The butterfly garden

In early September I went for a walk at Wall Springs Park near Tarpon Springs. I found some mallards swimming around the natural springs area but not many other birds.

The small butterfly garden that’s near the playground was in full bloom, almost overgrown from the summer rains. I keep saying there are less and less butterflies around but I did manage to find a few flying around the bright colored blooms.

Tiny critters at the botanical gardens

I think this lizard was flirting with me at the Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Tiny critters were buzzing around the butterfly garden.

A few of the butterflies in the butterfly garden. I was expecting to see many more than this. I didn’t see any yellow ones. I keep saying I am seeing less and less of them every year. I wonder if it’s all of the spraying that is being done. Spraying for invasive plants, spraying for mosquitoes.

A soft shell turtle swims by under the bridge. I was only able to get his funny shaped head in the shot. He almost blends in with the brown lily pad leaves.

A young moorhen walking around the spatterdock lilies in the pond.

A few of the flowers blooming in early June.

Inspire Me Monday

A two park morning

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.

SkyWatch Friday 

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

 

A trip to Chinsegut.

The bluebirds must nest here at Chinsegut Wildlife Park since there were some very young ones here the morning I visited in mid-May. The 2nd one looks like a juvenile. There were several behind the ranger’s office so I’m thinking next year I need to go earlier and keep an eye out.

It must have also been chickadee day because there were tons of them along the trail. I counted 10 at one point. Not a wide variety of birds here but there were a lot of the few species that were.

This red headed woodpecker couple were following each other around. I think that top one has a snack so maybe the other one was just trying to get the snack. Or, maybe they were still flirting and would be starting a nest soon.

Butterflies were everywhere along the trail. They loved the thistle.

 

The weeds were getting high as the heat was setting in.

I love the trees here but if you walk on the lesser traveled trails, you might get a face full of spider web.

I checked out the other backroom before leaving (they have two unisex ones). This one had an eagle and a great blue heron painted on the wall.

I think this may be my new favortie park. It’s quiet and hardly anyone there early on a Saturday morning. It’s about an hour north from my house but a lot of the parks I visit are at least 45 minutes to an hour so it’s not a bad ride (and I don’t have to get on crazy I4). The park is relatively small (compared to Circle B Bar Reserve where you can walk for 6 or 7 miles) but I like the area. The original owners named it Chinsegut which is an Inuit word for “spirit of lost things”. I don’t think I’ll get too lost though since it’s easy to navigate and there are main roads around it if you walk too far.

SkyWatch Friday

Color explosion!

Since I missed the Sunflower festival at Sweetfield Farms last year, I had to go this year. In late May the zinnias at the farm were in full bloom. While the farm is mostly sunflowers (all boring yellow), I think my favorite part is the zinnia field. So many colors growing in one place. After taking tons of pictures, I went to the “You pick” booth and got some clippers. They were $1 per flower and I got as many as I could carry. One in each color.

The butterflies love the zinnias as well. My favorite part was all of the little flying critters that were landing on the flowers. I could have spent all day here but it was getting hot and I was getting hungry so it was time to pack up.

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Spring migration was a bust

McGough Park in Largo is another spring migration hot spot so I stopped there in late April but all I got was turtles. After walking around for an hour and seeing very few birds I left and headed to Largo Nature Preserve.

Not many migrating birds here either but lots of other stuff. I thought the bottom shot was just a weird looking butterfly but then realized it was two butterflies. Not sure if they were mating or feeding on something but they stayed there for a while.

I caught this osprey cruising by me with a really big stick heading to a nest. What is that saying? “Speak softely and carry a big stick”. This is more like “Fly high and carry a big stick”.

A tricolored heron creeping around in the muck.

A big family and almost grown babies in the bottom shot.

This was the first time I’ve seen black bellied whistiling ducks here, much less any where in Pinellas county so I was surprised. They were on the golf course across the canal.

This lone spoonbill was busy feeding and wandering around looking for the best spot.

As I was walking the path something blue whizzed by. Wait, what was that? Finally, a migrating bird. It was a blue grosbeak and when I cropped this shot up I realized there was an immature orchard oriole with him (the yellow one on the right). The oriole took off and I wasn’t able to find him again.

The blue grosbeak had a lady friend with him (the brown one on the top) and they stayed in the area for a few minutes before taking off across the park.

This guy sleeps under the boardwalk. I took this with my phone but I was on the boardwalk at the time.

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Things blooming in early April

The winter months are my favorite time of the year since the weather is so mild here in central Florida. But, when April rolls around I always think it’s my favorite month. It’s still cool in the mornings and everything is blooming everywhere. The flowers look fresh and haven’t been fried by the summer sun yet.

Even the pitcher plants were blooming.

The little critters were buzzing around.

Painted buntings were everywhere this year.  This couple only stopped at the feeder for a few minutes.

Of course cardinals are always around.

A bunny on the trail at Bok Tower Gardens in early April.

My Corner of the World

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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Getting out in the gardens

Still so many pretty flowers at Bok Tower Gardens in November. The big lily pads were still blooming.

I hadn’t seen any frogs there in several years so I was excited to see this guy in a small pond.

Little flying critters.

I’ve taking a ton of pictures of the bell tower but this was the first time I noticed that there was a calendar carved in the back of the tower. I’m not sue what the lines mean. Has anyone seen this before?

There were still lots of caterpillars in mid-November.

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