet with a few people on the tennis courts. There were at least 8 empty osprey nests here but it’s hard to get good shots of the babies since the nests are so high up. Years ago I saw some loggerhead shrikes juveniles here but I didn’t see any here today. I’ll check back on another quiet day.

My Corner of the World