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.

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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

Funny faces at the petting zoo

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The pig slept and the donkey snorted at me.

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The top chicken was giving me the stink eye. The bottom one was too busy picking at his feet.

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The cormorant and bluebird are wild birds just stopping by for a visit. The finch was an escape bird that didn’t really want to leave.  He just sat on the top of the cage.

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Pretty fungi in the parking lot.

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A house down the street from the horse farm had a small pond in the front yard and robins had taken over.

Some shots from Horsepower for Kids.

More birds from Arizona

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We saw dark-eyed junkos everywhere we went.

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I saw Steller’s jays everywhere but it was tough to get a decent picture. They were really skittish.

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Ravens were also everywhere. I don’t see them around my area in central Florida. They are like the laughing gulls of northern Arizona. Always in the tourist areas, loud, they come flying in when they see food.  They are much bigger than our fish crows.

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Looks just like our eastern bluebird but I was in the west. All About Birds says that western bluebirds have more rust in their throat than eastern ones.

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Our squirrels in Florida don’t have that rust streak on their back.

Some of the “wild” things we saw at Bearizona in northern Arizona.

Eagles nest at the farm

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Both babies are about the same size now.

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One is flapping a little more.

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I think they were fighting over scraps.

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The parent looking around. The babies were on the other side of the tree trunk on the right.

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It’s a big nest.

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This is the 2nd time I’ve seen bluebirds hanging around near the nest. I didn’t see any last year. They’ll be leaving soon to head back up north.

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The lone baby chicken is getting big. I was glad to see it doing well.

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This horse was very friendly.

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There were several other people there watching the eagle’s nest on my most recent trip and this horse wanted attention.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon so I decided to stop by the eagle’s nest one more time to see how the big babies were doing. They were pretty big at this point. They looked to be the size of the parents. One was already flapping his wings pretty good. It’s peaceful there  and I like seeing all of the peacocks and chickens running around. I took a ton of pictures on this trip since the weather was so nice and the birds were pretty active. I’ll post more later.

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Flappers and jumpers at the botanical gardens

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This bluebird was singing pretty loud on a light post.

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I don’t know what this is. It flew onto the same post as the bluebird above. At first I thought it was a juvenile bluebird but that beak looks different. Any ideas? Cobb?

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My first “male” goldfinch.

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Wet robin with a berry in his beak.

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Catbird on a chain.

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House sparrows hanging out on a nest box.

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Upclose with a frog.

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Cool frog in one of the fountains.

Just a few critters I saw on my walk around the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The bluebird was a plus since I rarely see them in central Florida.

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Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for