Busy little birds at Bok Tower Gardens. A black and white warbler, a titmouse (with a nut), a red eyed vireo and a female redstart were the only migrating birds I could find in mid-October. I realized as I was running around in the woods at Bok Tower why fall migration is much harder than spring migration. The birds are more scarce in the fall and it’s just too hot to be running around looking for tiny birds high up in the trees. Here in central Florida in the spring, if you are lucky to be out on a day when there are a lot of birds around, at least the weather is usually cooler. On this morning in October it was 85 degrees by 9:30 and the humidity was brutal. It takes a lot of patience to wait for these little birds to come down from the tops of the trees and it’s hard to be dripping in sweat. With that said, it was still a fun morning out even if I only saw a few birds.
Beauty in the pond.
A grasshopper high up in the tree. He caught my eye while I was watching a hummingbird on the other side of the tree.
I was taking a break on a bench when this little squirrel came up to me. He looks like he had a bot fly problem this summer. He should be okay though.
Reflections on the pond.
Looking down on the pond, the fish were waiting for a handout.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota is more than just a bunch of fish in tanks. They are a “nonprofit marine research institution comprised of world-class marine scientists committed to the belief that the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans begins with research and education.” They do a lot of work with injured marine life and study the impact of red tide. While my sisters were here visiting over Thanksgiving weekend, we drove down to Sarasota (a little more than an hour from my house in Tampa) to visit the aquarium, have lunch somewhere fun and stop by the outlet mall on the way home. It was a busy day. It was fun seeing all of the fishies to start the morning.
The best was the octopus. It was awake and moving around. I’ve only ever seen them balled up in a corner. This one was right on the glass, looking at us.
The seals were our favorite though. I think that one seal was making faces at us, telling us what he thinks about us. The seal exhibit is outside with a view of the harbor. They were probably saying “Break that glass lady and let us out.”
Since we were a 10 minute walk to the aquarium in Boston, we spent a few hours visiting before dinner.
Because I’m a member of the Tampa zoo, I get in free to the Florida Aquarium in September. Which works out perfect because by the time September comes around I’m tired of being outside in the heat and want to do something indoors. I get there right when it opens before the crowds cover the glass. I was using Auto mode on my camera with no flash since the flash would just put a big spotlight in the picture. And most of the exhibits don’t allow flash anyway. It’s too hard to bring a tripod in with even the smallest crowd. A lot of these were taken with my phone as well.
Seahorses are everyone’s favorite but it’s really hard to see them. They keep it dark in the room and no flash allowed. These were taken with my phone.
Always fun to see jellyfish floating upside down.
I call these boob jellyfish.
This little guy was so cute. He was very animated.
I took a ton of pictures since it was nice and cool inside so more to come. The Aquarium is fun until it’s crowded. When I left before noon it was wall to wall people and you had to wait to get close to the glass. I would suggest going during the week when school is in if you can to keep from bumping into kids.
Some of the critters in the water at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park north of Tampa. I made my annual winter trip in mid-January, hoping to see manatees along the river but the weather had warmed up for a few day and the manatees had scattered around the area.
Yes, this guy was on the other side of the glass. You usually see them sleeping in the back with their eyes closed.
It seemed to be mating day that morning. Both pelicans and some wild vultures were getting frisky in the warm weather.