After walking around the Largo Botanical Gardens I headed next door to Heritage Village. The park has old historic homes as well as come cool vintage cars. They were having their fall festival in late October so everyone was out walking around.
Interesting wood carvings of birds.
The permanently injured birds from close by George C. McGough Nature Park were at the festival so everyone could see these guys up close and learn about the different birds of prey in their neighborhoods. The hawk in the above pictures was missing an eye.
The little screech owls were everyone’s favorite. It’s rare for most people to see them out in the wild.
Nothing at Chesnut Park but gators so I headed over to another park to see if the baby owl was awake.
The parent was easy to find. Just look for the big group of photographers pointing their cameras up at her. Since the baby was sleeping when I first got to the park, everyone was keeping an eye on her.
A little while later, a head pops up. The baby great horned owl was awake, barely.
She was staring up at Mom for a while but I don’t think Mom was ready to feed her so after a few minutes the baby went back to sleep.
I found the owls in the same spot they were last year. The park is not too far from work so I stopped by one night before dark. Found one of the adults on a branch just above the nest. “My, what big feet you have!”
Found a baby sitting on the nest. A little fluff ball.
I looked for eagles along the utility towers across the bay where they usually hang out. I couldn’t find any mixed in with all of the cormorants.
The eagles are not nesting in the middle of the horse farm this year. There was a lot of new construction going on nearby so I was afraid they wouldn’t come back this year. I found them nearby in a utility tower. I think they took over an osprey nest high up in the tower.
I stopped by the park not to far from my house on the way home from Chesnut Park. I hadn’t been in a while but was wondering if the owls were nesting again this year. It was too early for babies but I did see an adult sleeping in the tree. This was a good sign.
I would nest here too if I was a bird. The old trees are beautiful.
Nearby in the utility tower are the brown boobies. It’s always been rare to see them here but in the last year, a handful of them have been living in the area. Most days they can be seen on the tower. These were taken with my 300mm lens and extender and I cropped these up so they are pretty far out. You can tell the boobies by the white stomachs vs. the many cormorants or anhingas on the tower.
After I left Bok Tower Gardens I stopped by Lake Parker in Lakeland to get out and walk around for a few minutes before heading back to Tampa. It was a quiet afternoon with only a few critters near the boat ramp.
Next to Lake Parker is a huge soccer field. There was no one playing on the field that day but I’m sure on a weekend there are tons of kids running around. There were light posts along the fields and in between them with nests on them. All of them had osprey nesting on top except for one. One light post right at the entrance to the field had an owl nest. The sun was not in my favor that afternoon but I was able to get the above. There were two almost grown owlets on the nest with Mom but one was hiding on the other side of Mom. On nights and weekends these fields are packed with screaming kids playing ball. I guess the owls don’t mind.
A few things I saw on my central Florida trip to Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales and Lake Parker in Lakeland in early March.
This beautiful great horned owl was posing so nicely.
The other adult was in another part of the tree and all fluffed up since it was a little chilly that morning.
Oh look! It’s a baby just waking up.
The parent started feeding the baby.
Mom was watching that bug flying close by while the baby was eating.
After breakfast it looks like they are both ready for a nap.
Owls are not too cute when they are first born. This little one was making the strangest faces. Once they get a little bigger and can sit up on the branch they are very curious about everything around them. It’s funny to watch the faces they make. This couple only had one baby.