Peter Rabbit still hanging around long after Easter.
Some different plants growing at the Bok Tower Gardens in early May. The first one is a balloon cotton bush. I would love to have one of these in a pot in my yard but they are not native to Florida. The 2nd one is a type of pitcher plant. I just recently got a hanging pitcher plant and repotted it so we’ll see how that one does.
This tiny black racer ran across the trail in seconds, before I could even get my camera up to my face to take a shot. I found him in the bushes a few minutes later. He was really skittish.
One of the big koi fish looking for a handout.
I’m not sure what these are. They were in a different pond and there was a feeding station next to. Luckily I had a few quarters so I fed them a handful of fish food while I was snapping these with my phone.
One of the many views at the top of the hill near the carillon.
Palm tree reflections in the big pond in front of the carillon.
I always snap a few shots of the carillon when I visit.
Before heading home I took a little road trip to the cow pastures to look for the wild whooping cranes. I had recently heard that one of them had disappeared and had been missing all winter. The one was still there, far out in the pasture. It was sad to see it all alone. I hope it finds a mate soon.
I had not been out to Roosevelt Wetlands since last summer. I forget what a cool small reserve this is. I had heard there were some new birds there so I went for a short walk in early May. The raised trail down the middle of the pond is full of Indian blanket flowers and they were in full bloom.
I immediately saw a bunny right on the trail.
The sun had been up for a while and I could see an osprey sitting on the platform nest ahead of me.
I could hear him yelling as I passed the platform and turned around to see the juvenile staring right at me.
This Momma moorhen was busy with 2 little ones.
There were several young little blue herons along the trail. They were just started to get their blue feathers in.
An adult little blue heron shaking it off.
A least tern flies by.
I also saw several spoonbills.
A kildeer was walking in front of me and then disappeared into the flowers.
I did find those new shorebirds that were here but more on those later.
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 early June and the call went out that Raptor Center of Tampa Bay needed help with some transports. I was ready for a road trip. The above juvenile great blue heron had been injured and needed to go to Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores Beach, just under an hour away. Nancy put him in the tote. I was a little nervous around that big beak. He settled down pretty quickly.
Since the great blue heron took up most of the trunk the almost grown barred owls went in the back seat. There were 3 altogether. Two were siblings and were in the crate while the younger one was in a carry box. These guys along with the bunny below went to the rehabber (Penny) that lives in south St. Pete. The owls are almost ready to be released and Penny will get them ready.
This little cutie sat in the front seat and only barely stirred a few times on the trip.
A few days later a young osprey had fallen out of the nest and could not be re-nested so I drove him down to Penny to raise until he can be released. Nancy told me that all of these osprey growing up on platforms is not a good thing. It’s better for osprey to nest in big trees and then the babies can hop around from branch to branch before flying (just like eagles). Most osprey in Pinellas county now nest on utility towers or platforms placed by utility companies to keep them off the towers. Just like most other counties the over population means so many trees are being cut down for homes and buildings. On platforms the babies start flapping and fall right to the ground. The parents won’t feed the babies once they are on the ground and many of them have some type of injury. The baby was calm in Nancy’s arm even though she managed a few yells before going in the transport box.
Another few days went by and there were more juvenile osprey on the ground. I picked up two of them at Nancy’s (of Raptor Center of Tampa Bay) in Brandon and headed down to Save Our Seabirds in Sarasota. All of the rehabbers are full of birds and they could only take one osprey.
I have been here to visit the sanctuary as a tourist several times but it was the first time to come through the emergency back door. I was able to see the clinic for a few minutes but they were crazy busy so I left to make my next drop off.
It was a beautiful day to be out on the bridges. First coming back on the Ringling Bridge in Sarasota and then across the Sunshine Skyway bridge.
I dropped the final osprey off at Penny’s. She took her out of the crate and she didn’t seem afraid of her at all. If all goes well she’ll be released soon.
Bok Tower Gardens was bursting with color this summer.
I struggled to get a decent shot of the hummingbird. The light was bad but I managed to get the above. It was hot and muggy so it makes it harder to wait to get the hummer in those fleeting seconds of feeding.
It’s hard to ignore the cute cottontail bunnies
The bell tower
After leaving the gardens, I headed to a nearby fish camp to see if I could find any birds. It was quiet the morning I was there but I’m sure on the weekends it’s busy.
I did find two sandhill cranes feeding along the drive in.
Looking out over the lake, it was such a beautiful calm scene. It’s these small hidden places that make Florida special.
We had stacked up the outside chairs next to the hanging plant when we were having the house painted and the squirrel found it really easy to sit there and eat the plant. Half of the purslane plant had been eaten before I realized what was going on and caught him red handed.
This guy visits the backyard occasionally. I call him Notch.
I hadn’t seen a northern parula in a couple of months and then this guy showed up in early August. I was able to get a shot through the window right after it stopped raining.
This young cardinal had caught a lizard.
We had a lot of Carolina wrens in the backyard in early spring when they were nesting and then they disappeared. Then in early August we had a few show up again.
I was out riding my bike with my camera and saw this guy crossing the street. I was able to get a few shots of him with this huge meal before he took off down the creek so I don’t know if he ate it. I would have never thought there were fish that big in the small pond nearby.
We’ve had some beautiful skies in June. This was looking across the fairway before the storm hit.
Later I was peeking out the window and caught this lightning with my phone.
Sunset across the street.
These were all blooming on my neighbor’s wall. We share a courtyard.
I was coming back from the mailbox and this bunny was in our yard. I couldn’t believe he was still there when I went in and got my camera and came back out. I’ve been seeing one every couple of days. I wonder if it’s the same one. I call him Peter.
The usual visitors in the backyard. All taken through the window.
I finally got a shot of a great crested flycatcher. I’ve been hearing them calling for months but they always stay high up in the trees. One morning I was sitting outside and had my camera with me and was able to catch him.
Baby bluebird was yelling at Mom to feed him (or her). Taken through the window, they were far out on the golf course.
I stopped at nearby Folly Farms to see if I could find some hummingbirds in the butterfly garden. I only found butterflies but there were lots of yellow ones which I don’t see often.
I caught this downy woodpecker with something in his beak. It looks like a cocoon. He pulled it out of a hole in the fence.
I stopped at Possum Branch Preserve on the way home. As I headed out on the trail I caught a limpkin flying by and an osprey overhead looking for fish.
The bunnies were still around long after Easter. This one was snacking in the mimosa groundcover which blankets the preserve in the spring.
This goes under “the one that got away”. This was the only shot I got of the boblonk. It was a female. I saw the pair several times from far away as they were flying off. I had seen them here several years ago but was bummed I couldn’t get a decent shot. Hopefully they will stop by next year.
The cedar waxwings were still there, hanging out on the far end of the preserve.