Splish splash in the bath

The little hermit thrush has been stopping by the bird bath most days. He always shows up late in the day, sometimes right before dark. A quick drink and dunk and he’s gone.

Even though the weather was cold in mid-January, all of the usuals stopped by for a bath.

My first robin in the backyard. He was all alone and at first he hung out at the bottom of the oak tree.

A little while later I caught on the bath. He has stopped by several times now for a bath.

This red/yellow finch has been a regular for a while.

I’ve been seeing this young little blue heron often. Sneaking around looking for bugs.

My Christmas cactus finally started blooming around mid-January. A little late but still pretty.

 

Sulking in pain in the backyard

More of the usual visitors in early January. House finches, goldfinch and lots of pine warblers. Red bellied woodpeckers show up every day.

Also the same birds at the bird bath but now we have a lot of yellow rumped warblers visiting as well.

A downy woodpecker was giving me a “Why haven’t you taken down your Christmas lights yet” look. I had some green lights wrapped around our two short trees in the backyard that finally got taken down.

The lone hermit thrush showed up again.

I’ve been sticking close to home for a while now. In a cruel twist of fate, just as I was started to head out on hikes with my longer heavy lens and camera after my shoulder surgery, I developed a nasty case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot with severe heel pain. It’s been going on forever, almost 6 weeks and is taking forever to heal. I’m doing all of the standard stuff to help it heal but it’s being stubborn. Any one ever had to deal with this? Any words of wisdom? I’m icing it, rolling the ball on my foot, sleeping with a plantar boot, stretching, etc. I’ve always worn orthopedic shoes and slippers. On a fun note, I’ve been seeing lots of interesting things in the backyard.

Inspire Me Monday

Around the yard

Usual birds at the backyard feeder in early January. It’s rare to see another bird on the feeder when a woodpecker is on there. Most of the little birds scatter when a woodpecker flies towards it.

The bluebirds are now regular visitors and keep checking out the nest box.

Goldfinches show up about once a week.

A dove and a black and white warbler hiding in the bushes.

My husband asks why the hanging plant isn’t blooming. It’s because the squirrels keep eating the blooms. I’ll never buy another purslane plant again. They have stripped this one clean.

One of the many alligators in the neighborhood. I caught this guy on my bike ride.

Ibis were sleeping in the trees over the alligator.

This wood stork was sitting along the lake across the street from our house.

Two new birds in the backyard

Two new birds in the backyard (although I’ve seen them both before somewhere else). Two brown headed cowbirds stopped by but didn’t stay long. A hermit thrush has become a regular visitor since early December.

An eastern phoebe has stopped by a few times this winter. I caught him taking a bath one morning.

Regular visitors include a black and white warbler, cardinals (who are usually shy and don’t come out in the open but I caught this one on the bath) and bluebirds.

Every few weeks a yellow throated warbler stops by. He usually hunts for bugs in the small palm tree next to our house. I went outside to get these since he was hiding under the palms.

I heard her before I saw her. I heard the pileated woodpecker’s loud scream as she flew into our oak tree. I snapped this quickly through the window before she took off.

I went outside to get this shot. Actually, I went out to try and shoo him away from the window and took my camera out with me. He is not easily scared. I’m glad he hangs out in our corner of the neighborhood but I don’t want him too close to the window where Buddy and Harley stay (in the sunroom).

A young little blue heron that hasn’t lost his white baby feathers yet.

I’m glad I put that nest box up so the squirrels can nap on it.

Things blooming in the backyard in late December.

Inspire Me Monday

A 3 park morning.

It was early December and I was ready for another morning out with my camera. My first stop was the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. I ended up only taking a few pictures while I was there. I was busy looking for birds of which I found none.

I left the gardens and stopped at nearby McGough Park to see if there were any birds there. No birds but a lot of other critters. The bees have taken over this owl nest box.

A few of the turtles in the turtle pond.

Some of the permanently injured animals that live here (the nature center here houses animals that cannot be released back into the wild). Both owls had injured eyes.

On the way home I stopped at the Largo Nature Preserve and did find a few birds here.  You can usually find limpkins along the boardwalk here and they are use to people walking by. This one was sitting on the railing and made no attempt to move as I walked by. This is not cropped.

Not surprised to find the usual birds here. A blue gray gnatcatcher, a black and white warbler and a yellow rumped warbler.

Another usual bird, a pine warbler, was pigging out on caterpillars. He ate several while I was snapping and I was lucky enough for him to show them to me.

The usual visitors

Usual critters in the backyard in late October into early November. Bambi was still hanging around the backyard. Her spots were completely gone by this time.

Another visit from the usual winter visitors. A black and white warbler, bluebird, red bellied woodpecker and a house finch.

I saw this pine warbler hopping around our patio, mostly hiding under the chair.

Another visit from an immature indigo bunting. Maybe they like my backyard. It would be nice if they would come back in April when they are all blue.

Doves don’t get a lot of attention but they do have cool pink feet. And, they always pose so nicely for me.

Visitors at the feeder include a red bellied woodpecker, bluebirds, chickadees, a downy woodpecker and blue jays.

Sitting outside staring up in the trees, looking for birds. I don’t sit out here often because the birds disappear when I go outside. Only the titmouse and chickadees will come to the feeder if I’m out there. Also the mosquitoes will attack even with bug spray on so until this recent cold spell it’s been really buggy out there.

In the yard

In mid-October I had some migrating birds stop by the backyard. Black and white warblers were common here last winter but this was the first time seeing house finches in the backyard.

I saw my first ever worm eating warbler in the backyard. Over the years I had heard of one being reported twice in the Tampa Bay area but I could never find them. I was pretty excited to see him bouncing around near the bird bath. He stayed close under the big palm leaves on the ground and then later disappeared.

Common birds to the backyard are catbirds (I get a lot of them in the winter) and red bellied woodpeckers.

A house finch with just a little red on his head stopped by the feeder.

I’ve had an almost grown baby coming through the backyard alone. When I first saw her in mid October, you could still see the spots on her hind legs.She was all alone. I don’t know what happened to her Mom but I was thinking she was old enough to be on her own.

For several weeks she would come by every afternoon and hang out in the back, feeding and napping. I took all of these through the window because I was afraid I would spook her if I went outside. She saw me in the window though. She would take a quick nap up against my neighbor’s oak tree.

Our hibiscus bush in the front yard has been blooming for a few weeks. I took this with my phone.

A quiet morning out.

It was a gorgeous morning to be out on the beach in early April.

Far out in the water I could see a willet with a snack.

Terns were cruising by.

Laughing gulls were pairing up.

The rare kittiwake was still on the pier, a week later than when we first found him.

I still kept seeing the same warblers on the trails, a hooded and a black and white. I kept telling myself it was still early for migration here.

After a quiet morning at Fort Desoto Park I headed home but not before stopping by Possum Branch Preserve for a quick walk. Two red shoulder hawks were sitting on the big dead snag outside of the preserve. I guess the hawks are pairing up as well.

A green heron trying to hide in the marsh.

It was pretty quiet at this park as well. I started taking pictures of butterflies since they are starting to be more plentiful. At least I got a good walk in before heading home for lunch.

Inspire Me Monday

Early spring migration at Fort Desoto

It was a beautiful morning when I got to Fort Desoto Park in early April. I stopped by the East Beach turnaround to get a shot of the sun coming up over the bay. I had high hopes for seeing some migrating birds that has stopped by but it was still a little too early for spring migration. Last April we had a really slow migration with hardly any birds stopping by so I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat.

A pileated woodpecker was the first bird I saw, high up in a tree.

A hooded warbler and a black and white warbler with a snack. Normally I would be excited but I had  just seen both of these in my backyard.

There were at least 3 prothonotary warblers in a big bush in front of the water fountain being very cooperative. It was the only other migrating bird we saw that morning. There were a lot of people out looking. Again, it was still early in the month.

An opsrey was eating a fish in the tree behind the prothonotary warbler. I had to take a shot before heading to the gulf fishing pier for a quick walk before heading home.

I got to the fishing pier and saw the reddish egret that has the white wings fly by.

There were a lot of birds at the little beach next to the fishing pier. The usual gulls, terns and oystercatchers.  But there was something else that looked different.

A rare kittiwake was sitting there with the other birds. After a while I realized a ton of people were at the pier taking pictures of him as well. This is only my 2nd kittiwake sighting. Back in 2013 I was able to see the immature one at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge fishing pier. I had heard there was one seen in 2017 and this was the 3rd sighting recorded in Pinellas county ever. People were phoning and texting friends and by noon a big crowd had formed.  Everyone gave him space and stayed off the beach area. They even stopped tourists from walking through the area. Twice he took off and flew down the pier and came back on the beach.

Laughing gulls were fighting over stolen bait fish (the one on the left has one in his beak).

A boat cruises by the lighthouse on Egmont Key.

SkyWatch Friday

Backyard birds in March

Black and white warblers hanging around the bird bath.

The first time seieng an Eastern phoebe in the backyard here. We had one that spent the winter in our backyard in Tampa.

Chickadees are regular visitors in the yard.

Other regulars include cardinals, pine warblers and Carolina wrens.

A woodpecker taking off with a sunflower.

Bluebirds only stop by for a few minutes. One was sitting on the top of the feeder but they don’t get food from the feeder.

A squirrel being cute.

My Corner of the World