A starling peeking out of what was probably a former woodpecker nest.
Thanks to Ken at Rosyfinch Ramblings for the ID on the above Orange crowned warbler. A first for me.
Little birds at Hammock Park.
A small wood stork party at Possum Branch Preserve.
Typical great egret shot but I noticed after I cropped it up that he’s missing part of his upper beak.
I started out at Hammock Park, a small park in Dunedin that I had not been before. After walking around for an hour and seeing very little, I left there and stopped at Possum Branch Preserve for a walk before heading home.
Right after Hurricane Irma came through someone had posted that they had seen a golden plover at Fort Desoto. I have never heard of a golden plover being anywhere near here and someone else had said they are never seen in Florida so this one must have gotten blown way off course from the storm. Everyone was questioning it until some expert birders had gotten pictures of it. After a couple of days I was able to run down to the park after work one night. I had about an hour before it got dark to find it. The bird was easy to find and close to were people had seen it days before. It was feeding along the rack line so I sat down on the beach and took some shots with my 300mm and extender. The little bird seemed curious and kept getting closer to me. I kept getting up and backing up. He looked okay and was running around feeding but I couldn’t help wondering if he was trying to tell me something. A few days later a rehabber picked him up and he’s been recuperating since then. I last heard he was doing much better and should be released soon. We get a lot of black bellied plovers in the same area. See below for recent pictures of those.
Two black bellied plovers above. The top is during the breeding season and the bottom is in the winter. The golden plover has a lot of brown on his head that shines.
A few things I saw near the golden plover that night. The tide was so low that you could see the crabs in the crab trap.
After climbing 3 stories to the top of the observation tower at Lettuce Lake, I look over at the pine tree to the left of the tower and this guy was staring right at me. He’s looking at me like “What are you doing up here?”. I’ve never seen them up close before. He stayed for a few minutes then took off to catch a fish. I missed the big splash since he was so close near the tower but caught him flying away with a fish.
A great egret flies by the tower.
Turtles and alligators in the water below. The gator was going after that water bottle.
Tiny critters on the boardwalk.
A juvenile blue heron basking in the sun on the boardwalk.
The yellow flowers were blooming again. From across the lake, I could see the alligator swimming around.
I’m not sure what was going on with these 2. The great egret let the alligator get pretty close. The alligator looked like he was ready to take a bite. He finally slid back down under the water and left the egret alone.
I caught this great blue heron with a fish in the bushes along the lake.
It looks like all of the alligators were trying to blend in.
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.