Critters in the yard in January

Brett was in the car, backing out of the driveway on the way to work when he called me. He says “There’s deer in the front yard”. He was afraid if he got out of the car and came back in to tell me they would leave. I went flying out of the house with my camera to see them cruising through our yard and around to the back. This will never get old.

One morning I was walking by the back window and saw a hawk sitting on the bird feeder. Ugh, well that’s not going to get me any songbirds. Again, I grabbed my camera and headed out the door. He didn’t even flinch as I walked up to the feeder. I finally waved my arms at him and he flew over to a nearby tree. I think he was trying to catch some lizards.

A few of the visitors to the birdbath in January. The yellow throated warbler has been hanging out for a while now. He will probably head north soon for the summer.

This looks like a new visitor. I’m not sure what this is. It’s a juvenile. It’s got the beak of bunting or a goldfinch. Or, maybe it’s a house finch? The yellow around the head is throwing me off.

Right before dark as I was closing the curtians I saw this dove sitting on the bird bath every night for a week. It was a chilly week so I was wondering if he wanted to come in to warm up? One night I could see the moon coming through the trees so I ran out and shot the above.

I added sunflower seeds to the feeder and finally got a bluebird on it. My neighbor has a feeder full of sunflower seeds (and one with mealworms) and he always has a lot of bluebirds.

I’m always amused at the antics of the many squirrels in the backyard. I think this one was taking a nap in the sun except he was upside down. He stayed there for a while.

 

Around the neighborhood.

I went for a quick walk early one morning in early December. I was heading for a pond down from my home and caught this guy flying right in front of me. He was so close I couldn’t get his legs in the shot.

The small pond down from my home was quiet. I only found a mallard couple and a small alligator.

Birds from my window include bluebirds and a pileated woodpecker.

Walking around in my small backyard I could see that my neighborhor’s feeder had lots of bluebirds. It looks like he had changed out the mealworms for a suet. He was also getting woodpeckers and pine warblers.

On another morning walk I found the deer in the open field down the street.

The small camellia bush in front of our garage started blooming. I didn’t realize they bloom in the fall here and it was a nice pop of color in the front yard.

I made some fun nature art with a few of the fall leaves on our patio. Yes we do have seasons here in central Florida. Fall doesn’t really start until early December. The leaves were changing but I had on shorts and a tshirt and was sweating making my fall leaf circle.

My Corner of the World

Backyard birds

A bluebird blending in at my neighbor’s bird bath.

This hawk keeps hanging around our yard. I know he can see my cockatiels through the window. I ran outside and chased him off the tree in front of the window but he’s not easily scared. He just flew one tree over to a pine tree. He stayed there for a while watching me take his picture.

As I was taking pictures of the hawk, this red bellied woodpecker landed right above him.

A palm warbler looking for bugs in my hanging plant.

A chickadee close to the window.

Pine warblers are regulars at the feeder.

I’m not sure what this is. Still trying to figure this out. I found it high up in my neighbor’s tree. I first thought a black throated green warbler with that black on his throat but a it wouldn’t have so much yellow on it’s chest. Any ideas?

Watching a squirrel taking a nap through the window.

All in early November.

Critters from my yard.

More shots of the little titmouse around my bird bath. I have taken around a gazillion pictures but it’s hard to stop when I’m out walking around. They love to pose for me.

A few other visitors in early November. There are a ton of downy and red bellied woodpeckers in the neighborhood. I’ve seen a few pileated woodpeckers go flying by but I have yet to get pictures of them.

I’ve seen several black and white warblers in my big oak tree.

A yellow throated warbler in the palm tree up against our townhome.

A chickadee looking around under the patio chairs.

This juvenile little blue heron was creeping around the grass. All of the above were taken through the window.

If I stand on the end of my patio, I can see my neighbor’s bird feeder a few houses down from ours. He’s always got birds on his feeder (although mostly blue birds and pine warblers). After taking these and zooming in, I realize he had dried mealworms in his feeder. I only have mixed seed and I’m only getting titmouse at my feeder although I have gotten a few pine warblers as well. I may have to step up my feeder game.

A pine warbler on my feeder (through the window).

I was walking back from getting my mail and this hawk was in the short palm tree next to my driveway. He watched me walk right by him and didn’t move. I ran in and got my camera and he was flying off as I walked out. He flew down to the grass and looked like he was stalking something but eventually he flew to a lightpost empty handed.

After the hawk flew off I realized there was a bluebird on the power line right over my head. It was almost dark at this point but he sat there for a while.

A few more critters in the backyard. The squirrels like to sit on this low palm  tree up against our house while snacking.

Fun on a farm

I love going to see the sunflowers at Sweetfield Farms in the spring. Not just because there are fields of flowers but there’s also farm animals. They had baby goats when I visited in mid-May. They were so cute They would come right up to the fence and you could feed them hay. The kids were going crazy over them.

It’s always fun seeing the male turkey showing off when the female walked by.

And you know I love chickens.

They also have vegatables that you could pick. I think the zucchini blooms those yellow flowers.

A grasshopper on a leaf. I’m sure it’s not a good thing to have a grasshopper on your farm. Assuming a lot of them would eat through your plants.

I found a bluebird near the edge of the farm.

So many sunflowers. These were some of the smaller ones. More to come on those.

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A two park morning

A bluebird greated me when I got to Felts Preserve in late April. I was still on my quest to look for migrating birds so I thought I would make the drive down south of St. Pete to see if any were here. There are bluebird nesting boxes around the preserve so I wasn’t surprised to see one but I didn’t see any young ones.

There were several great crested flycatchers hanging out on the blue martin bird houses. I wonder if the flycatchers use them. I didn’t see them going in the houses.

There were a lot of indigo buntings hanging around the feeders. Other than the buntings, this spring migration was turning into a bust.

After I left Felts Preserve, I stopped by Sawgrass Lake Park on the way to see if there were any migrating birds there. None there as well but I did catch some tiny flying critters around the small butterfly garden.

A new park for me

For years I have heard about Chinsegut Wildlife Area about an hour north of Tampa but had never made the drive until recently. In mid-April I wanted to go somewhere different so I finally made the trip up north. I got there right when the nature center opened the gates at 8am and was the only person there. For the first hour I had the whole place to myself. I walked over to the dock first and realized that the lake was choking with vegetation. There was only a little water across the lake. The only bird I saw was a hawk cruising around and then landing in the middle on the other side.I had read this small lake was full of water birds this time of year but that must have been old information. Even the little bit of water I could see across the lake didn’t have birds there.

After a quick walk around one of the short trails, I headed over to the nature center to see what birds where hanging around the feeders behind it. The first one I saw was a chipping sparrow.

The usual birds were at the feeder. House finches, doves and cardinals were the only ones. They usually get a lot of migrating birds through here but maybe I picked an off day.

Several red bellied woodpeckers came to the suet.

A lone chickadee.

Looking behind the feeders, I saw a bluebird peeking out at me.

It was a really nice park with tons of trails but I didn’t walk to much since my hip was bothering me. I sat on a bench behind the center for a while and just enjoyed the morning out. I will definately get back in the winter when I can walk a little farther.

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Chesnut Park on a Saturday morning

It was nice to see the deer close by in late February.

Taken with my phone, you can see them wandering around near the picnic area next to the lake.

Usual birds include a bluebird, swamp sparrow, carolina wren (singing his heart out) and a purple gallinule (showing off his big yellow feet).

Lots of color in February (which is really our fall). I’m not sure what the pink seed pods are but I’ve seen the squirrels eat them.

He was so close to the boardwalk that I had to take this with my phone to get him in.

I was leaving the park and saw some vultures fighting in the outfield of the ballfield (no one was playing). I parked and got out to see what they were fighting over. Whatever it was had been cleaned off.

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Blue and purple

I rarely see bluebirds in the parks near my house. I’m sure they are around but I never seem to see them. I didn’t expect to see one singing on a dead pine tree at Possum Branch Preserve. This was a treat watching him pouring his heart out across the marsh.

The lone glossy ibis was still there, showing off his colors in the sunlight.

I looked down in the marsh and saw this. What was this purple gallinule doing?

Then I realized another one was coming out of the reeds and they started playing “leap frog” in the marsh. Those big yellow feet were such a contrast on top of her back. They did it twice before taking off in different directions. By now somewhere in that marsh is a purple gallinule nest. Here’s to hoping to see babies soon.

There’s always a lot of white peacock butterflies and bunnies here.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

 

Random things at Chesnut Park.

Birds at Chesnut Park in early May.  A young great crested flycatcher, a rare bluebird (I’ve heard they nest here but I hardly ever see them), the usual titmouse and a Carolina Wren (this was one a a juvenile).

Plants around the butterfly garden.

No butterflies but a dragonfly in the garden.

A blue gray gnatchatcher sitting on a nest high up in a tree. The nest was smaller than a baseball.  I didn’t see it on my own. Joe, who’s usually there on Saturday mornings with a scope, pointed him out to me.

Animal footprints in the muck under the boardwalk.

The view from the dock. This use to be all water under the dock and now the vegetation has grown all around this corner of the lake so there aren’t any ducks here anymore. There use to be wood ducks, storks and limpkins here, Now I only see moorhens hiding in the leaves.

Photographing New Zealand