Getting up close with some fun feathered friends at the Tampa zoo.
A wild blue heron was sitting on a nest. I was checking to see if any babies were hatched yet in early April in the rookery at the alligator exhibit at the zoo but all of the moms were still sitting on eggs.
Willet, laughing gull, oystercatcher, young blue heron and cormorants can all be found along the water at Davis Islands, a small island next to downtown Tampa.
Loggerhead shrikes are most prevalent there. They were in the bushes next to the boat ramp, in the trees that lined the yacht basin and on the fence that lined the airport. The ones on the fence were a parent and young one that was still being feed.
Mangroves line the yacht basin and the sea grapes in were in full bloom.
At first glance, there aren’t a lot of birds at the south end of Davis Islands where the small private airport and yacht basin meet up. There are lots of bicycles, joggers, walkers, and dog walkers along the road, most are not paying attention to the birds. People look at me like “Why is that girl staring up in the tree?” When you look along the shore line and up in the trees you see lots of things.
The wild blue herons and tricolored herons were just starting to build their nests over the alligator exhibit.
A zoo resident stork was sitting on a nest. By nature, she’s covered in flies. When she moved, they would buzz around.
A resident flamingo splashing around.
Two “head banger” birds in the aviary.
Up close with manatees at the manatee hospital pool there. These are all injured manatees that are in rehab at the zoo. Most of them get released when they recover. (taken through the glass with my phone).
Late in the afternoon, all of the deer were napping deep in the woods. I could see a few of them from the boardwalk but they were trying to hide.
A little blue heron walking around near the boardwalk.
A lone ring neck duck in one of the smaller ponds.
I was looking around the boardwalk for gators and saw the above instead.
Furry faces in the trees.
The cypress trees are starting to turn.
A hawk on the way home.
I stopped by the horse farm on the way home to see if the eagles were back. They abandoned the nest in the old tree last year and did not have babies. Some say the old dead tree was rotting and about to fall over and that’s why they left. Most think it was due to new houses that were going up around the horse farm. The farm was surrounded by trees and last winter a developer came in and wiped out all of the tree and started a new neighborhood. I didn’t expect to find them and was thinking they were gone forever. As I was driving out a different way, I saw the above on a utility tower. There’s an old osprey nest in the tower. Only time will tell if they take over the osprey nest and have babies here. It’s sad to think they are out of that great tree but at least they would still be having families.
In the morning, I saw this great blue heron on my neighbor’s dock.
Later in the afternoon, he was sleeping on our dock.
Every once in a while he would look around. I call him Mr. Grumpy Face.
Back to sleep.
The neighborhood osprey was back again with lots of annoying visitors.
A ring billed gull sat across the boat lift from the osprey. Watching his every bite.
That’s a big fish. I don’t know why he wouldn’t share.
Then a kingfisher landed on the same side.
The kingfisher took off after a few minutes when he realized the osprey wasn’t giving up his lunch.
Then a few minutes later, a little blue heron starts to bother him.
Not in my backyard but in my in-laws front yard. A screech owl has been sleeping in the roof overhang on the corner of their house. He’s there sporadically. I finally put my camera and long lens in the car on Christmas day and was able to get the above when we pulled into the driveway. I think we’re going to have to name him.
All of the above except for the last picture were taken through the bedroom window during Christmas week.