Things in the backyard

Some of the birds in the yard in late January and early February. I’m always looking out the window when I’m at home. I noticed the great egret creeping around the tree but he went behind the bushes when he caught the lizard.

I’ve seen several random turkeys roaming around the neighbhorhood and was wondering if they were all the same turkey. These were across the fairway from our house. The top one had a gray head (maybe the juvenile from this past summer) and the bottom shot has a red head. These were taken the same week.

The usual bigger birds in the backyard include a cardinal, blue jay and a crow that’s been hanging around for a few weeks.

There’s always a Carolina wren in the backyard. Sometimes we have two.

Other occasional birds at the feeder are titmouse and woodpeckers.

We had several bluebirds bouncing around the backyard one afternoon. They would catch some caterpillars on the ground and fly up to the top of the bird feeder to eat them.

We’ve had parulas up in our trees for a while now. I hear their shrill all day long. I was able to catch the male (top shot) in a lower branch singing away one afternoon. The bottom shot is either a juvenile or maybe the female. She came down to the bird bath.

A few other things in the yard. That spider looks like he has a smiley face on his back. The gardenia bush outside our front door has been blooming and it smells so nice when you walk out the door. I went out and got these with my macro lens. All other pictures where taken through the windows.

Blooming in the yard in late December.

My Christmas cactus bloomed most of December and I finally went outside to get some macro shots of it before it went dormant. Then I started looking around to see what else I could shoot. The small camelia bush next to our garage was blooming. I also took some pictures of the pointsettia plants and the hanging impatiens. Now that it’s March, we have a lot of other plants blooming so I need to get on that.

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Saturday morning at the botanical gardens

Pretty things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo at the end of May.

Little critters.

Squirrels were busy eating fruit all over the gardens.

The squirrel in the two bottom pictures were eating the above. A lychee tree.  My husband grew up eating his Mom’s homemade lychee ice cream but you don’t really see it here in central Florida.

A very young titmouse was following Mom around. She was trying to get him to feed himself but he just kept yelling for her to feed him.

A green heron creeping along a branch in the parking lot.

The sun coming through a papaya tree.

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Color and babies

Random things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

There wasn’t many birds when I was there in late May. You can always find brown thrashers there but the kestral was the first time I had seen one here.

After leaving the botanical gardens, I headed over for a quick stop at Largo Nature Preserve to see how the flickers were doing. I got there right as Mom was feeding the babies. I love that flash of red on the back of Mom’s head.

Mom left and the babies kept poking their heads out of the hole. This was probably right before they fledged.They looked fully grown at this point.

The red bellied woodpecker was still hanging around the hole in the tree next door. They will probably nest later in the summer.

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In the backyard

I didn’t plant these sunflowers on purpose. I didn’t think we had the right kind of soil since our dirt is so sandy. Of all of the years with a bird feeder, this is the first time I had a rogue sunflower seed take root. The double one came up first but wasn’t very big. The bigger one came up right next to our petunia pot a few days later. I think an animal, maybe a squirrel, ate it after a few days. It was all torn up on the ground near the feeder.

A macro fly on the leaf.

Taking some shots around the backyard with my macro lens.

I had to get even more shots of my hibiscus plant.

One night I went out to move the garbage can to the street and saw this black racer cutting across my driveway. I was glad I had my phone in my pocket so I could quickly snap this.

We’ve had a lot of duck families cruising past our dock. This was one of the first in early May.

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Fun things at Lake Mirror

Color at Hollis Garden in Lakeland in early May.

I thought these lily pad were cool holding the water in their leaves. Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland was full of them.

There’s a reason they are called “common” moorhens. They are everywhere and they have tons of babies starting in the spring.

I noticed this baby grackle screaming at his Mom for food. He was hopping around behind Mom but I think she was trying to get him to feed himself. He was old enough to be able to do that.

Across Lake Morton a new building was going up. The flags would have looked very magestic if they weren’t so worn out.

I don’t alway stop at Lake Mirror after a walk at Circle B Bar Reserve but this morning in early May I only did a short walk at Circle B and then went over to Lake Mirror. I was in the mood for some spring flowers that were in bloom at Hollis Gardens which sits right on the lake.

SkyWatch Friday

Back at Bok

Driving into Bok Tower Gardens you wind through orange groves and you can see the top of the carillon hovering over the trees. At this point the trees were heavy with ripe oranges in early April. I wish it was closer to my home. It’s an hour and a half away but worth the drive every once in a while. The worst part is putting your life on the line driving across crazy I4 for about 45 minutes but after that it’s a nice back road drive through small towns. I like seeing the cows as I pass by and I keep an eye out for eagles cruising in the skies.

This huge beautiful arrangement greats you at the entrance of the visitor’s center.

Lots of yellow and orange blooming when I was there. I love the orange sunflowers.

Little critters were flying around.

I found a lot of amaryllis blooming near the back exit by the parking lot. It made me think it was still Christmas but the heat reminded me it was not.

This was an interesting cactus. I don’t remember ever seeing these guys sprout like this. It looked like a big asparagus growing out of it.

I was hoping for a few spring migrates at the bird feeder by the pond but all I got was catbirds and cardinals.

While sitting on the bench waiting for birds at the feeder, this guy walked right up to me. Maybe people feed them here? He looked at me for a few seconds and then went to the ground under the feeder and started digging around for seeds. I think we had a connection!

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Things blooming in early April

The winter months are my favorite time of the year since the weather is so mild here in central Florida. But, when April rolls around I always think it’s my favorite month. It’s still cool in the mornings and everything is blooming everywhere. The flowers look fresh and haven’t been fried by the summer sun yet.

Even the pitcher plants were blooming.

The little critters were buzzing around.

Painted buntings were everywhere this year.  This couple only stopped at the feeder for a few minutes.

Of course cardinals are always around.

A bunny on the trail at Bok Tower Gardens in early April.

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Bok Tower Gardens

Even though chipping sparrows are not rare, I don’t see them often.

I found a female ruby throated hummingbird feeding in the english garden at Bok Tower Gardens in late February. It almost looks like she was molting around her face.

I was standing on the path for a while under a pine tree waiting for the hummingbird to come back to the flowers and someone walked by and said “Look at the owl over your head”. I didn’t even notice him when I walked up earlier. I’m glad he didn’t poop on me!

Butterflies and flowers in the garden near the bell tower.

The door to the courtyard at the historic house on the grounds. The Pinewood Estate is closed for now but you can still walk around the grounds.

I found the Fairy Garden on this visit. I usually don’t venture into the children’s garden there but it was a quiet morning so I wandered in to see if there were any good birds back there. I loved the big oversize nest and the little houses made from nature. It’s so creative.

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