Out and about in late February

The big kapok tree in Safety Harbor was blooming in late February. Much earlier than last year. I was driving by and saw the moon going down behind it so I had to pull over and snap a few.

After leaving the kapok tree I decided to swing by the fishing pier for a quick walk. There were a few manatees coming up for air.

A female lesser scaup cruising by.

I saw this osprey fishing for breakfast far out in the bay. He pulled up a big one and as he was flying away he dropped it. I was hoping he would try for another fish but he just flew over my head and far out of sight. Maybe he was embarrassed.

One day I was coming home and saw two red faces pop up from a pond in my neighborhood. They were hanging out along the golf course. I have since seen them several times but not since late February. I’m thinking maybe they are nesting but I couldn’t find them anywhere.

There’s a fenced in section of woods at the end of my street and when I’m out walking I always look down this open spot, thinking I’ll never see anything in here but it’s a pretty spot. One morning I could just make out 2 deer in between the trees.

Critters in the yard in January

Brett was in the car, backing out of the driveway on the way to work when he called me. He says “There’s deer in the front yard”. He was afraid if he got out of the car and came back in to tell me they would leave. I went flying out of the house with my camera to see them cruising through our yard and around to the back. This will never get old.

One morning I was walking by the back window and saw a hawk sitting on the bird feeder. Ugh, well that’s not going to get me any songbirds. Again, I grabbed my camera and headed out the door. He didn’t even flinch as I walked up to the feeder. I finally waved my arms at him and he flew over to a nearby tree. I think he was trying to catch some lizards.

A few of the visitors to the birdbath in January. The yellow throated warbler has been hanging out for a while now. He will probably head north soon for the summer.

This looks like a new visitor. I’m not sure what this is. It’s a juvenile. It’s got the beak of bunting or a goldfinch. Or, maybe it’s a house finch? The yellow around the head is throwing me off.

Right before dark as I was closing the curtians I saw this dove sitting on the bird bath every night for a week. It was a chilly week so I was wondering if he wanted to come in to warm up? One night I could see the moon coming through the trees so I ran out and shot the above.

I added sunflower seeds to the feeder and finally got a bluebird on it. My neighbor has a feeder full of sunflower seeds (and one with mealworms) and he always has a lot of bluebirds.

I’m always amused at the antics of the many squirrels in the backyard. I think this one was taking a nap in the sun except he was upside down. He stayed there for a while.

 

Critters close to home

I was coming home from the grocery store and saw this guy feeding in my neighborhood. I had my camera in the car so I had to make a quick stop and shoot this.

I’ve been keeping an eye out on the towers in the neighborhood and one day I saw this juvenile eagle sitting high up. Several of the towers have nests but I was thinking they were all osprey nests. One of the nests was an eagle’s nest. Maybe this guy was born in the neighborhood last year?

There’s a water reclamation facility close to home and every winter the pond is filled with wintering ducks. I finally stopped to check out what kind of ducks they were. This is a small section of the ducks that were in the pond. The majority of them were redhead ducks but there were a few lesser scaup mixed in. I think this pond has the highest number of wintering ducks in the area.

There were a few hooded mergansers staying away from the other ducks and kept close to the fence.

One morning I was heading to the Oldsmar fishing pier and I caught these guys right before the pier. “A spoonbill, a woodstork and a great egret walk into a bar…..”

I was heading to the fishing pier because I had seen an eagle sitting in the tree in the parking lot there back in October. I hadn’t seen him since until this day. He was cruising around the fishing pier before taking off over the houses nearby.

In the yard in January

I pulled back the curtains one recent morning and saw deer in my neighbor’s yard. I tried to quietly crack the door open so I could take some pictures. They eventually saw me but kept on eating in the area.

I went back inside and a few minutes later I saw them heading across the golf course and towards the woods (the golfers would be coming through soon). I snapped the above with my phone. You can just see the last deer (to the left of the tree) as they left. They never seem to stay in one spot long, always moving around and always close to the woods.

For early January, the squirrels were already getting frisky. One is always snoozing on the broken branch. All taken through the window.

Yes, we are getting blooms in January. The temperature this month fluxuates between 78 degrees and 50 degrees.

We had an ibis hanging around the back door and a juvenile blue heron grabbing a frog at the end of our driveway.

Beautiful skies with the sunset in the front pond as I was getting the mail. One night I saw the red clouds and ran out on the golf course right before dark.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

A walk in the woods

The one that got away. I was walking down the back trail at Chinsegut Wildlife area and I hear a noise in the woods. Several deer were cutting across the trail way ahead of me and I just caught this buck peeking back at me before he took off into the woods.

I love coming here and seeing all of the red headed woodpeckers. They are everywhere here. And, this spring I AM going to get back up here to look for some woodpecker nests.

Another amazing thing about this place is that I was standing in one spot on the trail near the nature center and saw 4 different species of woodpeckers. Without moving I was able to get pictures of red heads and then I saw a downy, a red bellied and then a pileated. They were all hanging around the same area at the same time.

Of course I saw tons of pine warblers.

I did see an indigo bunting (either a female or immature male) at the feeder at the nature center.

My first common garter snake sighting. They are harmless and he was warming up in the sunny spot in the grass. I quickly shot this and kept going.

It was starting to look like fall in late December.

My Corner of the World

Neighborhood walk in the fog

I peaked out the window in early December and saw the fog.  It was a good morning for a walk in the neighborhood.

The lake across from our home was almost covered in fog. It was cool out but I felt like I was walking through a shower.

Heading down the street I saw this guy cross in front of me. I pulled my phone out and quickly snapped this since I knew he would be gone in seconds.

I got to my favorite open spot and I could barely see the utility towers in the open field. The sun was just starting to come up behind the trees so I knew the fog would be gone soon.

There were some ladies having breakfast in the woods next to the field. I didn’t see them when I was walking to the end but saw them coming back.

SkyWatch Friday

Around the neighborhood.

I went for a quick walk early one morning in early December. I was heading for a pond down from my home and caught this guy flying right in front of me. He was so close I couldn’t get his legs in the shot.

The small pond down from my home was quiet. I only found a mallard couple and a small alligator.

Birds from my window include bluebirds and a pileated woodpecker.

Walking around in my small backyard I could see that my neighborhor’s feeder had lots of bluebirds. It looks like he had changed out the mealworms for a suet. He was also getting woodpeckers and pine warblers.

On another morning walk I found the deer in the open field down the street.

The small camellia bush in front of our garage started blooming. I didn’t realize they bloom in the fall here and it was a nice pop of color in the front yard.

I made some fun nature art with a few of the fall leaves on our patio. Yes we do have seasons here in central Florida. Fall doesn’t really start until early December. The leaves were changing but I had on shorts and a tshirt and was sweating making my fall leaf circle.

My Corner of the World

My favorite holiday tradition

I recently had someone ask me what my favorite holiday tradition was. It was an easy answer. Climbing in the car and riding around looking at the Christmas lights. I can remember back to when I was a toddler and we came down to Clearwater to visit the grandparents at Christmas. On Christmas eve we would have an early dinner, go to mass and then drive around and look at the neighborhood lights. We would go to different neighborhoods including around Clearwater beach. I remember everyone saying “Ooh, look at that one” over and over again. Brett and I still do it every year. This year we went after dinner with friends a few weeks ago. These were all in our neighborhood. They were nice but none were over the top “Christmas Vacation (movie)” decorated.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I always love a great over-done decorated house but I think this one tells the story best.

An added bonus was seeing deer in the neighborhood as we drove around.

Merry Christmas and thanks for stopping by all year!

A chance encounter

Walking around Chesnut Park a few months back, I saw this beautiful buck. He was busy grazing and barely glanced at me.

I then spotted several does nearby. One walked up to the buck and looked like she was going to kiss him? At first the buck kicked at her and she jumped back a little. But then she started grazing near him and kept getting closer.

He let her get pretty close. It was then I realized she had a big sore next to her eye.  It might have been a bot fly sore which is common in deer and squirrels in this park during the summer. He ignored her and she eventually walked off.

As she walked away I saw that she had a big booboo on her knee. She’s having a rough time. Hopefully she will heal.

I hope they are hiding today.

This young turkey greeted me as I drove into my neighborhood.

I’m thinking these are females. I passed them on my walk early one morning and took the above with my phone.

Where the turkeys hangout.

Walking back home after seeing the turkeys, I saw several deer running across the golf course. I quickly pulled my phone out of my pocket and shot the above.

Late one day in late October I was closing the blinds early since I was meeting Brett after work for dinner and we wouldn’t be home until dark and saw this lady staring at me from my yard.

I wonder if they were the same ones I saw on my walk a few days earlier. I watched them peck around for a few minutes and took the above through the window. “Sorry I was late for dinner, dear. I had to take a bunch of pictures of the turkeys in our yard.” was very strange to say.

Hope you are having a Happy Thanksgiving and are not eating Tina and Trudy (my neighborhood turkeys) for dinner.

SkyWatch Friday