Road trip to central Florida

Bok Tower Gardens was bursting with color this summer.

I struggled to get a decent shot of the hummingbird. The light was bad but I managed to get the above. It was hot and muggy so it makes it harder to wait to get the hummer in those fleeting seconds of feeding.

It’s hard to ignore the cute cottontail bunnies

The bell tower

After leaving the gardens, I headed to a nearby fish camp to see if I could find any birds. It was quiet the morning I was there but I’m sure on the weekends it’s busy.

I did find two sandhill cranes feeding along the drive in.

Looking out over the lake, it was such a beautiful calm scene.  It’s these small hidden places that make Florida special.

Inspire Me Monday

Little critters buzzing around

It was early August when I visited Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales. I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of birds there since fall migration hadn’t started yet but I was ready for a road trip. There were a lot of other flying critters though so I had a fun morning torturing myself trying to get pictures of little things buzzing around.

I found this spiny orb weaver with a bee in his web.

Inspire Me Monday

Tiny critters at the botanical gardens

I think this lizard was flirting with me at the Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Tiny critters were buzzing around the butterfly garden.

A few of the butterflies in the butterfly garden. I was expecting to see many more than this. I didn’t see any yellow ones. I keep saying I am seeing less and less of them every year. I wonder if it’s all of the spraying that is being done. Spraying for invasive plants, spraying for mosquitoes.

A soft shell turtle swims by under the bridge. I was only able to get his funny shaped head in the shot. He almost blends in with the brown lily pad leaves.

A young moorhen walking around the spatterdock lilies in the pond.

A few of the flowers blooming in early June.

Inspire Me Monday

“I’m walking on sunshine, yeah!”

There’s something magical about standing in the middle of sunflowers.

There were all types of sunflowers here at Sweetfield Farms in early May. Some had yellow faces and some had black faces. Some had big faces and small petals and some had small faces with long yellow petals. I grabbed a pair of clippers and went out to pick a bunch to take home but it was tough to decide which ones to pick. I ended up with a bunch of different ones.

Most of the faces had bees on them but when you clipped them the bees flew off. If you are really afraid of the bees, you can buy the ones in the barn that are already picked. Either way they were $2 a stem. I really didn’t feel like there were a lot of bees swarming around me though. There are plenty without bees as well.

There were other critters on them as well.

It was a beautiful morning out and I was loaded down as I was walking to the car with my camera, zinnias, sunflowers and a few vegetables I picked.

SkyWatch Friday

Little critters at the botanical gardens

This beautiful hanging orchid plant was blooming in mid-April at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

I love these spikey pods that bust open and are filled with fuzz. I still can’t figure out what these are.

A butterfly had landed high up on this silk floss tree.

Tiny critters in the butterfly garden. There were a lot of monarch caterpillars on the big milkweed plant. I think the bottom caterpillar is an orange barred sulfur butterfly.

Usual birds here are the dove and the brown thrasher.

And of course I can’t walk by and not take pictures of the wood ducks floating around. This time I also saw some on the fence.

A crow flying by with an egg in his beak. Probably a turtle egg.

I stopped at nearby Largo Nature Preserve after leaving the botanical gardens and it was pretty quiet there. I did notice some heads sticking out of holes in some dead trees near the parking lot. A screech owl had been nesting in one. I never made it back here to see if there were any babies. A red bellied woodpecker was checking out the other hole. Probably just started to work on a nest.

Blooming in the yard in late December.

My Christmas cactus bloomed most of December and I finally went outside to get some macro shots of it before it went dormant. Then I started looking around to see what else I could shoot. The small camelia bush next to our garage was blooming. I also took some pictures of the pointsettia plants and the hanging impatiens. Now that it’s March, we have a lot of other plants blooming so I need to get on that.

My Corner of the World

A quick walk

So much yellow in November.The little critters were loving the goldenrod when I was at Possum Branch Preserve in mid-November. The pop of yellow was really pretty growing along the canal there.

A few of the birds I found. A white eyed vireo and a great egret hiding from the wind in the muck.

I don’t see these guys very often even though I know there are a ton of them.

The moon was still up in the late morning.

Stopping at the fishing pier nearby, the dark clouds were moving in.

My Corner of the World

Flashes of pink and green

I barely made it to see the silk floss blooms this year. The silk floss trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens bloom in late September and I didn’t make it there until mid-October but there were still a lot of pink blooms on the tree in the parking lot. I was taking some close up shots of the beautiful pink flowers on the low hanging branches when I saw a flash of green go by.

I heard the loud squawking near the top of the tree and realized that several monk parakeets had landed in the tree.

They spent quite a while eating parts of the flower. They seemed to be eating the bottom part of it where the seed is but they were also playing around with the pink petals. It was so much fun to watch them eating for a while. It was a challenge to get a clear shot since there were so many branches in the way and the light was terrible.

Stepping back and taking this shot with my phone, you can see how big the tree is but this one is much smaller than the one behind the visitor’s centor. There were only blooms left on the bottom half of the tree.

My Corner of the World