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.

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A great blue heron with a snack.

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The marsh has been overrun with glossy ibis.

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

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

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Green herons have taken over.

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

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The usual suspects.

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Posing great blue heron.

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Reflection of a snowy egret.

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A lone black bellied whistling duck.

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A green heron hiding in the marsh.

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A crow was bothering this pileated woodpecker.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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A view of the boardwalk in the shade.

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Down below in the water.

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A few little fishies swimming by.

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

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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.

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Reflections in the lake.

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

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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

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Some type of moth on the leaves.

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Leftovers.

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

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Up close.

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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Typical little blue heron with a frog for breakfast.

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

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They were trying to sleep.

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

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

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Coming in for a landing.

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

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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.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention  for 

Not just black bellied whistling ducks.

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My first ever fulvous whistling duck sighting. These ducks are fairly rare here but this little family has been hanging around the reserve for a while now. I finally found them, way out in the marsh. They sound like black bellied whistling ducks but don’t have the pink beak.

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“Hey Bob, is that a plane or a hawk up there? The sun is in my eyes and I can’t tell.”

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“Baby limpkin, you’re in the wrong place. Your family is over there on that pile of reeds.”

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“Don’t take my picture yet. I have a bug on my bottom.”

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“It’s time for duck yoga.”

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“Do we look like we want to do yoga right now?”

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“It’s time for a nap.”

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“I gotta itch.”

DSC_8988“Should I jump?”

The black bellied whistling ducks are back in full force for the winter at Circle B Bar Reserve. As I walked down the trail I could hear them whistling all across the marsh on both sides of the trail. They were at corner of Heron Hideout trail and all the way down Marsh Rabbit Run to Wading Bird Way. It’s weird that they only stay on that side of the reserve. I haven’t seen them down Alligator Alley before. There’s just as many alligators on Marsh Rabbit Run trail. I’ve looked for the fulvous whistlers several times and finally found them. They were across a pond in the marsh so the first picture is extremely cropped. I’ve never heard of them being seen anywhere else in central Florida. I hope they stay for the winter.