I had a few days off in October and decided to road trip around the area. I wanted to visit some areas that I hadn’t been to before so I headed north with a start destination of Pine Island Beach. It’s a small beach about an hour north of Tampa and a little out of the way (more on that later). On the way back I took back roads and stopped in a small town called Aripeka. There’s an old historic post office and a really cool convenience store and that’s about it.
Aripeka sits on the water and it looks like there is a robust crab and fishing business.
Just past Aripeka is Anclote Key Park and the energy plant sits right next to the park. I stopped for a few minutes and walked around the park.
Traveling south I stopped at Fred Howard Park. It was quiet with the exception of a lot of cormorants and terns sleeping on the beach. It was nice to just be outside and going to some new places. I had not been to Fred Howard Park before. It’s a small beach in Tarpon Springs. I can image it quickly get crowded in the summer.
Cleaning up for the ladies. It’s nesting time around the lake.
Seven swans a sleeping?
Posing for me.
“Got a cigarette lady” Talk about timing. I was taking pictures with my long lens of the swan preening far out in the lake when I heard a noise right in front of me on the edge of the lake and saw these two getting frisky. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and snapped these. More baby swans coming around the lake.
Cormorants and anhingas drying off in the sun. The first bird in the top picture is an anhinga. The rest are cormorants. Anhingas have a straight beak and spear their fish. Cormorants have a curved beak and hook their fish.
Threes a crowd.
All taken at Lake Morton and Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. The small lakes are just a few minutes apart so it’s easy to do quick walks around both before heading home.
All above were taken from our balcony at our hotel in Colorado Springs. As I was taking a picture of the mountain with the fog rolling in a magpie flew on to the balcony above us. I leaned over to get a blurry shot of him with a big bug. I then realized the trees near us also had magpies in them. This was my first timing seeing these. They are in the crow family but are much prettier than our fish crows back home.
I took a quick walk around the property before we headed out for the day and saw all of the above.
I had read that there was lots of wildlife on the hotel property but when I got to the lake there were the same ole birds I see at home. I thought “Really, I flew halfway across the country to see gulls, mallards and cormorants?” I get those in my backyard at home. But I did see a few different things over the week.
A wren hiding in the bushes. I think this is either a house or marsh wren.
Several limpkins were eating along the trail.
So many limpkins have grown up right on the trail. They are not easily frightened. In the first picture, I saw this big group of school kids heading down the trail and I didn’t think the limpkin was going to move. He didn’t. He just stood there like “You guys are in my way.” The kids eventually went around him one by one.
A snowy egret and cormorant hanging around the dock.
There were so many phoebes there. There was a constant echo of their call.
All from my recent trip to Circle B Bar Reserve in central Florida.
Young great egrets are being fed by mom. The parents swallow the fish and then regurgitate the fish back up into the baby’s beak. Doesn’t that sound yummy?
A young cormorant was begging mom to feed him.
The youngest babies at the park that day. They are 1 or 2 day old snowy egrets. The parents were going to be busy feeding 3 babies. You can just barely see the fish eyes coming out of the mom’s beak. Looks like she had a beak full of minnows.
All morning long the babies yell to be fed. The tiny ones like in the last pictures aren’t so bad since they are so small and don’t quite know what’s going on yet. The bigger babies such as the top great egret pictures are obnoxious. They are really loud and flap their wings until they are fed. When the parent flies over to the nest they attack them. The parents keep feeding them though. All of the above were from my trip to Gatorland in May.