In mid-November I went looking for some fall color near my home. I wasn’t expecting to find much but the bald cypress trees turn orange during this time so I was hoping I wasn’t too early or late. The trees at Kapok Park were mostly still green or had already lost their leaves. While there was only a hint of orange, the park still looked pretty with the lake surrounded by the cypress trees.
One of the many crooked trees at the park.
I can’t remember what this plant is but when the wind blows it looks like it’s snowing.
The usual birds can be found on the boardwalk at Largo Nature Preserve. They are acclimated to people being around and the limpkin didn’t even fly off as I walked by.
This snowy egret looks like he is walking on water. He’s actually half skipping and half flying along the surface looking for bugs or fish in the water.
I had forgotten that northern shovelers hang out here in the winter although I rarely see males here. This time there were several males with their dark green faces.
Other critters include a butterfly and an otter that came out of the water far down the canal.
I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home to see if the cypress trees had turned orange. The small lake there is surrounded by them and can be quite a sight when they turn colors but this year they were mostly brown and had lost a lot of leaves already. Maybe it was due to the lack of rain we’ve had this fall. There was a hint of orange so it did feel a tiny bit like fall, even if it was 85 degrees in late November.
I always forget that there’s a park close by that has a lake lined with cypress trees. In late fall the cypress trees turn orange before they lose their leaves and it’s a little bit of fall leaves that we get in central Florida. I stopped by Kapok Park in late November and missed the peak orange but caught it at the end. It was a cool morning out so it was a few minutes of feeling like fall season.
Panos taken with with my phone. I wished I had remembered to come a few weeks earlier.
This tree was pulled over during a storm several years ago. It’s still alive and many birds and critters live in it.
Birds on a wire. Crazy black hooded parakeets staring down at me.
Although we have butterflies all year round here in central Florida, they are rare to find in the winter. Now more are showing up since it was warming up in late February.
Skimming the surface, looking for snacks on the water.
I rarely see Cooper’s hawks. This one was hiding off the trail.
Always fun to see the turtles. People feed them here so they are not shy.
A northern parula signing his heart out.
Limpkin with a snack.
Off the boardwalk, taken with my phone.
After leaving Largo Nature Preserve in late February I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home. It was quiet and not many birds around. I had not been here in a long time. The small lake here is lined with cypress trees which turn orange in the fall. I always forget to come here to get pictures of them. By now all of the cypress trees are fully green again but I won’t be seeing them for a while.
Kapok Park is a good place to see hawks. They nest there in the summer and you can usually see several all year round. On this recent visit I saw 3. One landed on a branch in front of me and then flew down to the ground and got a bug.
You can always see limpkins here as well. They are very loud at this park. The one above was busy eating a hearty breakfast.
At first I thought this one was a juvenile due to his light color but I think he might be an adult with lighter feathers. Young limpkins stay pretty dark brown as they grow up.
I had not been to Kapok Park in over a year. Not much had changed at this tiny park in the middle of a neighborhood. There wasn’t many birds there. Every once in a while something fairly rare turns up here but not in a while. Just a bunch of herons there on my visit (Little blue, great blue and night).
The small lake is full of turtles and they always hang out at the boardwalk since people feed them.
I rarely see alligators there but they ARE there. Any lake in central Florida is going to have a gator hiding somewhere.
Tiny lizard I saw through the boardwalk.
Pretty plants near the lake.
Yes, these dogs are supposed to be on leashes but they were having so much fun and no one else was around early that morning. I wanted to run and play with them.
The lake at Kapok Park are full of turtles. People feed them and they come close to the boardwalk. Look at those fingernails!
A cute grebe shying away.
The red-winged blackbirds come close the boardwalk as well. Both a male and a female were posing for me.
Moorhens were taking a bath.
A rare sighting at this park. I found a lone purple gallinule under the boardwalk. I have never seen one here or even heard of one near the area.
Great blue heron flyby.
The big old trees at the park. It looks like one got blown over during a big storm. It looks like such a big strong tree. It’s hard to believe wind would knock that over.
On the way home I stopped by downtown Safety Harbor and could just barely make out a juvenile eagle on the cell tower.
Another tower close by had two babies (you can see only one in the picture). One of the parents was feeding them and the other parent was on a utility tower across the street. I’ve been keeping an eye on these nests for a while, swinging by there on the way home from work. It’s great to see these eagles raising families in this busy neighborhood.
I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home from work recently and did a quick walk around the park. I was hoping to see signs of the great horned owls but they either didn’t nest there this year or already nested and left.
One of the parents was sitting in a tree across from the babies.
I turned around to see what the parent was looking at and saw this.
Two fuzzballs were in the old owl’s nest.
“What are you looking at big brother?”
They were both watching the parent.
“Dad, when are you gonna feed us?”
The littlest one stayed in the same spot while the bigger one was moving around a little.
I found the other parent high up in the same tree as the babies.
As the sun was going down, big brother climbed over the other side of the big branch.
I think most people had given up on the owl’s nest this year. For two months back in December they sat on the nest. I knew that was way too long. I stopped by in late January and both owls were off the nest. I think everyone thought they wouldn’t be successful this year and something must have happened. Did the eggs not hatch? No one knew for sure. I hadn’t been back to the park since then. Then I got a message from Judy about baby owls there and finally was able to make it over after work. I guess at some point the parents tried again. Better late than never. Thanks to Judy for the head’s up on them.
My first stop was near work. There has been a male canvasback sighting. I saw him pretty quickly but he was far across the pond. This was my first canvasback sighting.
He stayed pretty far away.
My next stop was Kapok Park in Clearwater. I hadn’t been in a while and wanted to see what was going on with the owl couple. With all of the recent rain, mushrooms were everywhere.
I found one owl high up in a tree.
The other one was also high up in a tree close by. This is a sad sign. After sitting on the nest for two months, it looks like they were not successful this year with babies. The same thing happened last year. For 3 years they had babies, two years ago was twins.
Across the lake, I saw this anhinga with a huge fish. He was banging it on the tree and did eventually swallow it.
I left Kapok and then headed north to Possum Branch Preserve to look for the Nashville warbler that had been sighted there. No luck on the Nashville. Tons of palm warblers and yellow rumped warblers. This was all I kept snapping. The “I’m outta here” shot.
I did have this house wren sit still for a few seconds.
There were two hawks chasing each other high up in the sky. I only managed to catch one.
Out of three stops, only one was a success even though that canvasback was so far away. He was in a fenced off retention pond so I couldn’t get around to get closer. No owl babies at Kapok Park this year but I have been visiting the baby owls at Fort Desoto. Three weekends in a row. Those pictures will be coming up later.