When my sisters were here over Thanksgiving weekend we went out looking for manatees. The most dependable place to find them is at the Manatee Viewing Center at the Tampa electric plant on the other side of the bay. The manatees congregate here in the winter months due to the electric plant’s discharge canal where the water that cools the electric plant is sent back out into the bay warm and clean. I’ve been there before over the years when you could see hundreds of manatees near the boardwalk but this time there were none. You could see a few far out in the canal but they just looked like bumps floating in the water. We would have been crushed if we hadn’t seen the below the day before.
Another reliable place to see manatees (and much closer to my home) is the Safety Harbor fishing pier. We were out running around one afternoon and stopped by on the way home. We counted at least 6 swimming around the pier so we hung out there for a while watching them come up for air.
Plants and critters at Chesnut Park and Possum Brand Preserve.
Not many birds around in early August. It was so hot I wasn’t getting out much for a few weeks. A 2 hour walk early on Saturday mornings was all I could handle in the heat and humidity before heading home for a nap.
Atlanta, as seen in the first episode of the tv series “Walking Dead”. Except in the scene, the roads were lined with abandoned cars that were photo-shopped into the scene. I took this the first night of our long weekend to visit friends. It was dark and cloudy and had just stopped drizzling. My husband thought I was going to look silly being the only person standing on the Jackson Street bridge taking this picture. No, there were several other people there taking pictures as well. I found out later that there are “Walking Dead” tours that take you to some of the places that scenes were filmed at. This is one of the stops.
Another Atlanta downtown scene, taken as we were leaving to head back home.
One morning while Brett was riding his bike with some friends, I took a walk around Piedmont Park. They used to have great art festivals and other events here. I’m sure they still do but it was quiet the morning I walked around the lake.
A few of the critters and an interesting mushroom or fungi around the lake. After my walk around the park, I headed over to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, more on that later.
We stopped at a shopping center to get something and this hawk was in the parking deck. At first I thought he was hurt but I think he had just finished a meal. He took off as I got closer to him but he let me get pretty close. He left behind a few scraps of his lunch.
Almost 25 years ago, Brett and I got married here in the gardens behind the Swan House. We were passing by and I made Brett stop for a few minutes.
I was feeling really nostalgic for Atlanta. I had lived here for 17 years before Brett and I moved to Tampa for work. Since his family moved to the Tampa bay area years ago, we hadn’t really spent any time here in over 3 years so we came back for a long weekend in August. We packed a lot of sight-seeing in the 2 and a half days we were here. We happened to be staying in a hotel next to this mural. The mural is on the side of the building where the old Limelight disco was back in the 70’s and 80’s. I spend many weekends there dancing with my sister and our friends back in the mid 80’s.
I hadn’t seen cedar waxwings in years. They are somewhat rare here and only a few come through during spring migration. I saw one hiding deep in the bushes and was a little bummed he was not visible. Later in my walk a flock of them quickly flew by and one stopped for a few second right in front of me. They are beautiful birds.
A rare western kingbird. I’ve only seen these once before in the area in the last 9 years. At first I thought it was a great crested flycatcher which are more common but realized later it was a kingbird.
All of the usual birds that are at Possum Branch Preserve.
Not sure what this little yellow bird it. I’m thinking it’s an immature palm warbler.
Other little critters along the lake (besides alligators).
These were all taken at Possum Branch Preserve, a small watershed, near my home in mid-April.
Lots of spoonbills in the marsh mixed in with the ibis.
Must have been some good snacks in the marsh this morning I was at Circle B Bar Reserve in late January.
Lots of white pelicans flying overhead but none were landing.
A great blue heron taking off.
I’ve only seen 2 blue wing teals this winter.
This sandhill crane was standing on a nest out in the marsh. I have since heard that this nest did not work but there are other crane couples out there nesting. It would be fun to have crane babies this spring.