I made another trip to the Roosevelt Wetlands in mid-May. The summer heat had set in but there was still a slight breeze early in the morning. I snapped a few small critters right when I got out on the trail in case I didn’t see much of anything else.
I think this is a type of partridge pea plant. There was a lot of this growing on trail.
There were a few black necked stilts in the pond and I meant to get back there later in the summer to look for baby ones but I never made it back during baby season.
The juvenile little blue heron was digging deep to get food. He was molting into his blue adult feathers and the pattern was really pretty.
What was that head popping up in the water? It was an otter. I hadn’t seen an otter out in the wild since January 2022. There were two of them and they were moving fast across the pond. I couldn’t keep up with them.
I lost sight of them and then a few minutes later I saw them crossing the trail and diving into the other side of the pond. They disappeared quickly again and I saw them pop up on the other side of the pond and head into the reeds.
I feel like I’m never in the right place at the right time but these two kildeer walked right in front of me on the trail and started getting frisky. Another reason to get back here in the summer to see kildeer babies and I missed this one as well.
Across the pond there were two moorhens fighting.
That juvenile osprey was still on the nest. She looked up from her snack and gave me the “don’t come near me and steal my fish” stare.
Even though it was already crazy hot it was a nice morning to be out on the trail. There was quite a bit of action for such a tiny reserve.
The tiny beach at North Shore Park, near downtown St. Petersburg was not as welcoming as these pictures look. They had just raked the beach of the dead fish from red tide but the fish were still floating up on the beach. At least the smell wasn’t bad and it was such a beautiful Saturday morning. The storms were coming in a little early since this was right before lunch.
The resident hybrid great egret/great blue heron was lurking around, trying to find a live fish to eat. Most of the birds don’t eat the dead fish but a few do and they get sick. The bird rescues are all full of sick fish from the red tide.
I stopped at Crescent Lake Park on the way home for a quick walk to look for otters. No luck on the otters but I did see the above in the vegetation in the lake. A juvenile little blue heron, a great blue heron, a blue jay, a snowy egret and a green heron.
An almost grown great egret scratching. This one must be one of the first ones born at the zoo this spring. He still had just a little bit of baby fuzz on his head.
Very young little blue herons were waiting to be fed.
Baby little blue herons that were a little older but not yet flying. They were in lots of different stages of growing up.
Screaming “Feed Me” in Mom’s ear.
Two baby great egrets still on the nest waiting for a parent to fly in with food.
My favorite part of Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa is the bird rookery at the alligator exhibit. It’s much smaller than the one at Gatorland but it’s close to home. The wild birds come in and nest right in front of the exhibit. While all of the kids are oohing and aahing over the alligators I am busy trying to get shots of the baby birds.
A juvenile night heron, born in early spring. He looks grumpy.
Probably cause he’s trying to sleep and it’s sunny outside and the parrots are noisy.
His parent looks even grumpier.
A female anhinga looking over her shoulder.
A juvenile little blue heron. He’ll be all blue after his first year.
An osprey in a tree right on the trail.
A great egret giving me a typical Florida pose.
I found another juvenile night heron along the river bank. This one looks a little bit older than the one picture above. His feathers are starting to turn gray.
Largo Nature Preserve is a small park. It’s square-shaped park. One side has a golf course, one side has a neighborhood, one has a model airplane field and the other is the parking lot coming off a busy road. It’s rare to see something unusual there but the bigger birds that hang out there let you get pretty close. Especially along the boardwalk. Most of them won’t move if you walk by them while they are standing on the railing. Night herons nest here so the babies grow up sleeping in the trees that are only a few feet away from the boardwalk.
The juvenile little blue heron above was testing out his wings. He was a little wobbly as he moved from branch to branch and he was flapping hard. I don’t think he was quite ready to take off yet but soon. I like the way you can see his bones in his wings. He’s still got some pin feathers underneath there.
The ones above are still too young to be off moving around yet. They must have been the last ones born later this spring.
There was still a tiny one. A very late tricolored heron baby with his parent were on the other side of the alligator exhibit at Lowry Park Zoo. Another great wild baby bird season is coming to a close at the zoo.