Another walk on Alligator Alley

All lush and green, this was taken in early April before the drought started taking a toll on the marsh.

I did not change the color on this glossy ibis. They were in their breeding feathers and the colors were so deep. When the sun hits them you can really see the patterns.

So many purple gallinules lately. They are so much fun to watch.

One lone baby limpkin. Mom was close by looking for food.

Far out in the marsh, this great egret caught a stick with his fish.

Mom moorhen feeding the baby.

Now that’s lunch! He caught the fish but then moved locations. I caught him right as he was swallowing it.

Early April at Circle B Bar Reserve.

SkyWatch Friday

Things around a local lake.

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The usual ducks and geese around the lake.

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Big footed baby moorhens growing up around the lake.

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Pretty pigeon with pink feet.

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Checking me out.

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Cool trees.

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Crescent Lake Park is close to downtown St. Petersburg. It’s a small lake surrounded by houses with a dog park and baseball fields. The Saturday morning I was there was a busy one. Many people out jogging and walking their dogs. No unusual wildlife but lots of ducks and geese, the later I say far away from. If you get close to them and don’t have food they get mean.

Skywatch Friday

A walk around a lake in the boonies.

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Another summer black bellied whistling duck sighting.  I snapped this from far away. As I walked down the sidewalk they took off.

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A juvenile moorhen, probably 2-3 months old.

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I’m seeing green herons everywhere this summer.

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Another juvenile moorhen with his parent close by.

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After walking around the main lake, I walked over to a small path with a gazebo at the back lake. Most of the lake is surrounded by houses but there is a tiny park along one side. Zooming in across the lake, I could see this sandhill crane couple taking a nap. It would be really cool to have them sleeping in my backyard.

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The only shot of baby black bellied whistling ducks ever and it was a bad one. I could see them across the lake but I was not about to walk past the “No Trespassing” sign, even for whistler babies. This was taken directly into the sun and extremely cropped up. They looked so cute with those stripes on their bodies. Most baby ducks all look like mallards but these really looked different.

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Nice view from someone’s backyard.

Way out in the boonies (or at least 40 minutes from my house so I call it the boonies) is a big neighborhood that has several lakes right in the middle. Yes, some call this the suburbs. The main lake has an amazing amount of wildlife. The lake has a sidewalk and the houses are across the street. There’s a small wooded park close by filled with woodpeckers. I stopped by early one Saturday morning in late July and there were lots of joggers and dog walkers already out. I didn’t stay long since the sun was out and there was no breeze. I did manage to get some shots of some baby purple gallinules which I’ll post later.

Linking up to Saturday’s Critters

Birds at the Botanical Gardens

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A young osprey sitting on the nest which is on top of a drum on a utility tower. He was probably born in February or March? He still has the bright orange eyes and spots on his feathers that juveniles have.

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A green heron hiding in the pond.

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A house sparrow hiding in the tree.

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A very young starling getting a drink in the fountain.

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A brown thrasher hiding in the tree.

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There were two thrashers flying around the herb garden.

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One flew on the fence. Yuk, is that a bug he was trying to eat?

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Now he’s just posing for me.

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Yes, more baby moorhens. They are everywhere.

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Look how big those feet are!!

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There is a fruit garden section and this squirrel has grabbed some type of fruit that had fallen on the ground. Looks like an apple or pear. He hit the jackpot with that big piece.

Just a few things on my walk around the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. It was pretty quiet. I had not been there since late December and the grounds looked really nice. A lot of work had been done by volunteers. It’s free to get in so it’s a nice place to stop and walk around for an hour or two. Plus, you might find a few birds there.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Quiet morning walk in early April – Skywatch Friday

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A peak down the “closed” trail. Marsh Rabbit Run trail is closed for the summer due to alligator mating season.

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American bittern sneaking up on a frog (or snake).

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Osprey taking off with a clump of tree moss. You would have thought he was working on a nest but he looked like he was trying to eat it. I guess he realized it wasn’t a fish after all.

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All the way across the lake, the happy couple takes in the view.

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Baby moorhens are starting to pop up everywhere.

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Green on green. Dragonflies are becoming more abundant.

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They were all over the trails.

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Very tiny bug.

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This turtle looks like he’s trying to swim out of water.

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The above weeds(?) were everywhere.

Circle B Bar Reserve is starting to quiet down since most of the winter birds have left. Now it’s full of alligators, great egrets and great blue herons. The highlight of the trip was the baby hawks and the new sandhill crane family. More on those later. And soon the mosquitos will take over the park and I’ll be heading to the beaches for my Saturday morning walks.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Chesnut Park

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I saw the deer way back in the dark woods. She looked up and saw me. I snapped the picture quick and noticed there was a baby with her.

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She started to lead her baby deeper into the woods. I was not going to follow her and spook them. There was a trail that led back there but it was flooded and muddy and I figured I’d just let them have a quiet morning before the joggers and dog walkers took over. These were extremely cropped.

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Practicing my dragonfly shots.

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The edge of the lake was covered in dragonflies.

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A late moorhen family near the boardwalk. The baby got a dragonfly snack from mom.

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The baby seemed to be eating the veggies as well.

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This squirrel had the cutest face. He also seemed to be having hemorrhoid problems. Or maybe it’s a she that just gave birth? She didn’t want to move from this branch so I left her there in peace. 

The first weekend in August was miserably hot. No wind and 100% humidity. I went for a short walk at Chesnut Park thinking there would be a breeze off the big lake. Boy was I wrong. Within minutes I was soaked from sweat. I managed to walk around for about two hours and then headed home for an early lunch. At least I got a good walk in but a nap was in order for later. There were almost no birds even though I keep hearing that fall migration should be starting soon. Back to the beach for a while, at least I can go in for a swim.

Camera Critters

A tale of two lakes

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I caught this squirrel eating right next to the hummingbird feeder.

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The only decent shot I got. I forgot to bring my tripod and even though I had my monopod, the light was awful. The feeder was in the shade so I wasn’t able to get a good picture of the hummer hovering over the feeder.

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Bug on a ball. Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa was quiet on a Saturday morning in late June. So I did what any respectable birder would do. I left and went somewhere else.

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Twin Lakes is not a park. Just a lake at the entrance to a subdivision in what I call is the boonies. This subdivision should win a prize for one of the top birding neighborhood spots in Tampa. Constant traffic, dog walkers and joggers going around this little lake. The first thing I spotted was a baby moorhen.

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A mom and younger baby was close by.

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The baby was getting a bite from Mom. It’s funny to see his little wings go so fast when he was getting his food.

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The above juvenile grackle was chasing after his parent for food.

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I had heard there were baby purple gallinules at the lake. I first saw the adults coming out of the leaves right in the middle of the pond.

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Then I saw three tiny black dots. These are highly cropped taken with my 300mm lens.

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The parents stayed close to the babies.

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Walking around, the parent must have been looking for food.

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The baby is so tiny. He could only be a few days old. There must have been another family with older babies because I had read about them over a week earlier.

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I don’t know what that was she had in her mouth but it didn’t look like food.

Not too bad for a walk around two different parks. Even though it’s summer and hot and not many birds around, there’s still a lot to see out there.

Camera Critters