A hidden gem

I had heard about a small park not too far from my home that had a community vegetable garden and a butterfly garden so I thought I would stop by on the way home from Chesnut Park. As I got out of my car I saw two swallow tail kites cruising right over the park. I thought that was a good sign. One of the kites had what looked like a frog in his talons but he cruised over the trees before I could get a second look.

It was right before lunch and the sun was straight up and hot so there weren’t many butterflies around although the small garden was very pretty.

I saw a juvenile brown thrasher high up in a tree but he was gone in a flash.

A lot of yellow was blooming this morning. It was quiet and hot so I’m thinking I’ll come back when the weather cools off, maybe during fall migration.

Looks like a perfect log to take family pictures or take a break.

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A new bird at Largo Nature Preserve

Mucsovy ducks are having babies at all of the local ponds including Largo Nature Preserve.

This blue winged teal couple was still floating around in late March.

The monk parakeets were flying back and forth getting sticks for their nests. Here they nest in a big utilty complex.

The dead trees near the parking lot were full of residents. The first one had a flicker nesting in it. Every once in a while she would poke her head out. The next tree had a hole that was full of bees. The next tree had several red bellied woodpeckers checking out the holes. They may nest later.

After several stops at this park looking for this ash throated flycatcher that had been seen by other birders for the last few weeks, I finally found it on the 3rd try. Luckily this was a “third time’s a charm” instead of “three strikes and you’re out.” It was hopping around in the trees right in the parking lot catching dragonflies. This was a new bird for me and while it’s not quite as pretty as the great crested flycatcher that we get pretty often around here, it was still a great find.

Walking on the boardwalk around the small lake, I found this nest. I’m thinking it’s a moorhen nest since there are a lot of them on this lake but I didn’t see any near this nest. Assuming it’s abandoned but hoping the parent just left for a quick bite.

My Corner of the World

A new bird in my backyard

My neighbors planted payaya trees on the side of the house and this little phoebe has been hanging out on the fence in front of the trees. I can see him when I’m working in the back bedroom (which for now is my “work from home” room). One day I got up and grabbed my camera and shot the above through the window. He’s gone for the summer now so I won’t see him again until September or October.

Even though cardinals are common, I don’t see them often at my feeder.

A red bellied woodpecker has been coming to the feeder every day. He’s picking out the peanuts. You can see his red belly in the first picture.

For several weeks we had a grumpy looking great blue heron on our dock or our neighbor’s dock.

This duck couple stops by every couple of days. They nap in our backyard.

A new bird to the backyard. I went outside to put food in the feeder early one morning in February and noticed a small bird sitting on my neighbor’s sailboat mast. Once in a while we get an osprey or red shoulder hawk sitting up there but this bird was much smaller. I realized it was a kestrel and ran inside and grabbed my camera and walked out on the dock and he was still sitting there while I took his picture. Then a crow came by and chased him off. I don’t see kestrels often, usually at Fort Desoto so I was surprised to see him here.

Starlings took over our tree right before dark.

Things in the backyard including some weird fungus growing in our mulch after a long rain. We often get small mushrooms in the grass after a rain but this orange thing was a first. Being the nerd that I am, I looked it up and it’s a columned stinkhorn.  It’s common in Florida in mulch beds and it’s suppose to smell horrible if you break it.  Luckily I left it there and it’s gone now. I wonder if an animal ate it.

Pretty things at a quiet place

Pretty things at Bok Tower Gardens in June.

Boring birds at the feeder but not lacking in color!

A quiet place to reflect.

Heading home from Bok Tower Gardens in June, I stopped on a dirt road to get some shots of the swallow tail kite that was cruising over a cow pasture. I’m sure those cows were thinking “What is that girl doing?”.

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Flowers and bugs near home

Flowers on the trail at Possum Branch Preserve.

The fields were covered with these pink puffy plants. And they were covered in bees.

It’s always a nice quiet walk at Possum Branch Preserve. It’s a hidden gem right off of a busy main road but most people don’t know it exists. It never closed down so I’ve been going there for a long walk a few times a week since it’s close to home.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Pretty things in early April

Blooming things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Critters at the gardens.

Baby moorhens are popping up everywhere now.

Yes, the botanical gardens were open during the “Stay At Home” phase. Lucky for me most people must have thought they were closed because there was only a few other people there. Lots of space to move around in.

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Flowers and bugs

Color coming out in early April at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. Yes, the gardens were open during the big shut down. I went around 8am and there were very few people there. Most probably thought it was closed. It was nice to walk around in the quiet garden.

Watching these crazy parakeets getting sticks for their nests.

Not many birds in early April. The usual blue jays and wood duck couples. The wood ducks usually have babies here in the summer but they go into hiding and it’s hit or miss seeing them here.

Caterpillars were on the milkweed but those pesky milkweed bugs were taking over.

My Corner of the World

My favorite tree

I went to visit the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo in early November to see one of my favorite trees. The huge silk floss tree was bursting with pink blooms. It’s weird to see all of these blooming pink flowers in November, even in central Florida.  Even the birds like the tree.

Other flying critters.

A scarecrow was still guarding the pond.

There was a crew there putting up Christmas lights in the trees. It takes them so long to decorate the gardens that they start early.

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Critters and flowers at the botanical gardens

From my trip to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo in mid-June.

I just realized they have a rainbow eucalyptus tree here. I have never noticed it before. Maybe it just recently started showing it’s colors. As the bark peels off, different shades come through.They are not native here but grow well in rain forests.

Photographing New Zealand