“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

Party in the marsh

 

This spring we had a drought here in central Florida. The marshes at Circle B Bar Reserve had all dried up except for a tiny few spots. This one marsh still had some water in it so all of the birds were feeding in the same spot. I guess the bugs were plentiful in this spot. I’m not sure how long they stayed there feeding but the morning I was there in late April they were packed in and fighting over space. The crowd was mostly great egrets, snowy egrets and spoonbills but there were a few tricolored herons, little blue herons, great blue herons and green herons.  Oh, also glossy ibis, white ibis and wood storks. It’s been years since we’ve seen that many water birds congregate like that so everyone was taking tons of pictures including me.

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

My once a year walk around Kapok Park

I had not been to Kapok Park in over a year.  Not much had changed at this tiny park in the middle of a neighborhood. There wasn’t many birds there.  Every once in a while something fairly rare turns up here but not in a while.  Just a bunch of herons there on my visit (Little blue, great blue and night).

The small lake is full of turtles and they always hang out at the boardwalk since people feed them.

I rarely see alligators there but they ARE there.  Any lake in central Florida is going to have a gator hiding somewhere.

Tiny lizard I saw through the boardwalk.

Pretty plants near the lake.

Yes, these dogs are supposed to be on leashes but they were having so much fun and no one else was around early that morning. I wanted to run and play with them.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Chesnut Park in late February.

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Sleepy barred owl high up in a tree.

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A few usuals – black and white warbler, grackle and a cardinal.

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A pileated woodpecker taken right into the sun.

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A great blue heron flying close over my head.

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I saw this hawk eating something that looked like a really big beetle.

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The water near the dock is full of these.

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A few of my friends came by to say “Hi” while I was at Chesnut Park in late February.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Two legs and Four legs

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Lots of birds flying by, an osprey adding to a nest and a night heron.

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A great blue heron standing on a nest doing a mating dance (flirting).

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The nest closest to the trail had a parent waiting for the eggs to hatch (since this visit in early February a baby has hatched. Pictures to come later.)

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It that a “I’m choking” signal or just a big yawn?

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Hawk hanging out.

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A Carolina wren singing the blues.

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Lots of glossy ibis.

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This is the year of the turtles at this park.

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And alligators too. They are getting a lot of press right now. Who knew there were alligators in central Florida???!!

All at Circle B Bar Reserve.

SkyWatch Friday