A hot walk around the lake in August.

Critters I saw on my walk around Crescent Lake Park.

This big beautiful old banyan tree is fenced off since it is starting to fall apart. It’s still blooming though.

Across the lake. You can barely make out downtown St. Pete behind the painted water tower.

SkyWatch Friday

Aldridge Gardens

Just a few of the beautiful flowers we found at Aldridge Gardens in Birmingham during my visit with my sister. The weather was too beautiful to do anything indoors so we did a quick walk around the gardens before heading to lunch.

They had bee hives with glass sides. It was really cool to see inside the hive, watching the thousands of bees working.

Some of the critters around the lake. More to come on the gardens.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Chillin with the farm animals

Watching the big horses grazing in the pasture.

This one was taking a dirt bath.

A few of the fowl I snapped while watching the horses.

I spent another morning relaxing at HorsePower for Kids animal sanctuary. There’s something about watching the ducks swim around the pond and the horses grazing that takes the stress away. I guess because I don’t have to feed them or clean up after them. I can just stop by and chill with the farm animals.

Lots of fun things in a small park.

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 I can always find green herons at this lake.

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This looks like a young mallard that’s molting and getting his male feathers in.

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Lots of young blue jays.

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A grackle with a yummy snack.

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A leucistic Eurasian collared-dove.  It’s rare to see an all white Eurasian dove.

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You can always hear the loud screaming of monk parakeets at this park. They nest in the water tower near the park and spend a lot of time on the grass eating. They blend in really well and unless you hear them screaming, you would never know they were in the trees in front of you.

Crescent Lake Park is a small park near downtown St. Petersburg. There’s a small lake with a sidewalk all around. There’s a ball field next door as well as a dog park and houses across the street on 2 sides of the park. On a Saturday morning, the park is full of joggers, walkers, kids playing and me, the crazy lady with the camera.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Spring means fuzzballs everywhere.

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My first fuzzball sighting of the season. Based on the last picture, more to come. I was at Circle B Bar Reserve and decided to stop by Lake Morton on the way home. I had read on Kim’s blog  about the new family there and was hoping I could find them. I found them about half way through my walk around the lake. They were sleeping together on the grass. I sat down on the grass and was watching them sleep for a few minutes when the geese came up on the bank and started to bother the babies. Mom  headed into the water with the babies and they hung out along the side of the lake for a while. I think the geese just wanted their spot. All of the above were taken at 200mm and extremely cropped.

Funny things at the zoo

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One of the African spoonbills in the aviary that you can walk through. He’s looking at me like “What are you doing down there?”

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Funny duck trying to hide under a small bush.

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Everyone’s favorite, the meerkats.  The one on the right says “I’ll turn my head and you guys do what you gotta do.”

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“Did you get all the bugs?” says the one on the left. “The things you do for love.” says the one on the right.

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Baby marabou stork born this spring. He’s starting to look like his parents (which isn’t a good thing).

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You can always see plenty of injured manatees at the manatee hospital at the zoo. Which is really sad. The pools are always full. They get injured manatees in faster than they can rehabilitate and release them. Most are from boat strikes but a few where still there from getting sick from cold stress in the winter. Those will probably be released soon. One had lost it’s flipper to a crab trap.

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Turtles hanging out in one of the manatee pools. “No more parking on the stick.”

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The masked lapwing is one of the coolest birds there. He lets people get pretty close.

A had two hours to kill on a Saturday morning before I had a family commitment so I ran over to Lowry Park Zoo to walk around for a while. I was hoping to find wild nesting spoonbills but they did not show up this year. I was still able to find a few things to take pictures of.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Little fuzzballs everywhere

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It always feels like spring when you see duck families. I saw two big families in downtown Lakeland in late April. I was checking to see if any more swan eggs hatched. No baby swans but plenty of baby mallards. One mom had 15 babies to watch over. They were running all over the place and curious about everything. I could sit there and watch them all morning. It started raining (again) so I finally headed home.

Linking  up to Saturday’s Critters

Not just black bellied whistling ducks.

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My first ever fulvous whistling duck sighting. These ducks are fairly rare here but this little family has been hanging around the reserve for a while now. I finally found them, way out in the marsh. They sound like black bellied whistling ducks but don’t have the pink beak.

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“Hey Bob, is that a plane or a hawk up there? The sun is in my eyes and I can’t tell.”

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“Baby limpkin, you’re in the wrong place. Your family is over there on that pile of reeds.”

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“Don’t take my picture yet. I have a bug on my bottom.”

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“It’s time for duck yoga.”

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“Do we look like we want to do yoga right now?”

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“It’s time for a nap.”

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“I gotta itch.”

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The black bellied whistling ducks are back in full force for the winter at Circle B Bar Reserve. As I walked down the trail I could hear them whistling all across the marsh on both sides of the trail. They were at corner of Heron Hideout trail and all the way down Marsh Rabbit Run to Wading Bird Way. It’s weird that they only stay on that side of the reserve. I haven’t seen them down Alligator Alley before. There’s just as many alligators on Marsh Rabbit Run trail. I’ve looked for the fulvous whistlers several times and finally found them. They were across a pond in the marsh so the first picture is extremely cropped. I’ve never heard of them being seen anywhere else in central Florida. I hope they stay for the winter.

Debby in my backyard

A wet green heron was sitting on the dock. It was dark and gloomy all weekend.

Wet blue jay on my feeder.

Wet house sparrow eating.

Looking down the channel, you can’t see our neighbor’s dock. Everything was under water. The water was just starting to creep up into his yard.

Now our dock is under water and water was everywhere.

On Tuesday morning, I looked out the window while I was getting ready for work. This duck family had just climbed on the dock and was taking a nap. They looked tired. The water was just at the top of the dock and by the time I left the water had crept up onto the dock. I don’t know if the family had moved to higher ground yet.

We were all very lucky in our neighborhood. Other than the tide bringing the water levels up, we didn’t really have any damage. A tornado hit in south St. Petersburg and there was significant damage there. It was really just an inconvenience to most people. It rained most of the weekend and on Monday night the tide got so high that several of the bridges were closed. Hubby had to drive the long way around to get home and it took him almost 2 hours since everyone had to go that way. The big Sunshine Skyway Bridge broke a record and was closed for more than 3 days due to high winds. Now it’s August and the summer rains are here so it rains almost every day.

Camera Critters