“Don’t play with your food.”

I was driving through the parking lot heading to the fishing pier and I saw this guy over by a new rain puddle. He’s the rare great egret/great blue heron hybrid that’s been hanging out at the park for a while now. I’ve only ever seen him at the fishing pier.  I’m glad I stopped and got out of the car since I saw the below when I did.

A great blue heron had a snack.  He kept flipping it over, dropped it a few times and finally swallowed it quickly. I know the bird’s gotta eat but I felt bad for the frog.

Other birds kept cruising by hoping they could try to steal it.  Another great blue heron started getting too close so he gulped it down.

“Irma”geddon

We were very lucky to have survived hurricane Irma with little damage. Many of my friends did not have power for up to 7 days after the storm and many areas in south Florida including the Keys suffered a lot of damage.  Since we live on the water in the upper Tampa Bay, we evacuated to stay at our friends house about 30 minutes north of us. This was only the 2nd time we’ve evacuated since living here for 15 years. The first was for Charley in 2004 which missed us completely. We spent almost 3 days at our friends and didn’t lose power until the last day. I had thrown my camera in the car before leaving and spent some time taking pictures in the rain. Above were all taken from our friend’s backyard.  We passed the time by keeping the dogs busy, one was a 9 month old puppy who loved to fetch the ball from the pool.  By the time I left my arm was tired of throwing the ball for 3 days. That puppy never did tire out.

Below are just a few “after” storm shots.  Beth walking the puppy around the backyard. The neighborhood was filled with yard debris.  One of her neighbor’s lost their shed.  The shed had completely blown away but the lawn equipment was still in a pile on the grass. Many of the houses has tree limbs in the screens.

I just hope it’s at least another 13 years before we have to do this again. Our house was fine.  We had the wood fences on both side of our house fall down but that is an easy fix.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World

“They paved paradise and put a parking lot”

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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.

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A little blue heron walking around near the boardwalk.

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A lone ring neck duck in one of the smaller ponds.

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I was looking around the boardwalk for gators and saw the above instead.

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Furry faces in the trees.

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The cypress trees are starting to turn.

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A hawk on the way home.

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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.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Little critters at Bok Tower Gardens

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There were Kermits in all of the fountains at the Gardens. You have to sneak up on them or they will jump in the water and hide if they see you.  I took the above with my 300mm lens so I was pretty far away.

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Even at the end of October, there were a lot of flowers still blooming and lots of tiny critters flying around.

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It was very quiet at the Gardens early in the morning. I could hear the hummingbirds go whizzing by and several times was able to catch them resting.

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I saw this little guy across the bushes and was hoping he was a rufous hummingbird. When I got home and cropped it and lightened it up I realized it was a male ruby throated hummingbird which are fairly common this time of year. The rufous would have more orange than green in his feathers. I’ve seen them there but I can’t get a shot of them.

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A mockingbird was watching me while I was waiting for the hummingbirds to fly back into the bushes.

More pictures from my late October visit to Bok Tower Gardens in central Florida.

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Beauties and some beasts.

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I saw this little froggie hopping around near the boardwalk. I rarely see them at all in the parks much less see them hop.  They usually hide pretty well.

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Then I realized it was because this guy was heading towards him. The froggie got away!

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Spiders are all along the boardwalk.

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A downy woodpecker.

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Cute blue gray gnatcatcher.

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A young limpkin looking for a snack in a pile of old empty snails.

A few things at Lettuce Lake Park at the end of September.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

Things in my yard and neighborhood

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I went for an after dinner walk and found this duck family in the pond near my house. I’ve been seeing this pretty creme mallard for a while now.  I saw the family recently and the babies were getting big. Sadly, there were only 4 left.

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Frog on our downspout after a storm.

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Saw this lizard next to our dock. This is the first one I’ve seen with a rust head. Can they really blend in that well?

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Here’s the same creme mallard back in May.  She was floating around behind our dock.

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Curious blue jay.

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Hibiscus poking through the fence.

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I took this through the kitchen window.

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Taken through the bedroom window, the juvenile night heron was creeping around our neighbor’s dock.

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Our neighbor a few houses down has an almost dead palm tree in their backyard. I came home from work and saw the tree full of crows eating the berries (or are these nuts?). Taken directly into the sun.

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A few crows waiting their turn to get on the palm tree.

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Something spooked them and they all flew off in a hurry.  At this point it was almost dark.

Things in my neighborhood this past summer.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ingLife Thru the Lens Weekly Link-up | Lisa Kerner | Simply Living Photography