In early May I headed down to Fort Desoto Park for one last trip to look for migrating birds. I had heard there were some new birds there. The first bird I find is a hermit thrush, not a new bird for me since I had one in my backyard all winter.
I did find a new bird. This gray-cheeked thrush looked a little like the hermit thrush but was a little bigger. It looks like there were 2 of them at the park, one near the ranger’s house and one at the east beach turnaround.
The bay breasted warblers above are not new but I haven’t seen one since 2018. They were staying deep in the bushes and were hard to get.
I have only seen a golden wing warbler once before in 2016. This one was hanging out at the east beach turnaround and was pretty skittish. We (meaning me and about 20 other birders) were standing far away on the other side of the road waiting for him to show up.
There’s been a lot of scarlet tanagers (above is a female) and indigo buntings at the park this spring.
While we were waiting for the golden winged warbler to show up this female ruby throated hummingbird put on show for us. It was feeding on the dandelions and I was sitting on the ground so it was fairly easy to get a shot but we were still far away.
I walked quickly past this osprey sitting on the trail. I didn’t want to get pooped on.
It was a beautiful morning looking for birds. Spring migration was winding down but there was still a lot of birds there this morning.
I had gone to the grocery store and my neighbor texted me that the turkeys were in my front yard. When I got home they had moved 2 doors down. After putting up the stuff that needed to go in the fridge I ran out with my camera and caught this from my other neighbor’s yard. There were 4 in all but one was hiding on the front porch. They look like turkey unicorns with that small horn on their forehead. I’ve read these are called snoods and females have short ones and the males get longer ones that hang down their face during breeding season.
That lone robin has still been hanging around. One day we got a lot of rain and a small pond formed across the fairway. That afternoon it was full of robins. After the robins left that lone one was still hanging around.
The Carolina wren was looking for nesting material.
In mid-February the hermit thrush was still stopping by the back yard.
This great egret had it’s green breeding face on. It may have a nest nearby.
The pine warblers were still plentiful and not shy at all.
A butterfly finally landed on the hanging lantana plant while I was out filling up the bird bath. I ran in and got my camera and it stayed on the plant for a while.
More of the usual visitors in early January. House finches, goldfinch and lots of pine warblers. Red bellied woodpeckers show up every day.
Also the same birds at the bird bath but now we have a lot of yellow rumped warblers visiting as well.
A downy woodpecker was giving me a “Why haven’t you taken down your Christmas lights yet” look. I had some green lights wrapped around our two short trees in the backyard that finally got taken down.
The lone hermit thrush showed up again.
I’ve been sticking close to home for a while now. In a cruel twist of fate, just as I was started to head out on hikes with my longer heavy lens and camera after my shoulder surgery, I developed a nasty case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot with severe heel pain. It’s been going on forever, almost 6 weeks and is taking forever to heal. I’m doing all of the standard stuff to help it heal but it’s being stubborn. Any one ever had to deal with this? Any words of wisdom? I’m icing it, rolling the ball on my foot, sleeping with a plantar boot, stretching, etc. I’ve always worn orthopedic shoes and slippers. On a fun note, I’ve been seeing lots of interesting things in the backyard.
Two new birds in the backyard (although I’ve seen them both before somewhere else). Two brown headed cowbirds stopped by but didn’t stay long. A hermit thrush has become a regular visitor since early December.
An eastern phoebe has stopped by a few times this winter. I caught him taking a bath one morning.
Regular visitors include a black and white warbler, cardinals (who are usually shy and don’t come out in the open but I caught this one on the bath) and bluebirds.
Every few weeks a yellow throated warbler stops by. He usually hunts for bugs in the small palm tree next to our house. I went outside to get these since he was hiding under the palms.
I heard her before I saw her. I heard the pileated woodpecker’s loud scream as she flew into our oak tree. I snapped this quickly through the window before she took off.
I went outside to get this shot. Actually, I went out to try and shoo him away from the window and took my camera out with me. He is not easily scared. I’m glad he hangs out in our corner of the neighborhood but I don’t want him too close to the window where Buddy and Harley stay (in the sunroom).
A young little blue heron that hasn’t lost his white baby feathers yet.
I’m glad I put that nest box up so the squirrels can nap on it.
Folly Farms in Safety Harbor was all decorated for Christmas with lights everywhere. I was there early in the morning and many of the lights were still on. It was weird looking for birds and butterflies with a tshirt on and Christmas lights everywhere. The farm has a community garden and someone had sunflowers blooming in their square, in the middle of December! I could only find a few butterflies in the butterfly garden even though it was still blooming.
The only bird I found at the farm was a hermit thrush. I had not seen one since 2018 and I had just seen one in my backyard before finding this one at the farm. I had to wonder if it was the same one from my yard even though I was 15 minutes away.
I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home and found some black capped (or nanday) parakeets in the parking lot. They were eating seeds from the top of the trees. They blend in well in the trees and I might not have seen them if they hadn’t been screaming.
A manatee was close to the pier but the dolphins were pretty far out in the bay.
Watching the ibis feed off tiny crabs in the water.
Pelicans were cruising by the pier.
There were several osprey out diving for fish in the bay but only one came close enough to try and get shots. He swooped down and grabbed that fish so fast and then went the other way. I was hoping he would fly towards me. Oh well. I’ll try again.
This little titmouse seemed to be showing me his snack.
So many little birds at Lettuce Lake Park in late March including that little spotted Hermit thrush in the last 2 pictures (or so I was told by the bird experts at the park that morning). This was a first sighting of a hermit for me.
A little blue heron posing for me.
Taken directly into the sun, this red shoulder hawk was right over my head on the boardwalk.