I made another trip to the Roosevelt Wetlands in mid-May. The summer heat had set in but there was still a slight breeze early in the morning. I snapped a few small critters right when I got out on the trail in case I didn’t see much of anything else.
I think this is a type of partridge pea plant. There was a lot of this growing on trail.
There were a few black necked stilts in the pond and I meant to get back there later in the summer to look for baby ones but I never made it back during baby season.
The juvenile little blue heron was digging deep to get food. He was molting into his blue adult feathers and the pattern was really pretty.
What was that head popping up in the water? It was an otter. I hadn’t seen an otter out in the wild since January 2022. There were two of them and they were moving fast across the pond. I couldn’t keep up with them.
I lost sight of them and then a few minutes later I saw them crossing the trail and diving into the other side of the pond. They disappeared quickly again and I saw them pop up on the other side of the pond and head into the reeds.
I feel like I’m never in the right place at the right time but these two kildeer walked right in front of me on the trail and started getting frisky. Another reason to get back here in the summer to see kildeer babies and I missed this one as well.
Across the pond there were two moorhens fighting.
That juvenile osprey was still on the nest. She looked up from her snack and gave me the “don’t come near me and steal my fish” stare.
Even though it was already crazy hot it was a nice morning to be out on the trail. There was quite a bit of action for such a tiny reserve.
It was the end of April and there sat another indigo bunting in our backyard. This was the third indigo bunting sighting in the yard so I’m thinking it might be the same one hanging around. His only company was some cardinals and bluebirds. This was the last migrating bird I saw at home.
An adult Carolina wren sits on the bird feeder hook. I hadn’t seen any for a while and now they are passing through with their babies. She started calling and I realized her two babies were bouncing around in our bushes.
The babies were almost fully grown and were taking short flight hops from place to place. I went outside and shot the above. They didn’t seem to mind me being out there and I stayed far back.
I put the hummingbird feeder out about mid-April and the first time I saw one was on 4/28. Both a male and female were coming to the feeder. The last time I had seen one was at the end of August. I only saw the male a few times but there are 2 females that take turns coming to the feeder everyday since.
The last time I saw my backyard turkey was this day at the end of April. She has been visiting the backyard almost every day for weeks. She would quietly feed and take a quick nap under my neighbor’s oak tree. I saw her around 3pm and she was napping. The next day I found out from a neighbor that she had been hit by a car at 5pm at the end of our street at the stop sign. I was crushed. I knew it was my backyard turkey. I haven’t seen her since. I’m thinking someone hit her on purpose. The turkeys here don’t dart out in front of cars. The speed limit is 20 and she was hit at a stop sign? The neighbor didn’t see the car that hit her but she was dead when the neighbor found her. The people who live near that stop sign don’t have cameras so we couldn’t check that. I just don’t understand people anymore.
On a brighter note, the hibiscus in our courtyard have been blooming and they are huge. The top one starts out pale pink and turns yellow before it dies. This type of hibiscus doesn’t close at the end of each day. They stayed open for at least 3 days.
The peace lily plant has also been blooming.
I took the above shot of the gulf fritillary with my phone as I was taking the garbage out.
I was looking out the back door and saw the above great egret in the yard. He saw me standing there and walked up close to the door. Someone nearby has been feeding him because he was looking for a handout. I took the first shot with my phone through the door and then went and got my camera. I slowly cracked open the door and he perked up, probably thinking I was coming out with a snack. I shot the above with my camera and then closed the door. He eventually left.
In mid-April I saw a Carolina wren in the backyard with 2 young ones. The 2 juveniles were bouncing around the yard, following Mom and still being fed by her. They must have just left the nest because they were bouncing and hopping around more than flying. I ran out with my camera as they passed my yard and headed into my neighbor’s yard.
Butterflies are regular visitors on the lantana plant.
It was getting dark and I was watering the plants and I heard the above great crested flycatcher right above me. I ran in and got my camera but it was so dark.
I hadn’t seen any bluebirds for a while and was thinking they were nesting in my neighbor’s nest box but then I saw a few in the backyard and one was getting nesting material in front of my window so some of them may still be working on a nest.
I’m glad someone is using my nest box.
We were still in an extreme drought and the pond down the street was almost dry. There was just a tiny bit of water in the middle. Some type of piping was exposed (it might have been thrown in there by a neighbor years ago). I was heading out for a bike ride and saw the spoonbill in the pond so I had to stop and take some pictures.
A juvenile little blue heron and a great blue heron were looking for snacks as well.
We are starting to get those summer sky colors right before dark but still no rain.
Look who showed up in the backyard in early March. Last year they were here all winter but I hadn’t seen any parulas at all until March. I was sitting outside for a while enjoying the cool weather and the above got close enough for me to get some shots.
That lone robin was still hanging around in the backyard.
Bluebirds were stopping by.
A lone turkey was cruising by for a few days and one day I caught her taking a nap just outside our window.
We get tons of woodpeckers at the feeder and bird bath.
Butterflies on the hanging lantana.
Someone nearby is feeding these ibis. I saw them pecking around the tree and when I went outside to sit down one of them walked right up to me. I had to step back up against the house to fit him in the picture. He wandered off when he realized I wasn’t going to feed him.
It was early March and I was sitting on a bench in the butterfly garden at Folly Farms in Safety Harbor hoping to see hummingbirds (it was probably a little early for them though). No hummingbirds yet but I did see some usual birds. Titmouse are common here and parulas were everywhere in early spring. Both have distinct calls.
The giant milkweed was full of caterpillars.
Little critters in the garden. The yellow butterfly looks like she was laying eggs.
I’m not sure what this plant is but I’ve seen it at several botanical gardens. It’s really cool and the flowering part is huge.
Spring had long sprung at the beginning of March. I wanted to get out of the house before it got too hot so I took a road trip over to central Florida to visit Bok Tower Gardens. They have scooters that you can rent for a pretty low price to scoot around the trails and since my foot was still hurting I decided this was a good way to get outside.
At first I didn’t see many birds, only a black and white warbler and a northern parula.
Later in the morning I scooted over to the corner where the bird feeder was and sat very quiet waiting for the above. The painted buntings were here last year at this time so I was hoping to see them again. This time there were 2 males. They were skittish and anytime someone would walk by on the trail they would scatter to the bushes.
If I sat quietly for a while they would slowly come back to the feeder. It was early enough that there wasn’t too much foot traffic yet. The two couples stayed for a while.
This squirrel was posing too cute for me not to take a picture.
Not an April Fools with this couple. I was looking out the front window and caught this squirrel couple getting frisky. I ran upstairs as they crossed the roof and got an eyeful as they were frisky on the peak of the garage roof.
We already have so many squirrels in the backyard and now I saw this Mom with her young one. At least I think it was a young one. The one on the right was half the size of the one on the left.
They have been hanging out on our back porch chair for a while.
White ibis eating around our bushes in late February.
The pine warblers, catbirds and titmouse were still visiting the backyard but now the pine, palms and yellow rumped warblers as well as the catbirds are all gone. The titmouse are here all year long.
The butterflies really like the lantana plant in the backyard.
I can’t believe it’s April 1st. We really didn’t get a good spring although we got a quick cold spell for a few days in mid-March. It’s now in the mid to high 80’s every day until forever (okay at least till November but it will feel like forever) but the humidity isn’t too bad yet. Today is my brother-in-law’s birthday. Debbie, tell Dave I said Happy Birthday!
I had gone to the grocery store and my neighbor texted me that the turkeys were in my front yard. When I got home they had moved 2 doors down. After putting up the stuff that needed to go in the fridge I ran out with my camera and caught this from my other neighbor’s yard. There were 4 in all but one was hiding on the front porch. They look like turkey unicorns with that small horn on their forehead. I’ve read these are called snoods and females have short ones and the males get longer ones that hang down their face during breeding season.
That lone robin has still been hanging around. One day we got a lot of rain and a small pond formed across the fairway. That afternoon it was full of robins. After the robins left that lone one was still hanging around.
The Carolina wren was looking for nesting material.
In mid-February the hermit thrush was still stopping by the back yard.
This great egret had it’s green breeding face on. It may have a nest nearby.
The pine warblers were still plentiful and not shy at all.
A butterfly finally landed on the hanging lantana plant while I was out filling up the bird bath. I ran in and got my camera and it stayed on the plant for a while.
We had a warm morning in early January so I headed out for a quick trip to nearby Folly Farms in Safety Harbor. The neighborhood community garden has a small butterfly garden and if there isn’t any birds around I can usually find some tiny critters. There was still enough blooming to keep the garden full of bees and butterflies. The fun catch was the ladybug. I don’t see them very often.