A quick stop in the backyard

I’ve had so many birds stopping by in the backyard for a quick bath or drink in early December. Titmouse are regulars. Mockingbirds, cardinals, catbirds and pine warblers have all stopped by. I’ve only had one chickadee stop by (that I’ve seen),  

There’s always a lot of pine warblers coming through.

The Carolina wrens stay on the ground most of the time, digging around under the leaves.

I’ve seen a few downy woodpeckers in the big oak tree outside the window.

This is a dangerous place for a squirrel to take a break. I’ve seen a hawk sitting here twice.

Neighborhood walk in the fog

I peaked out the window in early December and saw the fog.  It was a good morning for a walk in the neighborhood.

The lake across from our home was almost covered in fog. It was cool out but I felt like I was walking through a shower.

Heading down the street I saw this guy cross in front of me. I pulled my phone out and quickly snapped this since I knew he would be gone in seconds.

I got to my favorite open spot and I could barely see the utility towers in the open field. The sun was just starting to come up behind the trees so I knew the fog would be gone soon.

There were some ladies having breakfast in the woods next to the field. I didn’t see them when I was walking to the end but saw them coming back.

SkyWatch Friday

Around the neighborhood.

I went for a quick walk early one morning in early December. I was heading for a pond down from my home and caught this guy flying right in front of me. He was so close I couldn’t get his legs in the shot.

The small pond down from my home was quiet. I only found a mallard couple and a small alligator.

Birds from my window include bluebirds and a pileated woodpecker.

Walking around in my small backyard I could see that my neighborhor’s feeder had lots of bluebirds. It looks like he had changed out the mealworms for a suet. He was also getting woodpeckers and pine warblers.

On another morning walk I found the deer in the open field down the street.

The small camellia bush in front of our garage started blooming. I didn’t realize they bloom in the fall here and it was a nice pop of color in the front yard.

I made some fun nature art with a few of the fall leaves on our patio. Yes we do have seasons here in central Florida. Fall doesn’t really start until early December. The leaves were changing but I had on shorts and a tshirt and was sweating making my fall leaf circle.

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Critters from my yard.

More shots of the little titmouse around my bird bath. I have taken around a gazillion pictures but it’s hard to stop when I’m out walking around. They love to pose for me.

A few other visitors in early November. There are a ton of downy and red bellied woodpeckers in the neighborhood. I’ve seen a few pileated woodpeckers go flying by but I have yet to get pictures of them.

I’ve seen several black and white warblers in my big oak tree.

A yellow throated warbler in the palm tree up against our townhome.

A chickadee looking around under the patio chairs.

This juvenile little blue heron was creeping around the grass. All of the above were taken through the window.

If I stand on the end of my patio, I can see my neighbor’s bird feeder a few houses down from ours. He’s always got birds on his feeder (although mostly blue birds and pine warblers). After taking these and zooming in, I realize he had dried mealworms in his feeder. I only have mixed seed and I’m only getting titmouse at my feeder although I have gotten a few pine warblers as well. I may have to step up my feeder game.

A pine warbler on my feeder (through the window).

I was walking back from getting my mail and this hawk was in the short palm tree next to my driveway. He watched me walk right by him and didn’t move. I ran in and got my camera and he was flying off as I walked out. He flew down to the grass and looked like he was stalking something but eventually he flew to a lightpost empty handed.

After the hawk flew off I realized there was a bluebird on the power line right over my head. It was almost dark at this point but he sat there for a while.

A few more critters in the backyard. The squirrels like to sit on this low palm  tree up against our house while snacking.

Birding in my pajamas.

Titmouse are coming to my backyard bird bath pretty regularly to take baths. I try and hide behind the curtains and take pictures through the window so I don’t spook them.

I’m also getting blue jays and catbirds but they just get a quick drink and leave.

Watching the birds fly around the trees, I saw a dash of yellow from across the yard but almost didn’t look twice because I thought it was a palm warlber. I was able to grab a shot of this hooded warbler with a bug in his beak through my dirty windows. (I have since spent some time cleaning them).

I took the shots of the pine wabler and yellow throated warbler outside early one morning, walking around the trees in the back of our home before work.

Twice I watched this red bellied woodpecker hide nuts in a palm tree. He was getting them from a feeder across the fairway and flying back over to our side and hiding them.

Usual morning birds in the back, a great egret and blue jay.

There’s a ton of squirrels in the yard. One climbed up on the outdoor chair and was watching me in the window. I changed out the bird feeder pole to a much higher one and now he can’t get to the food so he wasn’t happy (although at some point he’ll figure out a way to get up there).

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Waking up on a golf course

The golf course behind our home was closed for maintance the first few weeks we were here. One morning I got up right before the sun came up and went out for a walk. I had been seeing people jogging or walking on the cart path and knew that would all stop once the course opened back up again. I am not a golfer. My husband plays golf (when he has the time which is rarely) and I’ve ridden with him in the cart when he plays when we are on vacation but it was strange to walk out the back door and be on the cart path. I only walked a few holes and passed several ponds and tons of birds. Now the course is open and I can still go out early in the morning and walk along the tree line but need to stay out of the way once the golfers come through (we’re on the 13th hole so it takes a while for them to get to our hole in the morning).

Across the street from our townhome is a big pond (with a few alligators swimming around) and I’ve been trying to catch the sunset here.

SkyWatch Friday

Critters in my new backyard

Behind our new townhome is a tree lined golf course. There’s also a small pond a few homes down. The first week we moved in I went for a quick walk early in the morning before work along the tree line.  I’ve seen several limpkins in the pond so I’m hoping for limpkin babies next summer.

Right outside our home, I found an ovenbird deep in the bushes.

There’s always noisy mockingbirds anywhere in Florida.

Is it Thanksgiving yet? My second turkey sighting in the neighborhood. When we were doing some work on the home before we moved in, we could see several turkeys across the golf course. The week we moved in they were right down the street so I ran and got my camera.

Little birds in the trees. I think these are palm warblers.

A great egret out my back door (taken through the window)

There are palm warblers everywhere. The golf course is full of them on the ground if there are no golfers playing.

A parula out the back door (also taken through the window).

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Critters out the back door

This red shoulder hawk was stalking my cockatiels through the window. I heard Harley starting to scream and ran over and looked out the window and saw this. He was sitting in a low branch right up against the house.  I ran outside and walked right up to him. After picking up a big branch and shaking it at him, he finally flew off. He was not intimidated by me at all. I don’t think he realized he couldn’t get my birds that were inside the house. He came back again the next day and I went back out and shook the big branch at him again and I haven’t seen him since.

I think this squirrel mistook the hanging plant for a bird feeder. He’s looking at me like “Lady, where’s the food?”

I saw the deer from the kitchen and grabbed my camera and ran out to the back porch. The deer were across the fairway and glanced at me for a second before continueing to eat. This was late in the afternoon. They stayed out there until right before dark and then headed off into the woods down the street. It’s a little strange for me to see deer grazing right out my back door.

When I was out taking pictures of the deer, I shot the above of the ibis on the tee. There’s always a ton of ibis on the golf course.

One last walk

I got up early one morning in late September to take my last walk around the neighborhood. It wasn’t my last walk anywhere, just around this neighborhood. After living here for 17 years, we moved about 20 minutes away so Brett could be closer to work and it was time to downsize. It was before the sun came up and a faint rainbow was visible as the ducks flew by. I said goodby to Blondie and her grown babies. I’ll miss those creme colored mallards.

The ducks stopped by the yard days before we moved. It was the last of the bird seed so they were going to have to scrounge somewhere else.

Backyard skies on our last week here. I’ll miss the open sky but we are moving to a heavily wooded area and it will be nice to be in the shade now and see different wildlife. I’ll be posting pictures of the critters near our new home soon.

SkyWatch Friday

Big blobs in the water

I was walking past the sliding doors to the backyard and saw some big black blobs bobbing in the water. I grabbed my camera and ran out to the dock to catch the manatees coming up for air a few docks down in our channel.

To most people it wouldn’t look like much from a distance but you can’t miss that snout coming up for air. And I didn’t even have to get in my car and drive somewhere to see them. I haven’t kayaked in a while but I use to see them in the outer channels or out in the open bay. They rarely get this far into the channels so it was a treat to see them from my backyard. Several neighbors had also spotted them and came out to watch. There were 3 of them, a mom and 2 babies (which were almost as big as mom).

Every once a while you could see a flipper coming up. When the smaller flipper is leaning on the bigger manatee, it usually means the baby is nursing.

It’s easy to spot the big round flat tail that flaps in the water.

I watched them for a while as they just hung out in the channel. I think they must have spent some time nursing because they didn’t move for at least half an hour and they were on the surface more than usual. Eventually they started making their way back out to the bay. Manatees are like dolphins, it’s always exciting to see them out in the wild no matter how many times you see them.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sister, Debbie!

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