I was out early one morning right before Christmas. My first stop was the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but thought I would do a quick lap around the gardens. The gardens were decorated for Christmas and you could see the lights all over the bushes and trees. I thought this owl statue was cool and would have loved to see it all lit up but I didn’t make it here for the night holiday lights this year.
The usual birds were in the main pond. A green heron at attention, a wood duck (the entire family was floating around the pond) and there were lots of moorhens.
After the botanical gardens, I stopped at nearby Largo Nature Preserve to see if there was anything new. A grebe spent some time preening close to the boardwalk and there have been some northern shovelers there for several weeks now but nothing new or different.
My last stop before heading home wasn’t really a park but the Dunedin marina. I was hoping to see dolphins or manatees hanging around the marina but I didn’t see any on this trip so after walking around for a while it was time to go home for lunch.
Wood ducks are common year round at the Florida Botanical Gardens. They nest here and if the timing is right you can see them swimming around with babies in the summer. I found 3 males and one female swimming around the main pond early in May. These guys are usually skittish so I stayed at the other end of the pond behind some trees and they just floated around, bathing and flapping. I wondered if there were other females already sitting on eggs somewhere.
At one point two of the males started arguing. Not sure what started it but one was chasing the other away but then they stopped and continued to float around together again.
Pictures from our walk around the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. These are only a tiny few of the million lights from the Holiday Lights in the Gardens Festival. While my sisters were here over Thanksgiving weekend we stopped by on Saturday night. The gardens were packed but we still had fun walking through the lights.
And in the words of Irving Berlin –
“I’m dreaming of a white christmas, Just like the ones I used to know May your days be merry and bright, And may all your christmases be white”
Mine will be white if the weather holds up, I’ll be on a sandy white beach relaxing.
I went to visit the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo in early November to see one of my favorite trees. The huge silk floss tree was bursting with pink blooms. It’s weird to see all of these blooming pink flowers in November, even in central Florida. Even the birds like the tree.
Other flying critters.
A scarecrow was still guarding the pond.
There was a crew there putting up Christmas lights in the trees. It takes them so long to decorate the gardens that they start early.
This female summer tanager did not mind me watching her while she feasted on a beautyberry bush. Or, maybe she didn’t see me. I was hiding in the bushes after all. She stayed for a few minutes filling up on berries and then took off.
A female indigo bunting was hiding in the bushes.
A female rose breasted grosbeak was eating something high up in the tree.
Female woodpeckers. A pileated and a downy.
Both males and females look the same for thrashers and green herons so these could be either.
So many bright colors at the Florida Botanical Gardens in early September.
Found these leaves on the ground. While I would like to think it’s fall already, they probably came off in the storms that we had recently had. It’s a tease considering fall won’t be here in central Florida for months. I loved the yellow colors though.
A few fun things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
The beautiful silk floss tree that blooms in the fall. I always forget about it the rest of the year since it’s just full of green leaves. I forget about the pink flowers and am always surprised and amazed when I see this tree in late October. This was towards the end of the bloom and the ground was covered in the pink flowers.
Not many birds. A local red belled woodpecker and a wood duck couple.
The above was hanging on a tree in the woods at the gardens. Kind of creepy but also cool.