I was standing on the edge of the lake at Chesnut Park looking around for ducks when an eagle started circling around me. It landed high in the cypress trees along the lake.
Not a great view but I could still see it through the branches. A juvenile eagle flew by and the adult eagle started screaming.
The young eagle landed in the tree right in front of me, several trees away from where the adult eagle was sitting.
A few minutes later another adult eagle landed into the tree and in a quick moment, mated. I was bummed that I couldn’t get a clear view with so many branches in the way. I would have had to go swimming in the lake to get a better view and there’s a lot of gators in that lake. A few minutes later all of the eagles took off in the other direction and I was standing there like “What just happened?” I’m not sure where they nest at this lake but I had heard over the years that it’s not in a visible location.
True to its name, the Osprey Trail on Honeymoon Island is known for having a lot of Osprey along the trail. There are many nests along the trail and when I was there in late January, the osprey were working on refreshing the old ones.
Both eagles were sitting in a tree near the nest which was a bad sign. They were sitting on eggs earlier so something must have happened to cause them to abandon the nest. They might try again. It was still early.
Towhees, catbirds and yellow rumped warblers were all along the trail.
Lots of vultures here.
New growth in some of the prescribed burn areas.
This guy walked right in front of me on the trail.
I hadn’t been to Honeymoon Island since last spring. I wanted to see if the osprey were nesting yet. Honeymoon Island is a barrier island north of Clearwater Beach. In the 1940’s the island was a place known for people to spend their honeymoon in the cottages on the island. Once World War 2 started people stopped coming to the island and later the cottages were torn down.
I found the owls in the same spot they were last year. The park is not too far from work so I stopped by one night before dark. Found one of the adults on a branch just above the nest. “My, what big feet you have!”
Found a baby sitting on the nest. A little fluff ball.
I looked for eagles along the utility towers across the bay where they usually hang out. I couldn’t find any mixed in with all of the cormorants.
The eagles are not nesting in the middle of the horse farm this year. There was a lot of new construction going on nearby so I was afraid they wouldn’t come back this year. I found them nearby in a utility tower. I think they took over an osprey nest high up in the tower.
It’s not often you can get up close to a bald eagle. Especially a juvenile one (the all brown one in the last shot). These eagles are all missing a wing and now live at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are in an open enclosure and just love to pose.
Pelicans were just starting to nest.
A night heron in the first shot. He crept up pretty close to me. The wild great blue herons were working on nests in the top of the trees over the alligator exhibit.
A burrowing owl trying to sleep.
Other animals were all just chilling out the morning I was there in early January. Lots of fun animals at the park. Unfortunately most are injured but have a home here at the park.
It’s amazing how the chickens and roosters all have their own personalities. I didn’t grow up around them. I grew up thinking chickens came from a grocery store!!! It’s funny to watch them walk around the farm like they own the place.
The eagle’s nest is close by so I stopped to see if there was any babies yet. I saw one adult sitting on the nest but after a few minutes, the adult on the nest flew over to another tree where the mate was sitting.
I didn’t think they would leave the nest empty like that if there were eggs or babies but on a more recent trip two babies were there so I’ll post those as soon as I edit them.
Late in the afternoon, all of the deer were napping deep in the woods. I could see a few of them from the boardwalk but they were trying to hide.
A little blue heron walking around near the boardwalk.
A lone ring neck duck in one of the smaller ponds.
I was looking around the boardwalk for gators and saw the above instead.
Furry faces in the trees.
The cypress trees are starting to turn.
A hawk on the way home.
I stopped by the horse farm on the way home to see if the eagles were back. They abandoned the nest in the old tree last year and did not have babies. Some say the old dead tree was rotting and about to fall over and that’s why they left. Most think it was due to new houses that were going up around the horse farm. The farm was surrounded by trees and last winter a developer came in and wiped out all of the tree and started a new neighborhood. I didn’t expect to find them and was thinking they were gone forever. As I was driving out a different way, I saw the above on a utility tower. There’s an old osprey nest in the tower. Only time will tell if they take over the osprey nest and have babies here. It’s sad to think they are out of that great tree but at least they would still be having families.
The lake at Kapok Park are full of turtles. People feed them and they come close to the boardwalk. Look at those fingernails!
A cute grebe shying away.
The red-winged blackbirds come close the boardwalk as well. Both a male and a female were posing for me.
Moorhens were taking a bath.
A rare sighting at this park. I found a lone purple gallinule under the boardwalk. I have never seen one here or even heard of one near the area.
Great blue heron flyby.
The big old trees at the park. It looks like one got blown over during a big storm. It looks like such a big strong tree. It’s hard to believe wind would knock that over.
On the way home I stopped by downtown Safety Harbor and could just barely make out a juvenile eagle on the cell tower.
Another tower close by had two babies (you can see only one in the picture). One of the parents was feeding them and the other parent was on a utility tower across the street. I’ve been keeping an eye on these nests for a while, swinging by there on the way home from work. It’s great to see these eagles raising families in this busy neighborhood.
I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home from work recently and did a quick walk around the park. I was hoping to see signs of the great horned owls but they either didn’t nest there this year or already nested and left.
Heading out to the main trails at Circle B Bar Reserve, I saw the above across the marsh.
I kept thinking as I walked over to that side of the marsh that they would be gone by the time I got closer. Well, one was gone. The other was waiting for me.
Right after I got there, he took off and did a lap around the lake. Then landed on a tree right in front of me.
After screaming at something a few times, he took off again.
After a few more laps around the lake, he landed back in the tree.
He sat in the tree for a few minutes then flew across the lake and landed again.
This was the scene across the lake. Two different trees had eagle couples on them. They seemed to be yelling over territory but I didn’t see any real fights while I was there. I didn’t notice until I got home and cropped these up that there was a pileated woodpecker at the top of the tree in the 2nd picture. After a while I headed down the trail and both couples were still sitting there.
Wood duck on a log. He didn’t have a tag on so I’m thinking he’s a wild one that is just hanging out here for the food.
Spoonbill shaking off.
It’s rare to be this close to an osprey. Especially when they are taking a bath. This one was in the big aviary.
This wood stork was missing part of its wing.
Both eagles are missing a wing.
A rare white morph great blue heron was in the main pond. I didn’t see a tag on him. He’s got a beautiful face.
I made my annual winter trip up to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in mid-January. It was one of the first cold morning we have had. There was lots of bird activity at the park from injured birds that live there to the wild ones that fly in to visit. I took a ton of pictures so more on those to come.