The backyard in early June

I keep seeing downy woodpeckers and chickadees on the feeder at the same time.

I think this chickadee was going to tell me to get better seed.

I’ve been seeing baby bluebirds bouncing around in the backyard. I’ve seen 4 at one time but it’s hard to get more than one through the window. They are very skittish and take off if I go out in the back.

The doves were napping under the bird bath.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen a lizard shedding his skin.

Sunset in the lake across the street.

I usually stop at the lake as I’m getting the mail and one night I saw a lone skimmer cruising around right before dark. This was taken with my phone, which I usually have in my pocket. I went out there the next 2 nights with my camera but didn’t see him again.

Tricolored herons and anhingas are usual in the lake, getting that last meal before dark.

I caught this tern flying overhead right at dark. I think it’s a Caspien tern.

Downtown St. Pete parks

You can always find turtles chilling on the trash bumpers at Crescent Lake Park near downtown St. Pete.

I found some cute duckies walking along the sidewalk.

Usual birds around the lake include the loggerhead shrike, a roseate spoonbill and an anhinga drying out.

I found an unusual pair of birds sitting in front of my car, northern rough winged swallows. I’ve seen them in other parks before but they are fairly rare.

A cloudy morning at the park.

The big banyan tree has been fenced in for several years now. They are trying to keep it alive since it’s so old (not sure how old though). It’s taken a beating over the years with people climbing and playing on it.

It looked like it has snowed along the street in front of the park. I realized there were several cottonwood trees in someone’s yard. I had never noticed this before so I must not have been here when they were blooming. I’m sure it’s beautiful when it’s in full bloom but what a mess it was in the street and yard.

After leaving the park I stopped by Rouse park on the bay in St Pete, only a few minutes away. The royal poinciana trees were blooming and the are a lot of them in this small park.

Enjoying an early morning on the bay in late May.

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Riding by the cows

Scenes from my bike ride in late May. Pedaling past cow pastures.

I had my camera in my backpack and had to stop for a shot of the cattle egret with the cow. This is where they get their name. Egrets hanging out with the cattle, trying to eat the bugs that the cows stir up as they eat the grass.

I found the meadowlarks again.

I found several juvenile tree swallows sitting on the fence. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen them actually sitting down. They spend most of their time cruising around catching bugs. EDIT: Thanks to Lea’s Menagerie for a correct ID. The above is an eastern kingbird. I’m still learning a lot of the migrating birds. This was late May so it makes sense he could still be hanging around. I think that Florida sun is starting to get to me.

A pond along the cow pasture fence was a busy watering hole.

There are several gopher tortoise holes along the fences but this was the first time I have seen one out of his hole. They are listed as Threatened in Florida and both the tortoise and their burrows are protected by law.

Morning walks at the marina

The Dunedin marina area is one of my new favorite places to walk in the mornings. Even though it’s miserable hot, there’s usually a breeze here on the water. During the week, before 9am, it’s pretty quiet and easy to get a good parking spot.

Two juvenile osprey were trying to catch some food. After a while they both ended up on the same tree on the water’s edge.

This anhinga had no problem catching her fish. I think she was showing it off.

Juvenile house sparrows were digging in the sand for bugs to eat.

I found these fuzzy plants on a fence near the water. It looked like cotton but a month later I would find out what they were. More to come on these.

A great egret ready to take off.

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Early May at the rookery

I made another trip to the bird rookery in north Tampa in early May. While there were already a lot of babies, the wood storks were still flirting.

The baby great egrets were the loudest, yelling at Mom to feed them.

A young tricolored heron trying to fly. I love the wire looking feathers on their heads.

Young anhingas were high up in the cypress trees.

Birds were constantly flying in and out of the rookery. I was hoping to see cattle egrets or maybe the glossy ibis but I saw neither of them on this trip.

In the yard in June

We’ve had some beautiful skies in June. This was looking across the fairway before the storm hit.

Later I was peeking out the window and caught this lightning with my phone.

Sunset across the street.

These were all blooming on my neighbor’s wall. We share a courtyard.

I was coming back from the mailbox and this bunny was in our yard. I couldn’t believe he was still there when I went in and got my camera and came back out. I’ve been seeing one every couple of days. I wonder if it’s the same one. I call him Peter.

The usual visitors in the backyard. All taken through the window.

I finally got a shot of a great crested flycatcher. I’ve been hearing them calling for months but they always stay high up in the trees. One morning I was sitting outside and had my camera with me and was able to catch him.

Baby bluebird was yelling at Mom to feed him (or her). Taken through the window, they were far out on the golf course.

Squirrels being cute in the backyard.

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A busy condo building

I could see the purple martins flying around the bird house from arcross the marina. I had brought my camera in the car so I drove around to the other side of the marina to check them out. All of the babies were fully grown at this point. There were a lot of purple martins on this big condo bird house.

Parents were bringing in food to the babies who were screaming to be fed.

I’m not sure what’s going on here. At first I thought a pair were still mating but it looks like one of the parents was trying to feed the baby. Or was the parent trying to push the baby off the house to start flying? Or maybe this baby was in the wrong condo and was hoping to get a meal from the wrong parent?

A few were flying and one landed on the grown but eventually made it back to the house.

Scenes from Fort Desoto

The dolphin show at Fort Desoto Park in mid-May. The water was clear so you could see them before they were coming up for air and they were swimming close to the fishing pier.

I found this calico crab on the beach early that morning. It was low tide but the water was starting to come up. At first I though maybe he was dead but then I saw bubbles coming out of his face. I was going to nudge him close to the deeper water but he stood up and started heading that way on his own. It looks like he has a critter in a shell living on top of him.

A juvenile little blue heron dunking for fish.

Scenes from the fishing pier.

I walked up to the top of the fort hoping to find some migrating birds up at the top but all I found was a cardinal on a dead snag. He had a great view.

View from the beach.

Standing near the northern end of the beach you can see the hotels on St. Pete beach, about a 20 minute drive north.

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More from Myakka River State Park

While I was at Myakka River State Park in early May, I did see a little bit of wildlife. This young male deer was just off the road.

I lost count of the vultures and alligators I saw. I was there early in the morning before the majority of the alligators had started to lay out on the banks but I still saw a ton.

I saw this little bird walking around near the big alligator’s tail. Zooming in I saw that it was a spotted sandpiper. I hope he has good reflexes and can get away fast if that alligator whips around.

Far down the river I could see limplins looking for food. It looks like one of them has a snack.

I got out of the car and was walking across the parking lot to head to the boardwalk and this guy came out of the bushes and ran across the parking lot.

A swallow tail kite flies low overhead.

Just down the road from the park, this old barn must have some pretty good stories to tell. I couldn’t tell if it’s still being used but the ivy is started to take over the roof.

A mellow yellow morning

I headed down to Myakka River State Park in mid-May. It’s about an hour and a half from my home near Tampa. I knew I probably wouldn’t see a lot of birds since the water was low in the lake and spring migration was mostly over but that was okay. I really came to see the fields of yellow. Tickseed (formal name is coreopsis) was named the state wildflower in 1991 and you can see plenty of it here. I got to the open field and got out of the car and used my phone to take the above pano. Yellow as far as the eye can see.

There was also some thistle blooming along the road which added some pink.

I was hoping to see some deer or turkey crossing the field but after waiting an hour all I got was a crow.

The sun coming through the tree.

Along a path near the lake, the thistle was growing so high I couldn’t see over it.

Besides the yellow tickseed in May, this park is known for having a lot of alligators. Looking across a river there were several sunning themselves and one swimming by from the left. The pink buds in front of the tickseed is swamp milkweed.

Before heading out I stopped at this pond and snapped the above with my phone.

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