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.
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.
It was mid-September and I headed out for a quick walk around Roosevelt Wetlands. I didn’t expect to find too much since fall migration was still just a trickle but anything is possible this time of year. The wetlands was packed with dragonflies.
A female red-winged blackbird isn’t very exciting but she posed so nicely for me that I had to take a shot.
The same with this female anhinga, sitting high up in a tree.
I was starting to see palm warblers. That’s a sure sign winter is coming.
I was surprised to see black bellied whistling ducks here. There was an adult with three juveniles. I wonder if they grew up here or just stopped over on their way somewhere else.
“Make room for me” said the great egret to the moorhens. They scooted out of his way.
It was a quiet morning and the only sign of fall was the single palm warlber. It was still a little early for migration though.
I was out in the backyard in early September and noticed this mallard trying to eat something that was bobbing in the water. I ran and got my camera and headed down to the dock and realized it was a mango. He was chowing down on it.
After 17 years in our house, we finally had a dragonfly come in. He was flying around for a while. We opened the doors and was waving around a broom and mop and was finally able to shoo him out into the screened in porch. I then opened the porch door and eventually he flew out but not before I was able to get this close up of him. He had a beautiful green color on his head.
Later in the week it was raining. We had a wet green heron hanging out on our dock in the rain and the mallards have been visiting for a while.
Squirrels like to hang out on the top of our down spout when it’s raining to stay dry. I took this through the sliding door and the screen.
We’ve been getting regular visits from 2 female mallards lately. They scrounge around under the bird feeder for fallen seed. One morning I looked out the window and realized they had brought friends. We also get ibis on a regular basis.
Looking out the side window from my desk, I see a dove sitting on the fence. Later a little blue heron was on our neighbor’s shed.
Taken through the window, this lizard had the cutest toes.
Right when I got to Largo Nature Preserve and was getting out of the car this swallow tail kite flew so close to me that I cut him off. He flew over some trees and I couldn’t find him again.
The usual birds were there. A cattle egret, limpkin and a night heron.
The usual Florida critters were also there.
I did a quick lap around the paved trail and saw this almost grown baby screech owl peaking out of the hole in the tree. I looked for a while for the parent in the area but couldn’t find one. Those tiny owls are good at hiding. I did not stick around to find out if the parent came in to feed the baby but I’m sure it did at some point.
A red bellied woodpecker was popping in and out of this hole but we were all interested in the flickers nesting in the tree next door. More on that to come.
High up in a tree, a young red shoulder hawk has the best view.
An osprey in a tree right over the trail was trying to eat his fish in peace but there was a steady stream of people walking by and he stopped to yell at each one.
Wood storks cruise by as I headed down the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in early May.
A typical Florida shot of a great blue heron.
Herons were everywhere and constantly cruising by. The one in the second shot flew way to close. I almost cut him off.
Dragonflies were everywhere as it was getting warmer.
Another typical Florida shot.
This plant was growing all across the marsh. I think this is water hemlock.
Moss covered oak trees lead the way back to the car. This was my last trip to Circle B until the weather cools off. It’s way to hot to be out here without a breeze. Both of the main trails are closed for the summer due to the alligators nesting on the trails so I’ll wait until the fall when the winter birds start to arrive again.
At the end of April I went out late in the day instead of the morning. I had something I had to do in the morning but I didn’t want to miss a walk outside. I headed to Largo Nature Preserve not expecting much since it was hot. I caught the screech owl peeking out of her hole. I knew this was the tree that had a nest but hadn’t seen anything until now. I didn’t know at this point if there were babies. I waited a while but she just sat there staring off so I kept on going.
I did a quick walk along the boardwalk before heading out. It was interesting to see the spotted sandpiper on the boardwalk rail. Those guys are usually skittish and only here in the winter. Lots of dragonflies around and I saw a moorhen sitting on a nest.
A quick stop at Possum Branch on the way home. I had the entire preserve to myself.
Green herons were everywhere.
A black and yellow flash went by me and when it landed on a branch I realized it was a bobolink. It was with another male and a female that landed farther down the canal. They stopped for a few seconds before taking off again. It was the only bobolink I saw this season.
Little critters in the weeds.
The trails around the ponds were covered in this mimosa ground cover. The purple flowers were covered in moths and bees. You could see the tiny path where people had been walking on it. Quickly they will die off and the trail will get mowed again but the blanket of purple was really pretty this afternoon.
These yellow and white flowers are weeds and they were also everywhere.
A bluebird greated me when I got to Felts Preserve in late April. I was still on my quest to look for migrating birds so I thought I would make the drive down south of St. Pete to see if any were here. There are bluebird nesting boxes around the preserve so I wasn’t surprised to see one but I didn’t see any young ones.
There were several great crested flycatchers hanging out on the blue martin bird houses. I wonder if the flycatchers use them. I didn’t see them going in the houses.
There were a lot of indigo buntings hanging around the feeders. Other than the buntings, this spring migration was turning into a bust.
After I left Felts Preserve, I stopped by Sawgrass Lake Park on the way to see if there were any migrating birds there. None there as well but I did catch some tiny flying critters around the small butterfly garden.