Wide open space at Myakka State Park

One of the few animals I saw at Myakka River State Park was a deer near the big lake. She was alone and hiding in the shadow.

Closer to the water I could see some black bellied whistling ducks and black necked stilts.

A crow guarding the parking lot.

Myakka Park, just south of Sarasota, is known for having huge gators. And a lot of them although not as many as the Everglades. Timing is everything to see the big ones. They usually come out to sun themselves late in the afternoon. If it’s really hot, they’ll stay in the water most of the day. I was there early in the morning and only saw a few small ones. There is an area in the park that is off limits that has 100’s of them. The “Deep hole” is a 4 mile round trip hike out to where they are hidden but you have to have a permit to hike out there. The rangers give out 30 permits a day and I heard they are all snatched up in the first hour. I keep saying I want to get down there in the winter and hike out the hole but keep putting it off. I think this winter might be the time.

The sun was just coming up over the trees when I headed out on one trail.

This is a huge park with a lot of wide open spaces. I was out on a rare Monday off so there was hardly anyone there.

A pano with my phone of a dried up lake.

SkyWatch Friday

Back on Alligator Alley

Things along the trail including a snack left behind by some bird.

A great blue heron strutting along.

Alligator Alley trail was finally opened after being closed for 2 years. When Hurricane Irma came through in 2017, part of the trail was washed out. The county finally rebuilt the trail and it was great to walk down it after all that time.

The view along the lake.

The marigold were still out in late November, washing the trail in yellow.

SkyWatch Friday

Birds at Lettuce Lake Park

Usual birds at Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa.

A rare bird you only see soaring high in the sky in the summer, two swallow-tail kites were cruising by while I was on top of the observation tower. One looked like he had something in his claws.

It looked like it was part of a duck or maybe a baby bird. These guys snatch baby birds right out of a nest. They eat while they are soaring, mostly dragonflies though.

A cute black bellied whistling duck cruised by as well.

I stopped by the teeny tiny golf ball size hummingbird nest before leaving the park. At first the almost grown baby was sitting alone on the nest. Then mom flew in to feed it.

So many birds….

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Black bellied whistling ducks are a rare sight to see up close. Years ago they would hang out right on the trail and the trees right on the trail would be full of them.  Now you can only hear them whistling off in the distance.


A great blue heron with a snack.




The marsh has been overrun with glossy ibis.


A few Wilson’s Snipes have been seen here. This one was on Alligator Alley Trail.



It’s always fun to see the little purple clowns (gallinules).




Green herons have taken over.

Come of the birds on my recent trip to Circle B Bar Reserve.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

The usual suspects.


Posing great blue heron.


Reflection of a snowy egret.


A lone black bellied whistling duck.


A green heron hiding in the marsh.



A crow was bothering this pileated woodpecker.





Limpkin family along the trail.

My last trip to Circle B Bar Reserve in early June. At least for the summer. It’s too hot on those trails. One of the main trails is closed until September due to alligators nesting close to the trail. I’ll wait until fall migration begins in late September or early October before heading over there again.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Up in the trees and under the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Park


High up in a tree, it looked like this squirrel was eating a leaf.


I found this anhinga up in a tree next to the observation tower.


I heard a wheezing noise and had to look close to find this black bellied whistling duck high up in a tree. His friend was on the other side of the tree facing the lake.


I don’t know what he was looking at. They do the funniest things.


By 9am, when the sun was starting to shine on the boardwalk, it was so hot steam was coming off the rails.


A view of the boardwalk in the shade.


Down below in the water.


A few little fishies swimming by.


A night heron hiding out in the shade next to the boardwalk.


More steam off the rails. I was drenched in sweat 10 minutes after I got to the park. I barely made it to 2 hours walking around.


Reflections in the lake.


Alligator trying to blend in. He was a tiny one.

L Lake

A shot of the main part of the lake from the observation tower. This was taken with my phone since I only had my 70-200mm lens with me. I was trying to travel light this morning.

Another hot steamy Saturday morning walk. Is it winter yet?????

Disappointing visit to Medard Park


Some type of moth on the leaves.




Some animal lost his meal on the boardwalk. There was a pile of half digested berries. The moths were chowing down.


Up close.


A black bellied whistling duck in Florida in July! This is a first for me. I usually only see them at Circle B Bar Reserve in the winter. I guess this one was staying for the summer. He wasn’t alone. Another one was hiding in the reeds.


Tiny flowers in the grass.

It was hot. I had not been to Medard Park in east Tampa in a long time. I had heard the park sprayed to get rid of the apple snails (which I know is invasive) but now the limpkins don’t have as much to eat. I didn’t see a single limpkin which was very disappointing. I also heard the snail kites which have nested there for a couple of summers were gone.  The lake was full from all of the rain. The area around the boardwalk looked different. Almost barren of any wildlife. Maybe it’s just the time of year (although other parks are still pretty busy). Last year I got some of my favorite snail kite pictures at this park. I might have to scratch this park off my list. It’s just too far to drive.

Shine the Divine

Typical and not so typical at Circle B Bar Reserve


Typical green heron. He was not paying attention to me.


Not so typical american bittern. They only visit in the winter and are usually really hard to find. Several other people were watching this one already.


Typical little blue heron with a frog for breakfast.


Typical blue wing teal. These are common here in the winter.


They were trying to sleep.


I think this is a savannah sparrow. Not that typical but not rare.


The very typical black bellied whistling ducks. Looking cute as ever.


Coming in for a landing.


Not typical, my first virginia rail. He was being very allusive hiding in the reeds.


Not a typical bird but a typical squirrel eating. Look at his little fingers holding that snack.

Things were quiet on this late January walk around Circle B Bar Reserve.

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