Chesnut Park on a Saturday morning

It was nice to see the deer close by in late February.

Taken with my phone, you can see them wandering around near the picnic area next to the lake.

Usual birds include a bluebird, swamp sparrow, carolina wren (singing his heart out) and a purple gallinule (showing off his big yellow feet).

Lots of color in February (which is really our fall). I’m not sure what the pink seed pods are but I’ve seen the squirrels eat them.

He was so close to the boardwalk that I had to take this with my phone to get him in.

I was leaving the park and saw some vultures fighting in the outfield of the ballfield (no one was playing). I parked and got out to see what they were fighting over. Whatever it was had been cleaned off.

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An interesting morning at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

It’s always fun to see lots of robins in the trees. We only see them here briefly in the winter. The trees were full of them at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in late December.

A few of the resident birds. The caracara in the bottom picture is a not a bird you see in this area. They are mostly in south central Florida so it’s interesting to see them here. This one had some type of injury. Possibly missing wing or vision.

The otters were being so cute this morning, although seeing those teeth makes you realize they can be pretty tough. They were feeding in the pond right up against the boardwalk. I love watching them eating while swimming on their backs. That’s a real talent.

I’m sure this happens more than we see out in the wild. The alligator was not fed this bird by the staff. I missed the early action but people saw him grabbing this bird. Based on the pink legs and white wings with a little black, thinking it’s a white ibis that got too close. The alligator was all the way across the pond in the first shot but was swimming fast away from the other alligators who were chasing him trying to steal his snack. He then heading into the far corner right in front of me. Sad but circle of life.

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Lake Morton and Circle B Bar Reserve

I do have sad news. Morty, the wild turkey that had been living at Lake Morton for a few months was found dead in the lake. He made it long past Thanksgiving and Christmas. I haven’t heard what had caused it but that’s a tough lake to live on. So many aggressive swans and muscovy ducks there. No one ever said where he came from, he just showed up at the lake and stayed for a while.  I had taken the above in early December.

Ducks were already getting frisky in early December even though we still had a cold spell to get through.

This morning it was dark and cloudy and I was standing at the lake watching the ducks when an eagle fly by. Since the lake was quiet, I left and headed over to Circle B Bar Reserve.

It was a quiet morning. A swamp sparrow came out from the bushes and the trail was full of blue gray gnatcatchers as usual.

Nothing new on the trail this morning. It wasn’t until a visit in late January that I saw a new bird but more on that later.

I did see this mom and her two almost grown kids just walking down the trail. They would stop and sniff into the bushes but then pop back out on the trail and continue to cruise. Raccoon butts are so cute! They stayed in front of me on the trail for a while.

Even though it was quiet it was still a good walk.  I didn’t stay too long, in by 8am and out by 10am.

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A quiet cold walk in January

The cattails and the spider webs were showing up in the early morning sun at Possum Branch Preserve.

Bright pops of red in early January. It was finally starting to look like fall (only in central Florida does it look like fall right before spring).

Birds were scarce this Saturday morning. Other than the usual birds, I only saw a house wren and a thrasher.

Pelican fly by along the canal.

Two coots have taken up residents for the winter in the main pond.

This guy didn’t look that big (taken with my zoom lens).

When I got around the other side of the pond and saw him spread out, he looked much bigger.

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On the trail in early November

The yellow flowers were out in full force in early November at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Usual birds along the trail. That anhinga has something stuck on his beak. Hopefully he was able to scrap it off. He would be really hard to catch since his is flying and was on a stump in a lake full of alligators.

An eagle flew over my head along the trail.

Later I saw a young eagle sitting on a tree far off the trail close to the lake.

This one was close to the trail. Probably waiting for foot traffic to stop so he could cross.

A tree next to the lake was full of cormorants.

Scenes from the trail on this beautiful morning.

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Long walk on the trails

Looks like a good morning for a walk.

Still a little bit of yellow along the trail.

I found these young juvenile purple gallinules feeding along the trail. One was almost completely purple and the other hadn’t quite got his bright purple feathers in yet.

Views from the trail including that small alligator cruising along the lake.

The long walk around. I took the long way around Eagle’s Roost Trail to avoid the crowds later in the morning. I had the trail all to myself. This was right before my hip started hurting so I’ve only made a short trip back since then and stayed close to the parking lot area,

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Lots of little birds

The usual birds were at Chesnut Park in early November. A Carolina wren and a titmouse with a snack.

These look like immature pine warblers with that little bit of white around the eye.

A pine warbler.

I’m not sure what this is above. Might be a red eyed vireo. He was a little harder to catch.

This one was deep in the tree. I think it’s a blue headed vireo.

I’m wondering if these are the baby bluebirds from this spring that are now grown up. They were still acting like young birds. They were in the same spot, by the playground.

The usual tiny alligator at the dock. (There were many there, this one was the most visible).

Some black birds on Halloween

When thinking of a bird that could represent Halloween I think of vultures. Crows or ravens would be scarier but I didn’t come across those recently.  On a day off in September I headed down an hour from my house to Myakka River State Park. I had not been in over a year and wasn’t expecting to find much there in September but I wanted to get out of the house. I found a little obscure trail that led to a dead end with a small dock across the river.  The roof of the dock was covered in vultures and there  were  more nearby on the ground. I think there had been a dead alligator in the area. They were looking at me very curiously, probably wondering what I was doing in their spot.

Up close. This one has a small boo boo on his face.

On the ground next to the trail.

Taken with my phone, you could see how close they were.

I was keeping an eye on this guy right below me in the water.

Just getting out of the house

Was I being watched?  I noticed all of the different art faces that are on on the trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Pretty things blooming in July.

Little critters.

You can usually find alligators, bunnies and turtles at any park in the area.

It was a quiet morning for birds though. I’ve been working from home since mid-March so I’m still trying to get out of the house on Saturday mornings for a long walk even if the wildlife is scarce this time of year.

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Waiting out the rain

Walking down Marsh Rabbit Run trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in early June. Not much along the trails but gators. I had a rare day off in the week and the reserve was quiet. And, the threat of rain kept people at home.

As I got down to the end of the trail (as far away from my car as possible) the dark clouds were moving in fast.

I quickly ducked under the small rain shelter as the bottom fell out. That was fine. I’ll rest here for a while until it stops.

It started pouring sideways and the rain was coming into the shelter which has a roof but no walls. I had my small umbrella in my backpack that I pulled out but I was still getting soaked from the waist down. There was no one else around except for my friend Henry, the great blue heron, who stayed near the shelter during the pour.

I played games on my phone for a while and took a lot of pictures and after almost an hour of pouring, it dwindled down to a light sprinkle and I headed back down the trail back to the parking lot.

The birds along the trail were all wet. By the time I got back to main trail to the nature center, the sun was coming out and  people were coming in looking at me like I was a wet rat. It was still a fun morning.

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