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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Just getting out of the house

Was I being watched?  I noticed all of the different art faces that are on on the trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Pretty things blooming in July.

Little critters.

You can usually find alligators, bunnies and turtles at any park in the area.

It was a quiet morning for birds though. I’ve been working from home since mid-March so I’m still trying to get out of the house on Saturday mornings for a long walk even if the wildlife is scarce this time of year.

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A surprise limpkin family

Little critters in the flower beds.

Pretty things around the botanical gardens in Largo including some type of fruit.

In the butterfly garden, the flowers were starting to over-grow in late May.

A Carolina wren watching me take pictures of the bees.

I found a limpkin family across one of the ponds. I haven’t seen baby limpkins in a long time and there were two with this parent. They were still pretty small and stayed close to Mom.

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One last visit to the turtle pond.

The squirrels were getting frisky in late May at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Not many birds at the gardens. A pileated woodpecker and a young moorhen.

Grasshoppers are everywhere right now. They can wipe out a plant in no time. You can see them eating the leaves in both of these shots.

It was a quiet morning at the gardens but I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet so I went for a quick walk at nearby McGough Park and to visit the turtles there. Most of the trails here are very narrow so I stayed off those to keep away from having to pass people. I probably won’t make it back to this park until next spring.

The wooden owl in the parking lot.

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A very cool moth

After briefly seeing a hummingbird moth at the Botanical Gardens in Largo, I went back the next week to see if I could find it again. This time there were several in the butterfly garden. They are amazing creatures, almost fairytale like. Before seeing them here this spring, I had only seen them once before so they are not common. I took a lot of pictures and couldn’t decide on just one or two so I posted my favorites.

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