Blondie pays a visit

On June 1st, Blondie brought her 10 kids around in front of our dock. They were busy trying to pick bugs off the sea wall. I wondered if those lighter ones would also grow up to be light mallards but I didn’t get a chance to see.

Two weeks later she came back by but only had 3 babies with her. The three were scattered so I only got a shot of the one. They were all of the darker brown ones. It’s sad to think of all of those lost babies but there are a lot of hawks, owls and even an eagle hanging out in the neighborhood.

Funky town

I went for a walk on a late Sunday afternoon around Safety Harbor with just my phone. I was getting tired of walking around in my neighborhood and Safety Harbor is not too far away. It’s a cute little town that sits on the water in upper Tampa Bay and though it’s small in size, it has a huge personality. Although I’ve never been inside any of the buildings, the Art and Music Center looks like a lot of fun.

You can rent kayaks in front of the fishing pier and if you are lucky, will get to float around with the manatees. I almost always see them here at the pier.

This abandoned sailboat has been sitting here in front of the pier for years. Someone has been painting the outside but the inside had plants growing inside of it.

A great place to hang out and enjoy the view but don’t tell anyone else. We wouldn’t want it to get too crowded.

SkyWatch Friday

Lots of babies at the lake

I ran into cuteness overload at Lake Morton in mid-May with two baby swans.They were staying close to the parents. They grow up in a big fenced-in pen right on the lake so the babies have a better chance of surviving at the lake and then are let out once they are big enough to take care of themselves. Ducks, other swans, hawks, eagles, alligators and snakes are just a few of the dangers there.

Two juveniles black swans were about to be released.

Older baby wood ducks were taking a nap.

Safety in numbers. These muscovy babies were all huddled together.

Mom was watching over these babies.

My Corner of the World

The backyard in June

There’s a duck couple that’s been spending afternoons sleeping under our tree in the backyard. Sometimes I peek out the bedroom window to check on them but they are very skittish. They can see me barely move the blinds.

A few of the birds that have been visiting the bird feeder.

I looked out the window and saw something moving in the channel. I grabbed my camera and ran out to the dock to catch 2 manatees rolling around at the end of the channel. After I snapped the above they started heading out to the bay.

Some of the critters in the yard including this juvenile black racer that was climbing up the wall next to the front door.

A faint rainbow in the backyard. It’s the beginning of rainbow season with the summer rains starting in June.

An osprey on my neighbor’s sailboat mast just after the rain.

The sun was trying to peek out.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

More purple clowns

It’s not unusual to see purple gallinules in the marsh at the start of the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve. They usually feed off the alligator flag plants there.

But now they were right on the trails. After being closed for 2 months, I guess they got use to be on the trails and feeding off the plants there. I passed several of them as I walked down Marsh Rabbit Run Trail and they didn’t even bother stopping or acting scared and running. They just kept eating while I walked past them. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Maybe as the park got more crowded later in the day they went into hiding but early in the morning they were out.

A wood duck convention

I stopped by Lake Morton in Lakeland on the way home from Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-May. I usually see one or two wood duck couples there but on this trip they were all around the lake. Sleeping in the grass, hanging out on the swan fences, chasing each other. They must have been gathering for a baby making convention. I have not made it back over to the lake since then so I’m not sure it there were a lot of babies but I would hope so..

All of the usual suspects were there.

Feeding the fowl is encouraged at the lake although bread is extremely discouraged.  They have feeders that are filled with pellets that you can buy a handful for a quarter. This lady was feeding them cracked corn.

Clouds were rolling in and it was time to go home for lunch.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Morning walk at Possum Branch Preserve.

The fields along the trail was starting to get over-grown in late May at Possum Branch Preserve. Once the grass gets knee high it’s a little creepy to veer off the trail and get close to the marsh.

Baby bluebirds hanging out in a dead tree. Looks like they were just learning to fly.

The usual.

This guy (male lesser scaup) should have already flown north by mid-May.  Not sure why he was still hanging around but he wasn’t there the last time I was at the preserve.

The view from  the edge of one of the ponds.

I stopped by the local eagles nest on the way home that’s in a utility tower. I was checking to see if I could see any juvenile eagles hanging around but only the adult was sitting on the tower. Any babies could have been gone by then.

 

My Corner of the World

Dinner time at Possum Branch Preserve

Across the pond I could see this osprey hovering, looking for fish.

Eventually he splashed down and got a fish but took off in the other direction.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, an anhinga was having trouble getting his big catch down. He eventually swallowed it in one big gulp.

Another anhinga scored across the pond. It was a busy fishing night right before dark.

This guy was just cruising around.

A few of the other critters on my walk after work.

A very cool tree in the woods.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

Little Fraiser crane

There was only one. I don’t know if there were more than that but at this point the couple only had one baby. He was getting big and was almost as big as his parents. I found the family at the far end of Heron Hideaway Trail near Eagle’s Roost Trail. They were just hanging out and the baby was taking a break. The reserve had just recently opened back up so this guy probably spent his earliest time without anyone around. Now there was a constant parade of people down the trail but “Fraiser” didn’t seem fazed.

After a few minutes on the side of the trail, the family started heading out.

I started walking down the trail ahead of them and they were following me. They were walking fast so I kept turning around and snapping. I had to move pretty quickly to keep them all in the picture. It was funny to watch them so casually cruising down the trail.

Later I saw another couple across the marsh but I didn’t see any babies with them.

A few birds in mid-May

A female scarlet tanager getting a snack from the fig tree.

The male was not too far away.

I had heard this was a veery. I don’t remember seeing one before but everyone said they aren’t that rare.There were several in the oak trees.

I don’t remember what this was now. A female something?  It was also feeding in the fig tree. Might have been an immature tanager.

Another femaile tanager hiding in the bushes by the fountain.

You can always find a ruddy turnstone on the fishing pier.They look really cool right now in their calico colors.

That dolphin photo bombed my “pelican on the broken tower” picture.

Cruising close to the pier.

A beautiful day for just being out.

I love the drive leaving the pier.

Fort Desoto Park was one of the first closed parks to open in early May. I made it there in the middle of the month and it was good to be outside at the beach. We had missed most of the migrating birds that had come through in late April but there was still a few hanging around the morning I was there.

SkyWatch Friday