We were heading into the hot summer so I went for a quick walk at Folly Farms in Safety Harbor. I can sometimes find good shade and a bench to sit on in front of the flowers in the butterfly garden.
I saw a bluebird who had some kind of bee in his beak. He was so cute, posing for me.
I noticed later that there was a bluebird nest box under some small trees in the middle of the butterfly garden. Dad was bringing bugs into the babies. I could hear them peeping inside but couldn’t see them. Dad was going all the way into the box to feed them.
Then I saw a tufted titmouse with something in his beak. It looked like a leaf at first but I think it was a caterpillar that was crunched up.
I saw an adult brown thrasher on a pole near the parking area and when I walked over I also saw a young juvenile on the ground below the adult.
A minute later the adult hopped down on the ground, grabbed a bug and fed his young one while I was standing there. They were not skittish at all.
There’s a lot of eclectic artwork around the gardens and someone had drawn a face on a Mr. Potato Head and stuck it in the ground(I didn’t say it was fine art). A lizard was lounging on his head.
The new 17 foot tall gnome that was being built at the farm. He’s almost finished. It’s hard to get a good shot of him since he sits in the shade.
In late April I made a quick stop at Chesnut Park to see if there were any migrating birds hanging around. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of warblers come through here during migration but the only thing I found was the usual titmouse. They come really close because people feed them here. They come down close to the boardwalk to see if you have snacks. Once they realize you aren’t carrying they head back up to the tops of the trees.
The squirrels are also being fed here so they check you out as well.
I came home and it was still to early for lunch so I hopped on my bike and went for a quick pedal around the neighborhood. The first thing I saw was a bunny. A brown thrasher flew in front of me as I was taking a picture of the bunny. Was he posing for me?
I found a limpkin in the pond down the street from our house in the same spot the limpkin babies were last year. The water was much lower this year and at first I only saw the adult. He was calling to another limpkin that was farther down the creek.
I left my bike in the bushes and followed the creek along the golf course (no one was playing at the time) and saw another adult limpkin far in the woods. I could just barely make out a baby in the sticks. They stayed pretty hidden and eventually worked their way down behind the houses so I couldn’t follow them any farther. I’m assuming they were farther back since the water was a little higher there.
And, a random alligator that I saw in the neighborhood. This was taken with my 300mm lens and cropped so he was pretty far away.
It was late February and I was stopping by the neighborhood eagle’s nest every couple of days. One morning I caught the parent bringing in a fish for breakfast. Now they were just dropping off the food and letting the babies eat on their own.
At least one parent was still hanging close to the nest.
At one point an osprey flew close to the nest and the eagle was yelling at him to leave.
One of the babies was flapping his new wings and you could still see the pin feathers.
Finally, I could get a decent shot of both of the babies sitting up. The younger one seemed to sleep a lot and wasn’t flapping yet.
The kestrel couple landed on the wire nearby.
A few other birds that came by the nest was a phoebe and a brown thrasher.
I could see a red shoulder hawk far away on the other side of the field.
We had a bad storm one night that formed a small pond on the other side of the golf course. Early the next morning I saw a turkey hanging around the newly formed pond. I grabbed my camera and ran out before the golfers came through. These were taken with my 400mm lens and are cropped up a little but she didn’t seem to mind me standing there. She just went about her preening and strutting around.
A limpkin stopped by while I was shooting the turkey.
The usual birds were coming through the backyard in early May. I’ve been seeing the brown thrashers pretty regularly now.
The baby bluebirds were old enough to cruise around the area. They nest in my neighbor’s nest boxes (several doors down, the neighbors have been living there for years so I think the birds are use to using their boxes). This young one was sitting on the feeder pole in the rain.
Another visit from an armadillo and I always take a shot of the squirrels if they are doing something cute. This time he was just sitting back and relaxing.
I looked outside the back window one morning in late April and saw these beauties walking around so I had to run out and get some shots. They were heading off the golf course and into the woods before the golfers come through.
Early one morning I saw this guy and went outside to take this. His face was all muddy. He was in the shade and didn’t stay still so it was hard to get a good shot of him.
I took these outside as well. He was napping on the hanging basket.
Squirrels being cute in the backyard. Taken through the window.
A wasp on the bird bath when I was cleaning it out.
A swallow tail kite cruising along the golf course. I took this through the window as well. I knew he’d be gone by the time I got outside and on the course.
We always have white ibis feeding through.
Several brown thrashers were feeding on the ground for several days. They must be nesting somewhere nearby.
These crows are very annoying. There are several that hang out in the backyard. They usually stay high up in the oak trees but recently they have been coming to the bird bath. They must have found some trash or someone was leaving food out because they were bringing food to the bird bath to soak before eating it. It looked like mostly bread but one day I ran out and chased one off the bath and he had an open pack of cheese crackers that he left as he flew off. I finally dumped the water out for a few days until they left.
We’ve been getting a lot of woodpeckers at the feeder lately. They grab a sunflower seed and take off. The other little birds usually leave when they are on it.
This beautiful hanging orchid plant was blooming in mid-April at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
I love these spikey pods that bust open and are filled with fuzz. I still can’t figure out what these are.
A butterfly had landed high up on this silk floss tree.
Tiny critters in the butterfly garden. There were a lot of monarch caterpillars on the big milkweed plant. I think the bottom caterpillar is an orange barred sulfur butterfly.
Usual birds here are the dove and the brown thrasher.
And of course I can’t walk by and not take pictures of the wood ducks floating around. This time I also saw some on the fence.
A crow flying by with an egg in his beak. Probably a turtle egg.
I stopped at nearby Largo Nature Preserve after leaving the botanical gardens and it was pretty quiet there. I did notice some heads sticking out of holes in some dead trees near the parking lot. A screech owl had been nesting in one. I never made it back here to see if there were any babies. A red bellied woodpecker was checking out the other hole. Probably just started to work on a nest.
It’s always fun to see baby mallards (although with that yellow beak on the Mom, these may be mottled ducks). There were two families at Largo Nature Preserve in early April. One was feeding in the water and the other was walking around on the walking path. They eventually made it down to the water.
The two northern shovelers were still there. They are probably up north for the summer by now.
Looking up in the utility tower I saw a young eagle. I often see adult eagles sitting here but today it was a younger one. Maybe 4 years old? They don’t get a full white head until their 5th year. This one still had a little brown on his. Maybe he was born in the area.
While watching the eagle, a Canadian goose flies by. They hang out on the golf course along the park so it’s not a surprise.
Across the canal a cattle egret had a dragonfly in his beak.
Brown thrashers are common here. This one was singing away.
Night herons can usually be found napping along the boardwalk.
A monk parakeet coming down to the ground to get a snack.
I had heard about a small park not too far from my home that had a community vegetable garden and a butterfly garden so I thought I would stop by on the way home from Chesnut Park. As I got out of my car I saw two swallow tail kites cruising right over the park. I thought that was a good sign. One of the kites had what looked like a frog in his talons but he cruised over the trees before I could get a second look.
It was right before lunch and the sun was straight up and hot so there weren’t many butterflies around although the small garden was very pretty.
I saw a juvenile brown thrasher high up in a tree but he was gone in a flash.
A lot of yellow was blooming this morning. It was quiet and hot so I’m thinking I’ll come back when the weather cools off, maybe during fall migration.
Looks like a perfect log to take family pictures or take a break.
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.
The usual things to see at Possum Branch Preserve.
Alligators are also usual things there. That alligator in the first one thinks that grass is hiding him. That alligator coming up behind him knew he was there.
There were no spring migrating birds feeding in the mulberry tree but the woodpecker was getting his fill.
This female red winged blackbird had 2 snacks, a caterpillar and a dragonfly.
Another usual suspect here is a brown thrasher.
Not a usual suspect in the mulberry trees right before I left. A small flock of cedar waxwings landed on the back side of the tree. I’ve seen them here once before several years ago. It was hard to get shots of them on the back side of the tree that backs up to the pond full of gators. Standing under the tree I could see several at the top with their faces covered in berry juice. They are such an elegant bird, always so clean. I felt like I should have offered them a napkin but I left them to their mulberry buffet.