All kinds of critters.

Tussock moth caterpillars are fairly common in late March but I’ve never seen this many at one place. I usually only see one or two. At the Florida Botanical Gardens the boardwalk was full of them. I tried to keep my distance as I was taking pictures of them. While they are pretty and cool looking, they can leave a nasty rash if you brush up against them. I kept checking to make sure one hadn’t fallen on my backpack.

They turn into these coccoons before turning into a moth. The leaves on the palm trees around the boardwalk were full of these as well.

White peacock butterflies are very common but I think they are pretty.

After leaving the botanical gardens I headed to nearby McGough Nature Park to look for migrating birds. I first stopped at the turtle pond and saw two turtles climbing a tree. They got about half way up before heading back down.

I also watched this raccoon climb up a tree and then head back down.

The bottle brush trees near the entrance were in full bloom. I stopped to snap this butterfly and then heard the faint sound of hummingbirds whizzing by.

There were 4 hummingbirds feeding on the two trees. They were only feeding on the back side that hangs over the lake so it was a challenge to get them feeding. They would rest high up on the front and then go back to feed.

After standing there for an hour I only got the above two shots of them feeding. It was very frustrating to watch them fly to the back of the trees and disappear.

They have several resident injured birds that live on the property, all taken care of by volunteers. This barred owl was watching his person talking to him. He seemed to understand every word she was saying. They were sitting outside in front of the turtle pond.

It was still a little early for migrating birds so I didn’t find any of them.

Christmas in the gardens

Two of the big trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Some of the fun decorations I saw.

I thought these were cool and maybe I could do them myself. I could use some of the pine cones in my backyard and add some ribbons and some of my balls since I didn’t put up a tree this year but here it is, a few days before and I still have done it. Maybe next year.

They have some cute critters that are wearing fun holiday outfits.

I walked over to Heritage Village next door but they had minimal decorations on the historic houses.

SkyWatch Friday

Flashes of pink and green

I barely made it to see the silk floss blooms this year. The silk floss trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens bloom in late September and I didn’t make it there until mid-October but there were still a lot of pink blooms on the tree in the parking lot. I was taking some close up shots of the beautiful pink flowers on the low hanging branches when I saw a flash of green go by.

I heard the loud squawking near the top of the tree and realized that several monk parakeets had landed in the tree.

They spent quite a while eating parts of the flower. They seemed to be eating the bottom part of it where the seed is but they were also playing around with the pink petals. It was so much fun to watch them eating for a while. It was a challenge to get a clear shot since there were so many branches in the way and the light was terrible.

Stepping back and taking this shot with my phone, you can see how big the tree is but this one is much smaller than the one behind the visitor’s centor. There were only blooms left on the bottom half of the tree.

My Corner of the World

Color and turtles in October

Yellow and orange from my trip to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo last month.

The large cactus in the front of the gardens had big blooms on them . The details inside the bloom are amazing. The cactus also had this big pink ball which I assume are the blooms before they open up. Or, maybe they are the seed pod after the bloom dies off?

Little critters. Bees had taken over that bird house.

I found another face in the tree along the boardwalk.

I stopped by and said hello to the resident wood ducks.

After leaving the botanical gardens, I stopped at McGough Park to see if there were any fall migrating birds. I didn’t see many birds but the turtle pond was full of turtles taking a sun nap.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

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

My Corner of the World

 

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic