Baby great egrets were screaming for Mom to feed them.
The sky over the Tampa rookery was busy in early April. It was like standing at the airport during the holidays watching the planes take off.
The cormarants and anhingas are usually high up in the trees but I saw this anhinga sitting on a nest low on the other side of the rookery.
There were many other birds at the rookery besides the usual egrets and herons. A night heron, a female red winged blackbird and a catbird were also sighted. I was excited to see the glossy ibis here in the bottom picture but it looked like the couple was working on a nest on the backside of the rookery so seeing little glossy babies is a slim chance.
Driving into Bok Tower Gardens you wind through orange groves and you can see the top of the carillon hovering over the trees. At this point the trees were heavy with ripe oranges in early April. I wish it was closer to my home. It’s an hour and a half away but worth the drive every once in a while. The worst part is putting your life on the line driving across crazy I4 for about 45 minutes but after that it’s a nice back road drive through small towns. I like seeing the cows as I pass by and I keep an eye out for eagles cruising in the skies.
This huge beautiful arrangement greats you at the entrance of the visitor’s center.
Lots of yellow and orange blooming when I was there. I love the orange sunflowers.
Little critters were flying around.
I found a lot of amaryllis blooming near the back exit by the parking lot. It made me think it was still Christmas but the heat reminded me it was not.
This was an interesting cactus. I don’t remember ever seeing these guys sprout like this. It looked like a big asparagus growing out of it.
I was hoping for a few spring migrates at the bird feeder by the pond but all I got was catbirds and cardinals.
While sitting on the bench waiting for birds at the feeder, this guy walked right up to me. Maybe people feed them here? He looked at me for a few seconds and then went to the ground under the feeder and started digging around for seeds. I think we had a connection!
Male rose breasted grosbeaks were all over Fort Desoto in mid-April. They were eating the mulberries while resting up before their migration up north. Most of them had mulberry juice all over their beaks.
A few females and juveniles were also munching on the berries.
Catbirds were eating as well.
I only got a brief glimpse of the Baltimore oriole before he took off.
I only saw one indigo bunting on this trip but more would pass through later in the month.
A small portion of the crowd at Fort Desoto during spring migration in mid-April. It felt like there were more people than birds that morning but at least there were a lot of eyes looking out for the birds. There wasn’t a lot of variety there but it was still early for migration.
True to its name, the Osprey Trail on Honeymoon Island is known for having a lot of Osprey along the trail. There are many nests along the trail and when I was there in late January, the osprey were working on refreshing the old ones.
Both eagles were sitting in a tree near the nest which was a bad sign. They were sitting on eggs earlier so something must have happened to cause them to abandon the nest. They might try again. It was still early.
Towhees, catbirds and yellow rumped warblers were all along the trail.
Lots of vultures here.
New growth in some of the prescribed burn areas.
This guy walked right in front of me on the trail.
I hadn’t been to Honeymoon Island since last spring. I wanted to see if the osprey were nesting yet. Honeymoon Island is a barrier island north of Clearwater Beach. In the 1940’s the island was a place known for people to spend their honeymoon in the cottages on the island. Once World War 2 started people stopped coming to the island and later the cottages were torn down.
Lots of squirrels but that bottom looks a little rough.
Lots of little birds but nothing new.
Red shoulder hawks hiding along the trails.
Eagles flying far away across the lake. Both an adult and a juvenile.
Found these two ducks at a quiet end of a pond. I’m thinking they are pets that got dumped here. Someone left food in a small plastic container. I just hope they know enough to stay away from the gators.
Nothing new on my recent walk around Chesnut Park. The catbirds are back for the winter and you could hear them calling all over the park.
I have to laugh at myself. As I was driving out of the park I saw movement over by the bushes. I stopped thinking “Is that a bobcat?”. No, just a regular house cat that looks like he’s well fed. I don’t think he had a collar on.
All of the ponds are really pretty with the purple flowers in them.
A typical scene at most of the parks since Hurricane Irma came through. Huge trees on their sides leaving big holes in the ground and lots of piles of cut up trunks waiting to be mulched.
After I left Bok Tower Gardens I stopped by Lake Parker in Lakeland to get out and walk around for a few minutes before heading back to Tampa. It was a quiet afternoon with only a few critters near the boat ramp.
Next to Lake Parker is a huge soccer field. There was no one playing on the field that day but I’m sure on a weekend there are tons of kids running around. There were light posts along the fields and in between them with nests on them. All of them had osprey nesting on top except for one. One light post right at the entrance to the field had an owl nest. The sun was not in my favor that afternoon but I was able to get the above. There were two almost grown owlets on the nest with Mom but one was hiding on the other side of Mom. On nights and weekends these fields are packed with screaming kids playing ball. I guess the owls don’t mind.
A few things I saw on my central Florida trip to Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales and Lake Parker in Lakeland in early March.