Funny and pretty at the botanical gardens

I was walking around the Botanical Gardens in Largo in late December and a small flock of monk parakeets flew right into the trees over my head. They spend a few minutes feeding on the seeds and anything else they could find up there. It was funny to watch them hopping around and hanging upside down.  A few minutes later they all started screaming and took off. All was quiet again.

Across the gardens I could see an osprey flying into his nest with a small fish.

The milkweed bushes were still full of caterpillars. The weather had been mild and warm up to this point.

You can always find butterflies all year long here in central Florida.

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Wide open spaces

More shots from my trip to Bok Tower Gardens in November. I had a weekday off and Brett had never been so he took off and went with me. He was surprised at how big the koi fish were in the moat around the bell tower. You can feed them here so they are huge.

We took some time to just hang out and breathe with the wide open spaces here. It was quiet this morning and the oak trees were great shade.

Color on the path in the children’s garden.

We felt like we were on a farm for a few minutes.

Just outside the gardens in the parking lot, I stopped to look at the plants and noticed several caterpillars. I had already put my camera up so I snapped these with my phone.

After leaving the gardens, we stopped to check out some cows.

We really were just looking to see if the whooping cranes that hang out in a cow pasture were still around.

The cranes were still there but they were napping all the way across the pasture. This was with my 400mm and super cropped. It’s good to see them still there though. It was good to be out of the house and we had a nice day trip. We need to do more of these.

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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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Pretty things in November

I always love coming around the corner on the sidewalk and seeing the big burst of pink in the air. The huge silk floss tree at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo blooms in the fall. I was there at the end of the blooms but there were still some left on the tree and the fruit was starting to come out. I could also see a parakeet high up in the tree.

Other plants at the gardens.

The giant milkweed plant was covered in caterpillars in the middle of November. This was before it was starting to get cold so I hope these guys all made it through.

It was a quiet day for birds.

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In the backyard

Monarch caterpillars in the backyard this past couple of months. In late December, they all disappeared and the leaves were stripped so we cut back the milkweed plants.

Our milkweed plants were overrun with the above bugs. The caterpillars didn’t seem to mind. We didn’t want to spray the bugs since the butterflies would be on the plants. Since we cut the plants back the bugs are gone, although I’m sure they will come back once the plants start to grow back this spring.

This little guy was watching me take pictures of the bugs. I kept asking him why he didn’t eat them all. He said he preferred fries.

Wasps on the Bismark palm tree.

Usual visitors in the backyard, an osprey on our neighbor’s sailboat mast and a phoebe with a snack on our fence. The phoebe is pretty skittish so I had to take the above through the bedroom window.

A full moon in December from the driveway.

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