Neighborhood walk in the fog

I peaked out the window in early December and saw the fog.  It was a good morning for a walk in the neighborhood.

The lake across from our home was almost covered in fog. It was cool out but I felt like I was walking through a shower.

Heading down the street I saw this guy cross in front of me. I pulled my phone out and quickly snapped this since I knew he would be gone in seconds.

I got to my favorite open spot and I could barely see the utility towers in the open field. The sun was just starting to come up behind the trees so I knew the fog would be gone soon.

There were some ladies having breakfast in the woods next to the field. I didn’t see them when I was walking to the end but saw them coming back.

SkyWatch Friday

Where injured sea critters live

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has more than just rescued dolphins. They also take in other injured animals from all over. You are greated by these white pelicans when you first come into the aquarium. They have a lot of character but the glare on the glass is a challenge.

After walking around for a while, we realized we could see them from the other side as well. They had moved over to the inside of the exhibit and I think I bonded over this one for a second.

Up close with some crabs.

You can also see stingrays up close.

All of the turtles here have some type of injury. The top one had lost his back flippers and the bottom one lost his front flippers. There are all types of injuries, most of them here are man made. Boat strikes, getting flippers tangled in fishing line or crab trap lines. The aquarium also rehabilitates a lot of turtles when red tide (algea bloom) is bad but any of those that recover are released.

Dolphins after Thanksgiving

Instead of hitting the malls on Black Friday after Thanksgiving (does anyone still do that?), my sister and I went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Even though Winter, (the dolphin who lost his tail and used a prosthetic tail) recently passed away, there are still other rescued dolphins to see. We spent the morning walking around the huge tanks watching them play. They have since taken in a new dolphin, Apollo, who was rescued near the space coast across the state. Apollo was stranded and really sick. He was found to have lost his hearing which made him unreleasable back to the wild so he will now live at the aquarium.

One of the dolphins was playing with a ball, pushing it around. He would pop it with his snout and then go chasing after it.

There are 2 rough toothed dolphins that live in the outside tank. The other dolphins at the aquarium are bottlenose dolphins.

Rudy and Rex have a great view (although it’s hard to take pictures of them in the shade). We were able to see them up close.

The dolphins don’t do tricks but if you are there during mealtime you might catch them playing around.

A chance encounter

Walking around Chesnut Park a few months back, I saw this beautiful buck. He was busy grazing and barely glanced at me.

I then spotted several does nearby. One walked up to the buck and looked like she was going to kiss him? At first the buck kicked at her and she jumped back a little. But then she started grazing near him and kept getting closer.

He let her get pretty close. It was then I realized she had a big sore next to her eye.  It might have been a bot fly sore which is common in deer and squirrels in this park during the summer. He ignored her and she eventually walked off.

As she walked away I saw that she had a big booboo on her knee. She’s having a rough time. Hopefully she will heal.

Creeping things along the trail

What would you expect to find walking down Marsh Rabbit Run Trail at Circle B Bar Reserve? I rarely see them on this trail but there it was on my walk in late October. As I got closer and he disappeared in the bushes on the side I yelled “Don’t go in there. The alligators will get you” but he didn’t listen.

These guys are always hanging on the side of the trails.

So are these. Marsh Rabbit Run should really be called Creepy Spider Trail.

This is what you see after the trails open back up after being closed for the summer. The sides of the trails are full of spiders. Those tiny dots are spiders in between the trees. That’s why you don’t want to get to close to the sides of the trails (although most of them are pretty high up there are usually a few lower down). I think for the most part these are harmless although I always do a spider check if I feel like I walked through a web.

An eagle cruising far away across the marsh.

My favorite purple clowns were out feeding. These are juvenile purple gallinules that hadn’t gotten their purple feathers in. Soon they will look like the one below. They were eating the tips of the alligator flag plants.

Assuming this is one of the parents.

My Corner of the World

Color and turtles in October

Yellow and orange from my trip to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo last month.

The large cactus in the front of the gardens had big blooms on them . The details inside the bloom are amazing. The cactus also had this big pink ball which I assume are the blooms before they open up. Or, maybe they are the seed pod after the bloom dies off?

Little critters. Bees had taken over that bird house.

I found another face in the tree along the boardwalk.

I stopped by and said hello to the resident wood ducks.

After leaving the botanical gardens, I stopped at McGough Park to see if there were any fall migrating birds. I didn’t see many birds but the turtle pond was full of turtles taking a sun nap.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

Remembering Winter

It is with heavy heart that I write this. Thursday night Clearwater lost an icon. Winter, the dolphin who lost his tail and lived at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, died of a gastrointestinal infection. Specialist from around the country flew in and the best care was given to her but she had other plans. Winter was a young dolphin when she was rescued in 2005. Her tail was caught in a crab trab which resulted in her losing her tail. She was the star in her own movie “A Dolphin’s Tale”. I recently visited her back in June and you can read about that visit here. Below is an older post from 2011.

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.

Twins in the woods

The welcoming committee greeted me as I drove into Chesnut Park in late August. Actually, they barely looked up from their feeding to see who had stopped their car. I snapped the above from the car and then headed to the back of the park to park and walk around.

I found the twins in the back of the park. They were pretty big at this point but still cute with those spots. They stayed close to Mom as they crossed the road and then eventually headed into the back woods. Until next year for the babies!

Big blobs in the water

I was walking past the sliding doors to the backyard and saw some big black blobs bobbing in the water. I grabbed my camera and ran out to the dock to catch the manatees coming up for air a few docks down in our channel.

To most people it wouldn’t look like much from a distance but you can’t miss that snout coming up for air. And I didn’t even have to get in my car and drive somewhere to see them. I haven’t kayaked in a while but I use to see them in the outer channels or out in the open bay. They rarely get this far into the channels so it was a treat to see them from my backyard. Several neighbors had also spotted them and came out to watch. There were 3 of them, a mom and 2 babies (which were almost as big as mom).

Every once a while you could see a flipper coming up. When the smaller flipper is leaning on the bigger manatee, it usually means the baby is nursing.

It’s easy to spot the big round flat tail that flaps in the water.

I watched them for a while as they just hung out in the channel. I think they must have spent some time nursing because they didn’t move for at least half an hour and they were on the surface more than usual. Eventually they started making their way back out to the bay. Manatees are like dolphins, it’s always exciting to see them out in the wild no matter how many times you see them.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sister, Debbie!

My Corner of the World