It was a little chilly in early March (meaning 60 degrees) and I decided to bundle up and go out for a bike ride on my favorite cow pasture trail. There were a few cows near the trail but the almost grown calves were far back.
This time the turkeys were fairly close to the fence. Tom was really showing off for the ladies. The ladies were ignoring him.
A kildeer was cruising along one of the ponds.
This was an interesting grasshopper. Not the usual lubber but I’m not sure what kind.
Blooming along the trail.
I found a big invasive rosary pea plant near the beginning of the trail. Most of the pods had opened up and revealed the bright red seeds. These seeds are highly toxic to humans and many domestic animals but birds can eat them without any problems. I’ve read that one seed can kill a horse or cow and this plant was right along the cow pasture with a horse barn on the other side. I’m surprised they haven’t pulled this out.
There’s something magical about standing in the middle of sunflowers.
There were all types of sunflowers here at Sweetfield Farms in early May. Some had yellow faces and some had black faces. Some had big faces and small petals and some had small faces with long yellow petals. I grabbed a pair of clippers and went out to pick a bunch to take home but it was tough to decide which ones to pick. I ended up with a bunch of different ones.
Most of the faces had bees on them but when you clipped them the bees flew off. If you are really afraid of the bees, you can buy the ones in the barn that are already picked. Either way they were $2 a stem. I really didn’t feel like there were a lot of bees swarming around me though. There are plenty without bees as well.
There were other critters on them as well.
It was a beautiful morning out and I was loaded down as I was walking to the car with my camera, zinnias, sunflowers and a few vegetables I picked.
I love going to see the sunflowers at Sweetfield Farms in the spring. Not just because there are fields of flowers but there’s also farm animals. They had baby goats when I visited in mid-May. They were so cute They would come right up to the fence and you could feed them hay. The kids were going crazy over them.
It’s always fun seeing the male turkey showing off when the female walked by.
And you know I love chickens.
They also have vegatables that you could pick. I think the zucchini blooms those yellow flowers.
A grasshopper on a leaf. I’m sure it’s not a good thing to have a grasshopper on your farm. Assuming a lot of them would eat through your plants.
I found a bluebird near the edge of the farm.
So many sunflowers. These were some of the smaller ones. More to come on those.
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.
The squirrels were getting frisky in late May at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
Not many birds at the gardens. A pileated woodpecker and a young moorhen.
Grasshoppers are everywhere right now. They can wipe out a plant in no time. You can see them eating the leaves in both of these shots.
It was a quiet morning at the gardens but I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet so I went for a quick walk at nearby McGough Park and to visit the turtles there. Most of the trails here are very narrow so I stayed off those to keep away from having to pass people. I probably won’t make it back to this park until next spring.
A fever of stingrays came by just as I walked out on the Safety Harbor fishing pier. They must call a group of stingrays a fever because you’re going to get a fever if you step on one. I’ve seen grown men cry from getting stuck with a barb from one after not doing the stingray shuffle. It’s supposed to be very painful. Luckily I don’t know that personally. Brett and I saw a man get stuck in the ankle at the beach a few years back. He could barely talk and was turning blue. It was a big barb. I helped his wife pack up their stuff and 2 sons and Brett helped him walk back to their car. We told them to stop at the ranger station on the way out to get some relief. The rangers would have put his foot and ankle in a big bucket with the hottest water he could stand to help stop the pain along with pain relievers.
Standing at the end of the fishing pier, I could see Tampa. Zooming in I could make out the airport and the football stadium. It was hot and hazy in early June.
Not many people on the pier.
I found some osprey taking a break in the water in the shallow area and one flew right over my head.
People have started putting locks on one end of the boardwalk. What they may not know is that so many people were putting love locks on the bridge in Paris that part of the bridge collapsed. They have since removed all of the locks in Paris but now people are putting them everywhere. This is symbolic of “locking” in your love for someone. Eventually the rangers will take them down so the rail of the boardwalk doesn’t collapse and cause injury to someone. And those locks are going to rust quickly in the salt air.
Blooming things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
Critters at the gardens.
Baby moorhens are popping up everywhere now.
Yes, the botanical gardens were open during the “Stay At Home” phase. Lucky for me most people must have thought they were closed because there was only a few other people there. Lots of space to move around in.