I’ve only heard of two whooping cranes in central Florida although they supposedly migrate to an area farther north of Tampa in the winter. I think the ones I went looking for don’t migrate and live here all year. People have seen them in the area most of the year. I had an idea of the area they were in and drove a while down dirt roads lined with cow pastures and orange groves. I was thinking “needle in a haystack” and was ready to go home empty handed when I saw two white spots far away in a cow pasture. Excited, I pulled over and got out and snapped a few shots. Using my 300mm lens with an extender, the above were extremely cropped
Uncropped, they were in a small pond in the middle of a cow pasture.
Taken with my phone, you could really see how far away they were. See those two tiny white dots right in the middle?
There were a lot of other birds out in the pasture that you could only see with a long lens, including several kildeer in the first shot and lots of cattle egrets in the bottom two shots. It was a perfect day to be out, even if it was standing on a dirt road with the smell of cow pasture blowing in my direction.
A few of the birds on my walk at Fort Desoto in January.
Me and my shadow taking a picture of the dead horseshoe crabs that had washed up at the end of the beach.
Some type of coral? There were several big globs of these on the beach.
Last year, an osprey couple built a nest in one of the lights in the parking lot at work. They did not have any babies that year. The nest did not seem well built and people are walking by all day long. This spring they started working on the nest and I didn’t get my hopes up. My doubts were not necessary this year. One night I walked out to my car and saw a little head sticking up. The next night I brought my camera to work and got the above shots.
It gets better. A week later I realized there were two babies.
After a heavy rain had filled the grassy area next to the parking lot, one of the parents flew down and was drinking some of the water. The ducks seemed baffled by their new friend.
Also in the parking lot was a night heron nest. High up in a pine tree, two babies were looking down at me.
One night while I was taking pictures of the osprey, this crow flew past me and landed in a nearby pine tree. I hate to think it but it looks like he has a small duck in his beak. This was the only shot I got before he flew off.
A kildeer was watching me from the side of the parking lot.
Last week the babies were fully grown. They were flying from light pole to light pole but still getting their food from the parents. Soon they will be gone for good. It looks like he’s got some fish guts on the nest.
Since it’s rare these days that I can get to a park after work, it’s nice to have the wildlife come to work.
A baby grackle getting his footing.
“Ha, Ha, I got weeds stuck on my beak.”
A kildeer couple at the back pond. This is the first time I’ve seen kildeer here.
Mossy turtle drying off.
Tons of bunnies along the running path.
The bell tower in the middle of an office park.
When I got closer to the bell tower, I realized there was an osprey nest on top of it.
Heading over the lake.
Must be looking for dinner.
I stopped by Carillon Park after work for a walk around the lakes (or just really big ponds). Tons of people jogging and dog walking. I don’t get out before dark much anymore after work so this was a treat to get out.
I think most of the eagles are back in Florida for the winter and the famous couple down at Fort Myers already have eggs. You can see the web came here. I finally saw one of the eagles not too far from my house on the horse farm. He was sitting in a tree across the street from the nest. I didn’t see anyone on the nest but the mate could have been sleeping on it and I just couldn’t see her from the street.
I spotted the peacocks wandering around the neighborhood where the eagle’s nest is located. There are now a ton of them all over the place. They were pretty quiet when I stopped by but I bet they can wake up the whole neighborhood when they start screaming.
They were all over the neighborhood.
I stopped to take a picture of the eagle in the tree and a horse came over to check me out.
At a nearby pond, I found a kildeer couple.
One of them was wandering down the sidewalk in front of the houses. His friend was across the street in front of the pond.
I was excited to see the eagle back at the horse farm. I’m hoping for another successful eagle family again this year.
Check out more sky pictures at
Some type of warbler. My first fall migration bird and I can’t tell what this is. I didn’t get a good shot of his back feathers. Any ideas?
Another view. This was the only tiny bird I saw that morning in early September.
A red shoulder hawk eyeing something in the grass.
A few butterflies are still around.
Anhinga posing for me.
Typical bee on flower.
I was driving home from the park and took the long way through a neighborhood near too far from my house to see if the eagles had come back for the winter. I had heard some of the eagles from other parks were already back. I looked over at a small pond and saw 4 kildeer in the grass. Of course I pulled over and took a couple of shots from the window. They seemed very skittish so I didn’t get out.
This is the closest I’ll get to a hooded merganser. They are so skittish. The ones that float around in the channel behind my house take off if I open the back door. It’s interesting that his beak looks like it has mini teeth on the edge, almost like a crocodile snout.
Ruddy duck floating around on top of the fish exhibit.
I think this is a fulvous whistling duck. He was quacking at an ibis to get out of his spot.
Spoony with an itch.
Close up of a spoonbill living at the aquarium.
They are very used to people so they came close to the edge of the exhibit.
This little kildeer had his own private beach next to the stingrays.
This must have been a lost sooty tern that was sick or injured and found a home here.
Oh yeah, there is fish at the aquarium. Lots of fish.
More pictures from my fun pre-Christmas trip to the Florida Aquarium. I think I like the wetlands exhibit the best since they have birds there and you can see them really close. All of the birds were injured and unable to release back in the wild so now they live here.