The beach has reopened.

On the trail at Fort Desoto. A butterfly and some kind of fruit that I have never noticed before. The red really stuck out in all of the green right on the trail.

A snowy egret trying to steal a snack from a fisherman.

Some of the birds near the fountain includes a loggerhead shrike, a female summer tanager and an ibis.

Dolphins were swimming around the pier.

Looking across the lagoon, lots of different shorebirds. The  middle shot has black skimmers in the front and the bottom picture shows red knots.

It was the first week in May and the park had just recently opened. I got there early and was leaving before 10am and shot this from the pier. The beach was filling up fast. Time for me to head home.

SkyWatch Friday

Parks close to home

A quick early walk at Chesnut Park in early May. The park started to get crowded pretty quickly so I left and headed out to another park close by.

Possum Branch Preserve was void of people but not many birds there either. At least it was a nice walk outside.

A few birds there included a juvenile night heron and a red bellied woodpecker.

I caught this common snapping turtle cruising down the back trail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snapper out in the wild. This one was pretty small.

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

Blue and purple

I rarely see bluebirds in the parks near my house. I’m sure they are around but I never seem to see them. I didn’t expect to see one singing on a dead pine tree at Possum Branch Preserve. This was a treat watching him pouring his heart out across the marsh.

The lone glossy ibis was still there, showing off his colors in the sunlight.

I looked down in the marsh and saw this. What was this purple gallinule doing?

Then I realized another one was coming out of the reeds and they started playing “leap frog” in the marsh. Those big yellow feet were such a contrast on top of her back. They did it twice before taking off in different directions. By now somewhere in that marsh is a purple gallinule nest. Here’s to hoping to see babies soon.

There’s always a lot of white peacock butterflies and bunnies here.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

 

Riding the “rails”.

The Sora rail was the talk of the reserve back in early April. I’ve only seen a few rails and they were all at Circle B Bar Reserve. This was a rare sighting for this area so a handful of people were coming to the park to find him. There were actually 3 there and they stayed for a few weeks. They stayed close to the reeds and were digging around in mud looking for food. Since then we’ve had some rain so the ponds are filled back up. Maybe that’s why they eventually left.

The Virginia rail on the left was a nice surprise. I had heard one was there but didn’t see it.  I saw the sora on the right far out in the marsh heading towards the reeds and snapped a shot of him and when I cropped this up I realized the Virginia rail was behind him.

Lately there’s been a glossy ibis hanging around the pond. This is another bird that I usually only see in central Florida so it was weird to see him here.

You can always see gators and bunnies here.

It was nice just being outside.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Flowers and bugs near home

Flowers on the trail at Possum Branch Preserve.

The fields were covered with these pink puffy plants. And they were covered in bees.

It’s always a nice quiet walk at Possum Branch Preserve. It’s a hidden gem right off of a busy main road but most people don’t know it exists. It never closed down so I’ve been going there for a long walk a few times a week since it’s close to home.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Two parks in the morning.

Birds on a wire. Crazy black hooded parakeets staring down at me.

Although we have butterflies all year round here in central Florida, they are rare to find in the winter. Now more are showing up since it was warming up in late February.

Skimming the surface, looking for snacks on the water.

I rarely see Cooper’s hawks. This one was hiding off the trail.

Always fun to see the turtles. People feed them here so they are not shy.

A northern parula signing his heart out.

Limpkin with a snack.

Off the boardwalk, taken with my phone.

After leaving Largo Nature Preserve in late February I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home. It was quiet and not many birds around. I had not been here in a long time. The small lake here is lined with cypress trees which turn orange in the fall. I always forget to come here to get pictures of them. By now all of the cypress trees are fully green again but I won’t be seeing them for a while.

SkyWatch Friday

Looking for a duck.

This ring billed gull spent the morning eating tiny horseshoe crabs.

Lots of ducks but nothing new.  Ring billed and lesser scaup way out in the bay.

Teeny tiny on the ground.

I saw an eagle high up in a utility tower near my house on the way home.

I stopped by Veterans Park in Oldsmar looking for a long tailed duck. I heard he was there earlier in the week but I couldn’t find him by Saturday. That’s a rare duck here. I briefly saw one years ago near the same area but haven’t heard of one being around until early December. I’ll keep checking back this winter. It was a beautiful day to be out walking even without the duck.

My Corner of the World

Other animals at the reserve

This turkey made it through Thanksgiving weekend. He seemed a little skittish when I saw him just off the trail in early November.

I saw  Oreo (resident black and white feral hog) in the swamp near the nature center.

Other critters along the trail. It was interesting to see the squirrel eating a big mushroom.

A few tiny critters at Circle B Bar Reserve in early November.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Pretty things at Bok Tower Gardens

Lots of little critters at Bok Tower Gardens in late September. Very few birds. The best one was the white eyed vireo. It was a good morning to work on my butterfly shots.

I found this butterfly couple flying around. Only the top butterfly was flapping. Assuming they are mating?

I was looking for bugs and saw this big eye staring at me from behind a leaf. After climbing around under the leaves for a few minutes he stopped and took a nap on a stalk. He was not much bigger than my thumb.