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.
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.
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.
A fancy lunch left over by the limpkins.
I think this is some type of cicada. He was making a lot of noise for such a tiny bug.
A prothonotary warbler. They nest here in the summer.
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.
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.
Some of the little critters at the lake.
Some young limpkins hiding under a tree near the boardwalk.
Butterflies were everywhere at Bok Tower Gardens in late October so I got a lot of butterfly shot practice. There were still a lot of summer flowers out. Now I can’t wait to go back in the spring to see everything blooming then. I was trying to take a closeup picture of a butterfly when I noticed something green moving on the next flower. That little lizard barely moved as I moved in to get a shot of him. He was so tiny, that flower didn’t even bend with him on it.
The frogs were a bonus. I had walked around the historic home at the gardens and in front of the house was a water fountain with frog statues along the bottom. I walked down a path and saw a little pond with a frog sitting pretty on the side. I said out loud “You’re not real” thinking it was another statue and it jumped up and landed in water. So I missed out on a jumping shot.