The Usual ‘Suspects”

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High up in the tree, the eagle sits.

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So does the turkey vulture but he was showing off.

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“Let’s see who has the biggest wings.”

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Evan  the male anhinga was showing off.

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The cormorant said “I’m outta here.”

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“Maybe she can’t see me behind this big leaf.” said the limpkin.

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The “pretty”pied grebe.

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A young wood stork was basking in the sun.

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“Funny face”

All of the usual birds were at Circle B Bar Reserve in early March.

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Growing up fast

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There were 2 baby eagles on the nest. One was much older and was flapping pretty good. He didn’t appear ready to take off just yet.

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One of the parents brought a half eaten fish.

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Family portrait

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The other eagle watching over the family.

It’s that time of the year. Baby eagles being born all over the Tampa Bay area. The nest closest to my house has produced twins again. The babies are big enough to see from the street so I stopped by on a late Saturday afternoon in mid-February. They seem to be doing well. I’m hoping I can get back over there before they fly away.

Skywatch Friday

Looking high up – Skywatch Friday

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The great blue heron couple are already on the nest. She must be on eggs since there is now always one of them sitting on the nest. This was early December so we should be able to see any babies by mid-January. Last year they had two babies but only one survived.

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After a while, she stood up to stretch.

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She’s either turning over the eggs or fixing that stick that was poking her.

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I found an eagle preening himself high up in the tree.

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Through the moss, he stayed there for a while and then flew off.

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While I was watching the great blue heron nest, the eagle flew back with something in his talons.

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He was heading for a nest with some padding.

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Later I saw this bird flying high up. It’s not a red shoulder hawk or a cooper’s hawk. It looks like a northern harrier from my Stokes Birding guide. If so, it’s a first for me. Or he could be a merlin. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

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Another angle. He took off and this was the last shot I got.

Another beautiful morning at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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A few things at Fort Desoto – Skywatch Friday

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The black bellied plovers are so pretty in their summer feathers.

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This one came pretty close as I was sitting on the sand. The details are amazing. The black through the belly, next is a white border and then mixed black, white and grey feathers.

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Same bird as above but this one hasn’t gotten his summer feathers yet. He may be a juvenile.

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An osprey flies by with some kind of seaweed from the water.

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The famous smokestack family.  They build their nest on top of the old historic smokestack next to the snack shop at the pier. There were two babies on the nest but I could only get a shot of one that morning. His eyes are still more orange than Mom’s and he still has the brown and white spotted feathers.

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Dragonflies are showing up everywhere.

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A grasshopper that blends in with the sand.

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After I left the park, I saw an eagle sitting in the old tree where the original eagle’s nest was before a storm blew it down. I pulled over and snapped a few shots before heading home. They built a new nest on a utility tower right in the middle of the park. I think they had two babies this year but it’s high up and far off the trail and main roads to get a good picture.

Spring migration was winding down so I spent  most of my morning on the beaches instead of the trails. Things were quiet this morning. The highlight was seeing the eagle which is probably up north by now.

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Soon I’ll be flying – Skywatch Friday

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It was a perfect Sunday afternoon in early March. I was standing in a small dirt parking lot next to the farm. The parking area is often used for a riding area so there was dried horse poo all over. At least I wore my old already cruddy hiking shoes. It was late in the day and I think I missed the late meal but the baby eagles were active. Junior was flapping his wings several times. He was just starting to get lift off, practicing for that big day when he finally takes off. It wasn’t this afternoon. I think it was still a little early and he had a little more practicing to do. One parent took off and Junior was screaming “Wait for me.” The parent circled several times and then landed again. Maybe he was showing Junior how it’s done. I haven’t been back since this day. I’m sure by now both kids are flying around even though they may hang out in the area for a while. I stayed for several hours and then it was time to go home and cook dinner. I felt like I was covered head to toe in dried horse poo powder so a long shower was taken before dinner.

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Parent eagle coming in for a landing – Skywatch Friday

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I was standing there waiting for something to happen at the eagle’s nest when I saw one of the parents flying up. For once, I was paying attention and was able to get the above and below shots.

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He looks so majestic with his wings spread out.

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I give this landing a “10”.

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And then he just sat there.

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The baby was yelling for his food.

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“Maybe I’ll try to go get my own food.”

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“Or maybe not just yet.”

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Baby has a little fish tail hanging out of his beak.

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Is he using that hay straw on his beak as dental floss?

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The younger one was sitting patiently while the older one ate first.

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Mom started feeding one of them.

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Baby has a beak full of something.

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One of the parents keeping watch.

Another Sunday afternoon at the horse farm. They were pretty active this afternoon. It was nice and cool and the parents had brought in food early.

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Baby eagle flapping his wings

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Junior is getting to be a big boy (or girl).

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It looks like he’s just figuring out what those big things attached to his body are.

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He looks determined.

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Already looking majestic at just a month or two old.

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He’s trying really hard but not really going anywhere.

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Mom brought in a snack. It looks like she has a piece of fish hanging out of her beak. What is that hiding behind Mom? It looks like another baby. I only saw one baby on my first two trips to the nest. Now, 3 weeks after that first trip when the baby was a fuzzy gray pinhead, I see another one. The second one must have been much younger and stayed down in the nest.

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Look out below on the left! Junior had a little too much fish for dinner.

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On the farm next door, white ibis were snoozing on a big dead tree.

On my 3rd trip to the eagle’s nest back in late February, the baby was big enough to really see. He was sitting up and flapping his wings. It was exciting to see the 2nd baby. He looked just a little behind in size than the first one. Since then, they both have been doing well. More on that later.

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