Hanging out in the backyard.

Spending more time at home, I’ve been going out for a walk around the backyard after work. These were all taken in April.  Now that it’s late May, I would get eaten alive by mosquitoes if I’m not covered in bug spray.

A few critters on my plants (or weeds).

I noticed this juvenile night heron on my neighbor’s screened in porch. 

The sun going down on the ducks.

Sunset over my neighbor’s palm trees.

SkyWatch Friday

Two parks in one morning

A very hot morning at North Shore Park in downtown St. Petersburg. The beach was busy with volleyball players. On a Saturday morning you can find a lot of joggers and dog walkers on the sidewalk but not many people in the water. Since this is the bay, the water here is not nice but you can usually get a breeze.

Across the bay, you can just make out the energy plant with steam coming out.

After walking around at North Shore Park, I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home. They have a new boardwalk that goes along the mangroves next to the pier. This small area is a little piece of Florida that hasn’t changed much over the years (with the exception of that big condo building going up next to the old Safety Harbor Hotel in that first shot).

SkyWatch Friday

Big birds and little birds at Fort Desoto

The nanday parakeets are always goofing around.

A male and a female ruby throated hummingbird.

A great egret going by with a snack.

Little critters in the park.

A manatee cruising by the fishing dock.

Big boats going by.

From the fishing pier at Fort Desoto Park.

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

Horse Pens 40 Park

Horse Pens 40 Park sits at the top of Chandler Mountain in northern Alabama, the 3rd highest elevation in the state in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I hadn’t been since i was a toddler so I didn’t have any memory of being there. On the way home from  hiking around Noccalula Falls, my sister and I decided to stop in for a quick walk. The park has cabins and trails and is known for holding music festivals during the summer. The park was originally settled in 1880 and the name comes from the deed containing the amount of land the horses were kept on, horse pens 40 for 40 acres.

Looking down the mountain.

SkyWatch Friday

Early April at Fort Desoto

Pretty flowers on the trail to the beach.

A few of the usual birds on the beach.

I looked back as I was leaving the parking lot and saw the cardinal checking himself out on my side mirror.

A northern parula was the only bird in the woods in early April.

An osprey checking me out.

A pelican flying by and a common bird soaring over the beach in the summer, a frigatebird.

The storm clouds were moving in at Fort Desoto.

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

Critters in the backyard

This lady kingfisher has been a regular visitor this past winter. She’s either on the dock or on the boat lift poles.

Mr Grumpy (great blue heron) sometimes naps on our dock.

An anhinga paid a visit recently.

My resident osprey has been spending some time on our neighbor’s sailboat mast. I took this right before the sun went down. He usually comes in right before dark and sleeps there.

One day we had a hawk on the same mast.

We have a spotted sandpiper that hangs out in the channel in the winter. I went out on the dock to take this picture. He let me get pretty close.  It was during an extreme low tide so he was walking around in the muck.

A couple of weeks ago we had a pelican on our dock. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one here. I rarely see them come into the channels. They usually stay out closer to the bay.

One night right before the sun went down I went outside to get something and saw a flock of robins hanging out in our tree on the side of the house. They stayed long enough for me to run back in the house to get my camera and come back out and snap a few shots.

We get a lot of squirrels in our yard.

Pretty flower on the fence.

A few of the critters passing through our yard in the last few months.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

The annual visit to the manatees

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One of the fun outdoor things to do when my sisters are here for Christmas is to drive over to the Tampa Electric Company to see the manatees. The electric plant pulls in cold water to cool the plant and flushes out the warm water so the manatees spend the winter in the channel next to the plant where the water is warmer.

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It’s always fun seeing the manatees floating around in the channel.  Several of them were floating on their backs.  Some of them only stick their noses out to get air.

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They have a new stingray pool where you can pet them.  You can also see them out in the channel swimming by.

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The mangroves along the channel are covered in these black mangrove crabs.

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White pelicans were flying high over our heads.

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Pretty flower in the butterfly garden.

It was a beautiful day right before Christmas but too warm.  82 degrees is too hot for the end of December. It would have been nice to have long sleeves on when we were out running around. The tourist from up north didn’t seem to mind. I’m sure they were all happy to be out of the snow.  The Manatee Viewing Center at TECO is only opened from November through April.  Even though the weather was warm, there were still plenty of manatees to see.

SkyWatch Friday

A quiet moment in the woods

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Critters at the park.

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I was standing on the boardwalk looking for birds and heard a noise in the leaves. Thinking it was a squirrel, I didn’t look down right away. When I did, this was staring up at me.  She was so close I had to pull out my phone to take a picture.

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I stood there quietly and watched the deer roam around for a few minutes. The mom and older baby were having a bonding moment. They kept an eye on me but went about their day.

Chesnut Park on a Saturday morning in November.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters