Sailboats far across the bay. The above was taken with my 300mm lens. The below was taken with my phone so you can see how far away they were.
What a perfect winter morning in early February. It was sunny and 72 degrees. I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home after my walk and the park and pier were packed with people hanging out. There was a kiteboarder skimming across the bay in front of the fishing pier and someone flying a kite next to the pier. People were out walking their dogs and kids were playing in the field along the water. Sailboats were cruising by. This was our early spring. Soon it will be too hot and no one will be here but the skeeters and the pigeons
Pigeons in the park. They don’t get a lot of respect but they are really pretty when the sun hits those iridescent feathers.
A pelican flying into the mangroves next to another one that was napping.
White pelicans flying high up over the fishing pier.
A juvenile blue heron looking for food in the muck at low tide.
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 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.
Most cars go flying down the road along the waste plant. I mean, why would a normal person slow down to see what’s hanging out in the ditches along the road. Even if you did slow down as you go past, you might not see that tiny speck of a baby bird on the edge of the water. The black necked stilts having been nesting here for several years. Usually some time in May you start to see the babies following the parents around if you know where to look. I pulled onto the grass and took the above from the car. They are very skittish and as soon as the car door would open, the parents would go crazy. So I just rolled down the window and snapped a few shots before leaving. Anyone going by probably just thinks I’m waiting for a tow truck to come.
There were also baby anhingas in the bushes near the black necked stilts.
A very young juvenile little blue heron in the same spot. He’ll soon turn all blue once he loses his baby white feathers.
An older juvenile spoonbill. He doesn’t have any color in his face yet.
This limpkin can pretend like he’s eating escargot for breakfast but it’s really just plain ole apple snail.
Baby bluebirds on the playground. This was the first time I’ve seen bluebirds here.
A juvenile little blue heron out in the lake.
It was a quiet morning at Chesnut Park in late October. The highlight was watching the limpkin trying to get the snail out of his shell. He kept turning his back on me like he thought I was going to jump in the lake and steal it from him.
I usually see red bellied woodpeckers in the trees right before the zebra and giraffe exhibit. I didn’t think to check earlier to see if they had nested this spring. I hadn’t gone to the zoo in a while and then as I walk through I see a juvenile woodpecker. He was hopping pretty good from branch to branch but I didn’t see him fly. He doesn’t have any red on his head or belly yet.
He was still being fed by the parent. You can see the red belly on the woodpecker on the left. The young one doesn’t have that yet.
Both parents were flying around looking for bugs.
Close up of the baby.
A baby tricolored heron was in a nest over the alligator exhibit. Waiting for Mom to bring food.
A young little blue heron hanging around. Most of the great egret and blue heron babies are all grown up. They were still hanging around the nest area though. This guy will have dark blue feathers in a year.
Nice butt shot. This was the only shot I could get of the baby cardinal. He moved around to the back of the tree which went into another exhibit. I waited a while hoping he would come back around but Mom brought food back and they disappeared.
Flowers in bloom.
Funky plant at the zoo. I’ve seen this plant at the Botanical Gardens but can’t remember what kind it is. It’s in the fruit section.
It was a hot day at the zoo. I went early in the morning just to walk around and get some exercise not expecting too much. It was fun watching the woodpecker family bouncing around in the trees. I was hoping to get some grasshopper shots. They are usually all over the zoo but I couldn’t find any on this trip. I wonder if they spray to keep them from taking over. They ruin the plants and flowers. I don’t get them in my yard and I guess I wouldn’t want them there but they are pretty cool looking.