Wide open space at Myakka State Park

One of the few animals I saw at Myakka River State Park was a deer near the big lake. She was alone and hiding in the shadow.

Closer to the water I could see some black bellied whistling ducks and black necked stilts.

A crow guarding the parking lot.

Myakka Park, just south of Sarasota, is known for having huge gators. And a lot of them although not as many as the Everglades. Timing is everything to see the big ones. They usually come out to sun themselves late in the afternoon. If it’s really hot, they’ll stay in the water most of the day. I was there early in the morning and only saw a few small ones. There is an area in the park that is off limits that has 100’s of them. The “Deep hole” is a 4 mile round trip hike out to where they are hidden but you have to have a permit to hike out there. The rangers give out 30 permits a day and I heard they are all snatched up in the first hour. I keep saying I want to get down there in the winter and hike out the hole but keep putting it off. I think this winter might be the time.

The sun was just coming up over the trees when I headed out on one trail.

This is a huge park with a lot of wide open spaces. I was out on a rare Monday off so there was hardly anyone there.

A pano with my phone of a dried up lake.

SkyWatch Friday

A walk down Marsh Rabbit Run

Different herons down the trail, A great blue, tricolored, a night heron and then another tricolored almost swimming.

Turtle on the trail.

Why do always get the butt shot pose?  I almost never see these guys walking around and when I do they have their back to me. Usually I just see the below, snoozing and cruising.

All along the trail.

Trees and flowers along the trail.

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Back on the trail.

My first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve since mid-March. It has been closed all of that time and had just re-opened the week before I went in late May. I was there very early and headed out to the trails. This red shoulder hawk was welcoming me back.

Not many people there at 7:15 and it was good to be back on the trails.

Not many birds either. Just the usual suspects posing along the trail.

Talk about feeling like you are being watched. The alligators were close to the trails. They were use to having them all to themselves for 2 months.

The clouds were rolling in but I didn’t care.

So much for the social distancing thing. This group came by and instead of walking by on one side of the trail in a single file, they crowded the trail. I stepped off to let them go by but I couldn’t go too far off without stepping into the marsh and getting eaten by a gator. It was time to head back to the car at this point.

Not before stopping to catch this pretty cattle egret.

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Chesnut Park in late February

Usual birds at Chesnut Park including that juvenile bald eagle that cruised by overhead. That hawk was sitting on a swing on the playground but unlucky for him there were no kids there that early in the morning for him to grab!

The titmouse showing off their fun personality.

Gators everywhere in central Florida. I think those two little ones on the bottom were trying keep warm on this chilly morning.

Where the birds sing at Chesnut Park.

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Chesnut Park in early January

All the usual birds.

There were several small alligators hanging out close to the dock. I didn’t see any big ones but I’m sure the mom was close by.

This deer was right off the boardwalk and I snapped this with my phone.

After walking around Chesnut Park in early January, I stopped by a small park along the water on the way home to see if there were any wintering ducks in the bay. No ducks to be found but this gull had found a piece of a fish in the low tide and was snacking. It was weird that there were several live conch shells on the dead fish.

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Along the trail.

Color on the trail.

Crawling critters including that tiny alligator right on the trail.

Small birds along the trail. A green heron, a house wren making a face at me and then chirping and a blue headed vireo.

Having a snack.

A perfect start to a day at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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Different things at Gatorland

Many of the birds were still sitting on eggs at the bird rookery at Gatorland in Orlando in mid-May.

Some were still flirting.

Lots of different wild birds hanging out at the park including the great egret above that stole a hot dog from an alligator. You can feed the alligators here but half of the time the birds get the food quicker.

Pretty peacock.

The youngest baby birds at the rookery that morning. The baby snowy egrets were probably only a few days old.

The gators were getting frisky.

Seeing a baby gator up close.

This guy was taking a break before the crowds were on the boardwalk.

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Last walk at Circle B until Fall.

Sushi for breakfast.

Walking down the trail I could hear a baby bird calling overhead. Looking up I saw this juvenile red shoulder hawk up in the tree.

Then I realized that Mom was a tree over with a frog trying to get the baby to follow her over. The baby wanted Mom to come feed it but Mom was trying to get him to fly over.

These baby turkeys were very skittish. Mom was keeping an eye on me.

Lots of young alligators along the trail.

Everything was green when I last was at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-May. Now it’s too hot to walk there and the main trails are usually closed due to alligators mating and nesting close by until at least October so I’ll be staying close to home or the coast.

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