Pretty plants

Lots of unusual plants and flowers at the University of South Florida’s botanical gardens in Tampa. I don’t go to these gardens often but I was at Lettuce Lake in north Tampa recently and there wasn’t much wildlife there. Most of the park was still flooded due to recent rain so I left early and decided to stop by the gardens and see if there were any hummingbirds in the butterfly gardens. No hummingbirds but lots of butterflies. More on those later.

I rarely see green lizards.

A statue of a cow in the middle of the gardens? Not sure why. She was cute though.

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Bursting with color.

Blooming things at the Naples Botanical Gardens.

Little critters.

In the butterfly house, we got to see some butterflies emerging before they had started flying.

Zooming in across the street from the gardens, it looked like someone was clearing a field.Probably another subdivision going up.

We spent a hot morning walking around the Naples Botanical Gardens during our trip in late April. So many bright colors.

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Up close with an osprey

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.

Squirrels were snacking and napping.

Phone shot of the lake.

SkyWatch Friday

Fun at the Lowry Park Zoo.

I was looking in the spoonbill exhibit and noticed a wild spoonbill on top of the exhibit looking in. I think he wanted to join the party inside for some treats.

Some wild birds at the zoo: a Carolina wren, 2 black vultures preening each other, a house sparrow working on a nest in the gift shop sign and a baby duck in one of the ponds.

Elephants playing in the first picture with the 3 legged impala watching.

Grumpy old bird (that was just born this spring).  Marabou stork.

Making faces with Mom.

Showing off on a tree branch.

I was tempted to join these ladies who looked like they were having too much fun but I didn’t have the right color shirt or hat on.

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Stuff in the swamp

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Saw this gator chomping on a fish.

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Pretty green lizards.

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Another reason to stay away from the squirrels. The bottom pictures shows a big sore near his back.  This is a botfly bite. I won’t gross you out with the details. It doesn’t kill the squirrels but is probably just very itchy and annoying.  Eventually it should heal. I see these sores a lot on the squirrels in the summer.

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A fancy lunch left over by the limpkins.

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I think this is some type of cicada. He was making a lot of  noise for such a tiny bug.

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Pretty in the swamp.

All from a July walk at Lettuce Lake Park.

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An early June walk at Lettuce Lake Park.

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I think this is a very young red-eyed vireo.

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A prothonotary warbler.  They nest here in the summer.

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I heard whistling and saw the black bellied whistling ducks on the top of the observation tower, only because there weren’t any people on the tower yet.

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I snuck up the first flight of stairs and saw them looking down at me. I didn’t want to scare them off so I went back down and headed away from the tower. After a few minutes someone came down the boardwalk and headed up the tower so they flew off.

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Some of the little critters at the lake.

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Some young limpkins hiding under a tree near the boardwalk.

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