Wild hogs hiding in the bushes. Not sure where the term “pigtails” comes from?
One of the main trails, Alligator Alley, was finally back open after closing in September of 2017. When Hurricane Irma came through, the trail was washed out and a lot of damage was done to that part of the park. The raised trail across the marsh was finally rebuilt and it was great to walk down it again in late January.
Out on the dock you could see the bald cypress trees going bald for the winter.
The blue-gray gnatcatchers have invaded us for the winter. They are everywhere. They are easy to hear and spot. They have a very distinct high pitch and are constantly on the move so you can see them bouncing from branch to branch. I have a ton of pictures of these little birds and always say I’m not going to take any more but they are so cute. There were a few at Lettuce Lake Park recently that were very accommodating that came very close to the boardwalk and posed for a few seconds at a time. Any blue-gray day in a park is a good one.
A rare yellow billed cuckoo was the star of the day. I had seen one once before at Circle B Bar Reserve but there were many birders there that had their first sighting of one. He was high up in the tree but everyone was able to get a good shot.
The one of many palm warblers that hang out here in the winter.
White eyed vireos will be common to spot this winter.
I was told the two above were Nashville warblers. Can anyone confirm?
A brief glimpse of a Tennessee warbler.
My first Philadelphia Vireo. He was hanging around the cuckoo.
“We got fall out!” was the term used on the bird forums. Fort Desoto Park was covered in birds that had stopped for a rest on their way south for the winter in early October. I got to the park around 8am and many people already looking up in the oak trees at the picnic area. I spent several hours taking tons of pictures and had “warbler neck” from staring straight up into the trees for so long. A nap after lunch got rid of that. It’s not often you get a day where you can stand under a tree and see so many different birds.
I always say I’m not going to take any more pictures of blue-gray gnatcatchers. But they are so cute and this one posed for just a second.
Snowy egret standing next to the moss. He was screaming “Doesn’t this look like a Florida picture?”
The nest motel tree in the middle of the lake. The great blue heron on the right was bringing sticks to the one on the left. They were working on a nest. There were also cormorants sitting on nests in the same tree on the other side.
Why do the little birds always bother the big birds? This hawk was sitting there minding his own business and the black bird started to dive bomb him.
One of the sandhill crane couples walking through the marsh. I have since heard they were on a nest.
This great egret is just starting to get his green breeding feathers around his beak.
This male anhinga is also starting to get his breeding colors around his face.
Soon the eastern phoebes will be heading north for the summer. I’m going to miss seeing them around the intersection of Marsh Rabbit Run trail and Heron Hideout trail.
What a life these guys have. Sleeping the afternoon away in the sun.
The caterpillars were out.
A Saturday morning walk around Circle B Bar Reserve in late February.
I found a sleepy yellow crowned night heron snoozing in a tree along the boardwalk. He was sleeping right next to an empty nest. Hopefully, he’s planning to use it soon. He was looking pretty grumpy.
Yes, another blue-gray gnatcatcher.
Female red-winged blackbird in the bush.
Another one on the ground along the boardwalk.
Yellow rumped warbler posing for me. Why are these the only ones that like to show off?
Pretty green feathers on the male mallard. Mating season has begun.
I found this lone female hooded merganser hanging out with a mallard couple. She was asleep on my first lap around the park. She was just floating along the creek.
On my 2nd lap around the park, she was awake and watching me.
She started to dive for food and did not seem to care if I was around.
I’ve been by the golf driving range in Largo a million times. I did not realize there was a park behind it. It’s a small park but has a nice layout. On one side is the driving range. Another side has a small creek with a golf course across from it. The third side is the same creek around the bend with houses across from it. There are several paved paths and a nice boardwalk around a very small pond. It was cold the morning I headed over. Practically freezing here at a chilly 48 degrees! But, the sun was out and it warmed up fast. I had heard there were cedar waxwings hanging around the park. I saw them there but they were far away on the other side of the creek into the sun. I walked two laps around the park and saw them later fly overhead. Off into the yonder. Oh well, I’ll try to head over there again before they leave for spring.
The trees and bushes at just about any park I visit right now are full of blue-gray gnatcatchers. They migrate down for the winter and don’t stay put for a second. They flit in and out of bushes so quickly. You can usually find them pretty easily from their constant movement. I was able to catch a few of them sitting still for a second on a recent trip to Circle B Bar Reserve. Such a cute little bird!