The same things from a different park

I headed down to Fort Desoto early one Saturday morning only to find it was closed for a marathon. So I decided to head to a park I had not been before. Maximo Park sits on the water right next to the interstate and was only minutes away from Fort Desoto. I had not been here before but had not heard much about it. It’s a small park near a marina and the people were lined up at the boat ramp to get their boats in for the day. Across the bay you can see the new bridge near Fort Desoto going up. You can buy bait fish right out of the water (for the lazy people who don’t want to pull their own bait fish up with a net).

It was a quiet day for birds but above are a few that I found including the vulture sunning himself.

Was it starting to look like fall? Looks like poison ivy with those red leaves of 3.

I stopped by Sawgrass Lake Park on the way home for a quick walk and saw this soft shell turtle crossing the parking lot. A man came over and picked him and moved him on his way. It’s rare to see these guys out of the water up close. They are usually pretty skittish.

This is one spoiled duck.

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Sunrise in Tampa

I was up early on a Saturday morning in October and headed out to a small beach near my house that sits right under the airplane pathway to the airport. Although it wasn’t that early since the time hadn’t changed yet and the sun wasn’t coming up until 7:30. I stopped at Cypress beach and walked out to catch the sun coming up over the water.

There was hardly any one there this early so I had the little beach area all to myself.

I only saw one plane coming in. The water is mostly grass beds and drops off very deep. I’ve heard there are sharks here so you don’t see a lot of people in the water. I think people come here just to get out and it’s a popular sunset spot.

Pretty butterfly on the ground.

A few of the birds were a hawk and a little blue heron.

Pelicans guarding the slow wake signs. I’m sure there’s also manatees out there with so much of the area being grass beds but I didn’t see any this morning.

SkyWatch Friday

Waiting out the rain

Walking down Marsh Rabbit Run trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in early June. Not much along the trails but gators. I had a rare day off in the week and the reserve was quiet. And, the threat of rain kept people at home.

As I got down to the end of the trail (as far away from my car as possible) the dark clouds were moving in fast.

I quickly ducked under the small rain shelter as the bottom fell out. That was fine. I’ll rest here for a while until it stops.

It started pouring sideways and the rain was coming into the shelter which has a roof but no walls. I had my small umbrella in my backpack that I pulled out but I was still getting soaked from the waist down. There was no one else around except for my friend Henry, the great blue heron, who stayed near the shelter during the pour.

I played games on my phone for a while and took a lot of pictures and after almost an hour of pouring, it dwindled down to a light sprinkle and I headed back down the trail back to the parking lot.

The birds along the trail were all wet. By the time I got back to main trail to the nature center, the sun was coming out and  people were coming in looking at me like I was a wet rat. It was still a fun morning.

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Pretty colors in the spring

Luckily not many people thought the Botanical Gardens in Largo were still open.  There was almost no one there in late April. I could sit quietly in the butterfly garden without people walking in front of me scaring away the butterflies.

I sat for a while hoping to see a hummingbird but there was no sight of any. I got the next best thing. A clearwing hummingbird moth buzzing around right next to me. This is the only place I’ve seen them before. They hover and feed like hummingbirds, not landing on the flower and then zip away to rest.

Still working on getting that perfect magnolia picture.

Some type of hawk was flying high up in the sky. This is extremely cropped. I couldn’t make out what it was but I don’t think it was a red shoulder. Might be a cooper’s hawk with that dark head.

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Chesnut Park in late February

Usual birds at Chesnut Park including that juvenile bald eagle that cruised by overhead. That hawk was sitting on a swing on the playground but unlucky for him there were no kids there that early in the morning for him to grab!

The titmouse showing off their fun personality.

Gators everywhere in central Florida. I think those two little ones on the bottom were trying keep warm on this chilly morning.

Where the birds sing at Chesnut Park.

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Chesnut Park in early January

All the usual birds.

There were several small alligators hanging out close to the dock. I didn’t see any big ones but I’m sure the mom was close by.

This deer was right off the boardwalk and I snapped this with my phone.

After walking around Chesnut Park in early January, I stopped by a small park along the water on the way home to see if there were any wintering ducks in the bay. No ducks to be found but this gull had found a piece of a fish in the low tide and was snacking. It was weird that there were several live conch shells on the dead fish.

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In the neighborhood

I’ve recently been seeing an eagle sitting on top of a utility pole just outside my neighborhood. I guess they are back for the winter.

Some critters in my front yard. I think that lizard lives underneath my mailbox on the wall.I only see him at night. The frog was on my garage door.

It had just stopped raining and a very wet hawk was sitting on my neighbor’s sailboat mast. You can see mold growing on the mast. In 15 years, we’ve never seen them take the sailboat out.

Dolphins were right in front of our dock. It’s rare to see them in the channels. They usually stay out in the bay or only come in the first main channel.

Sun going down in the backyard.

The sun peaked out right after a storm before setting and turned everything orange.

The September full harvest moon. Reminds me that Halloween is coming.

SkyWatch Friday

Summer storms in the morning.

I realized why there wasn’t any little birds around the firebushes early one Saturday morning at Crescent Lake park. A hawk was keeping watch.

You can usually see monk parakeets hanging around the ball park there.

No birds but plenty of moths.

This dog looked bored when I was taking his picture. He was standing guard while his human was fishing.

Starlings are everywhere.

I got all the way across the lake from my car and it started raining. Luckily I had thrown my tiny umbrella in my backpack so I stood under a tree for a few minutes hoping it stop quickly. It was raining on one side of the park and the sun was on the other side. After 15 minutes I just walked back to my car and was soaked from the waist down.Typical Florida weather. By the time I got to my car the rain had stopped so I decided to head over to the North Shore beach park in nearby downtown St. Pete before heading home.

When I got out of the the car there were a few parakeets eating on the ground in front of me. They were chomping on the ground covering.

Meanwhile, this squirrel had found a piece of pizza in the garbage can, probably left over from last night’s picnic. He seemed pleased with himself.

There were still storms out in the bay so I headed home for lunch.

SkyWatch Friday

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

This was our first trip to this park, just outside of Naples,Florida. It has trails and boardwalks that goes through a swamp in central Florida. I was hoping there would be more birds here since it was the end of April and spring migration was still going on but the boardwalk was pretty quiet.

One cool thing about the park was all of the old trees which kept the boardwalk shaded.

It wouldn’t be a swamp with alligators but it was fun seeing the otter near the boardwalk.

Views from the boardwalk taken with my phone.

After the park, Brett and I left Naples behind and headed home to Tampa. I wanted to take some pictures of the Sunshine Skyway bridge as we drove over but the love bugs were so bad that our windshield was covered in them. The funny thing is that our car wasn’t nearly as bad as other cars and vans that had come from much farther south. Of course, Brett washed the car as soon as we got home.

SkyWatch Friday

Serendipity is Sweet

 

Flamingo Gardens

Pretty flowers.

Things in the water.

Peacocks had free run of the gardens. They were everywhere. One lady was even taking a dirt bath.

Yes, there were flamingos at Flamingo Gardens.

Egyptian geese also had the run of the gardens. They are also pretty common out in the wild in the south Florida area.

A wild hawk was building a nest near the aviary.

Brett and I stopped in the old Florida attraction while we were in the Fort Lauderdale area visiting some of his relatives.

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