Saturday morning at the botanical gardens

Pretty things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo at the end of May.

Little critters.

Squirrels were busy eating fruit all over the gardens.

The squirrel in the two bottom pictures were eating the above. A lychee tree.  My husband grew up eating his Mom’s homemade lychee ice cream but you don’t really see it here in central Florida.

A very young titmouse was following Mom around. She was trying to get him to feed himself but he just kept yelling for her to feed him.

A green heron creeping along a branch in the parking lot.

The sun coming through a papaya tree.

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Butterflies are free to fly.

I was so excited to see a hummingbird clearwing moth at the Florida Botanical Gardens in late May. They are really cool looking with that tail that looks like a brush. They hover and feed just a like a hummingbird but are much smaller and hard to spot.

There were so many butterflies there as well but not a large variety of them.

“You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away
High away
Bye bye”  Elton John

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Color and babies

Random things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

There wasn’t many birds when I was there in late May. You can always find brown thrashers there but the kestral was the first time I had seen one here.

After leaving the botanical gardens, I headed over for a quick stop at Largo Nature Preserve to see how the flickers were doing. I got there right as Mom was feeding the babies. I love that flash of red on the back of Mom’s head.

Mom left and the babies kept poking their heads out of the hole. This was probably right before they fledged.They looked fully grown at this point.

The red bellied woodpecker was still hanging around the hole in the tree next door. They will probably nest later in the summer.

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Butterflies and turtles.

You can usually find butterflies here in central Florida all year but in early March the gardens were full of them at the Florida Botanical Gardens. Lots of colors fluttering by.

It was a quiet birding morning. The highlights were a pileated woodpecker across the pond and a cute grebe not acting skittish.

This guy ignored me while he ate his breakfast.

After a walk around the gardens I stopped at the nearby McGough Park to visit the turtles. I thought the ones above were kissing but I think it’s just the angle.

Turtles were everywhere. On the grass and climbing on the rocks.

A shot of the turtle pond with my phone.

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A two park morning

The Florida Botanical Gardens was very quiet in late January (as it should be). It was cool out and was really looking like winter. Only a blue jay and brown thrasher made an appearance.

Heading over to nearby Largo Nature Preserve, I happen to see some drama going on with the muscovy ducks. A male intruder was trying to mate with a female who had a mate right beside her. The boyfriend tried unsuccessfully to run off the intruder. After the intruder mated and left, the female’s mate mated her as well. She was having a rough morning.

A pileated woodpecker pair were doing some damage to this utlity pole. Maybe working on a new nest? You can see the male has a red stripe on his cheek.

Lots of plants blooming at both parks.

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Funny and pretty at the botanical gardens

I was walking around the Botanical Gardens in Largo in late December and a small flock of monk parakeets flew right into the trees over my head. They spend a few minutes feeding on the seeds and anything else they could find up there. It was funny to watch them hopping around and hanging upside down.  A few minutes later they all started screaming and took off. All was quiet again.

Across the gardens I could see an osprey flying into his nest with a small fish.

The milkweed bushes were still full of caterpillars. The weather had been mild and warm up to this point.

You can always find butterflies all year long here in central Florida.

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Pretty things in November

I always love coming around the corner on the sidewalk and seeing the big burst of pink in the air. The huge silk floss tree at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo blooms in the fall. I was there at the end of the blooms but there were still some left on the tree and the fruit was starting to come out. I could also see a parakeet high up in the tree.

Other plants at the gardens.

The giant milkweed plant was covered in caterpillars in the middle of November. This was before it was starting to get cold so I hope these guys all made it through.

It was a quiet day for birds.

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Tiny critters at the botanical gardens.

The big huge milkweed plant at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo was covered in these icky bugs. I didn’t see any caterpillars in early October on the plant which is usually filled with them. I know it’s late for caterpillars but there are usually still a few. It’s warm through December here. I hope they don’t kill the plant.

A few other small critters creeping around the gardens.

There were still lots of swallowtails flying around.

The young wood ducks were starting to get their colors in including that young male hiding behind the big leaf.

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Hot and muggy at the botanical gardens

I found a green heron hiding in the bushes.

I think this is a 5 lined skink. I don’t see them often.

Butterflies were everywhere back in early August.

The butterfly garden was pretty overgrown at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo in early August. It was hot and muggy. After walking around the gardens for a while I thought I would just go hang out here and take butterfly pictures but after a few minutes and shots, it was just too hot so I headed home.

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