A blurry new duck on a yucky day

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My first common goldeneye  from very far away. I had to stand on a picnic table to catch him when he swam away from the tall reeds in front of the lake. This was taken with my 300mm lens and extremely cropped up. Bad shot but at least I can add him to my list. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of one being in the area.

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These little grebes were looking at me like I was crazy. Standing in the drizzle looking for a duck.

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After a while, the clouds started to disappear. This kingfisher was watching me watching him.

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Now watching me on a pole in the lake.

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This spoonbill agreed with the grebes.  I think he was laughing at me.

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Moorhen with the big yellow feet.

The goldeneye had been reported for a few weeks at the lake that Boyd Hill Nature Preserve sits on. It was across the lake from the park at a boat ramp. I finally made it over there in late January. It had been raining and I almost didn’t go. Luckily it stopped raining and the sun came out.  I’m glad I braved the weather since now I have a new duck for my list!

Backyard birds during the holidays

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In the morning, I saw this great blue heron on my neighbor’s dock.

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Later in the afternoon, he was sleeping on our dock.

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Every once in a while he would look around. I call him Mr. Grumpy Face.

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Back to sleep.

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The neighborhood osprey was back again with lots of annoying visitors.

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A ring billed gull sat across the boat lift from the osprey. Watching his every bite.

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That’s a big fish. I don’t know why he wouldn’t share.

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Then a kingfisher landed on the same side.

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The kingfisher took off after a few minutes when he realized the osprey wasn’t giving up his lunch.

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Then a few minutes later, a little blue heron starts to bother him.

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Not in my backyard but in my in-laws front yard. A screech owl has been sleeping in the roof overhang on the corner of their house. He’s there sporadically. I finally put my camera and long lens in the car on Christmas day and was able to get the above when we pulled into the driveway. I think we’re going to have to name him.

All of the above except for the last picture were taken through the bedroom window during Christmas week.

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Birds at Bok Tower Gardens

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I was sitting quietly on a bench waiting for the rufous hummingbirds to come back and this towhee came out from the bushes and started digging around for snacks in the ground.

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He got pretty close to me but I was afraid he would get spooked if I raised my camera. He stayed right there as I took this picture.

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This hawk was sitting in a tree close to the bench and right after I snapped this he took off. I heard him screaming and a kingfisher screaming close by.

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I ran into the window blind that looks over a little pond and the hawk was chasing the kingfisher around the pond. I couldn’t get a good picture of the chase through the glass but was able to shoot the kingfisher sitting on a bird house in front of the window.

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I headed to the other end of the gardens and heard the red headed woodpeckers calling close by.

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They were banging away on the trees.

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Something in this hole had his interest.

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I saw three adults but I heard there were more there.

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Zooming over my head.

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This juvenile was all alone nearby. I’m not sure how long it takes for them to get their full red head.

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A red bellied woodpecker with a big nut in his beak. Taken right into the sun.

A few of the birds I saw on my recent trip to Bok Tower Gardens. I saw several rufous hummingbirds flying around but could not get a shot of them in the shade. They did not sit still the entire hour I was watching them. They would fly high over the trees and then come back 10 minutes later. I guess that’s a good reason for another trip over there.

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On the beach at Fort Desoto

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A regular on the beach. About a year ago, this oystercatcher had some fishing line wrapped around his leg and was cutting off the circulation. Someone took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook and a team of people were able to catch him and get the line off. You can still see the ring around his leg just above his foot.

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Not a regular but a once in a while visitor, the piping plover.

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The great blue heron kept walking back and forth right behind this guy and kept getting closer. We finally got his attention and told him to turn around. By then the heron was too close for him to even get a shot.

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Someone on the beach told me this was a merlin. He was across the  marsh so this is extremely cropped. It could also be a cooper’s hawk. Anyone know which?

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A kingfisher flew over my head with a fish stuck on his beak. She took off into the woods to enjoy her snack alone.

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A juvenile night heron has a crab.

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Oh no, he dropped it.

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He got it back quickly.

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And gulped it down fast before it could get away again.

A quiet but perfect morning in mid-September at Fort Desoto.

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On the side of the road

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I had heard there were a few avocets in a field near Cockroach Bay. Since I still haven’t seen these birds, I figured I would drive the almost hour trip to try to find them. The field was covered with thousands of birds. There was only access to view the field on one side which faces directly into the sun. The rest of the field was fenced off. I looked for an hour and did not find the avocets. Most of the birds were least terns with a few sanderlings, plovers and starlings thrown in. Oh well, maybe one day.

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I did see a belted kingfisher flying over a lake off in the distance.

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This guy was sitting on the side of the road. I’m not sure if he was checking out a snack. He eventually flew off. I think this is a juvenile red shoulder hawk.

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I was leaving the area to head back to town and saw a pair of sandhill cranes on the side of the road. Of course, I pull over and snapped a few pictures.

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I love their “heart” heads.

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Cows were chewing near the side of the road. I pulled off hoping to get the “cattle egret sitting on the back of the cow” shot. Not this time.

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Another cow got curious and came close to the fence. He started to creep me out a little and I was going to jump back in my car but he turned around.

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A brown cow farther back looked up with grass hanging out of his mouth.

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#47 also had grass hanging out of his mouth.

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You know it’s a slow day when I get excited about taking pictures of cows.

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Heading home, I had to drive back over the Sunshine Skyway bridge. A quick stop at the rest area and I was home in less than an hour.

Linking up to Saturday’s Critters

Quiet December walk at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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Female kingfisher posing in front of the yellow flowers.

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A male was at the other end of the park sitting in the rain. This was the first time in 5 years I’ve been caught in the rain there. Luckily I was close to the rain shelter. The rain stopped after 10 minutes.

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White eyed vireo.

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Blue gray gnatcatchers were all over the trails.

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White ibis tree.

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Pink dragonfly.

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The usual alligator trying to hide behind the yellow flowers.

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I was told this was a banded water snake. They are not poisonous but it was nice that it was far off the trail.

The yellow flowers were still out in mid-December. The reserve was beautiful still in full bloom. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary though. It was a warm Saturday morning.

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Thanksgiving weekend visitors to the backyard.

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The female hooded mergansers showed up about a week after the males. Where were they? Out shopping for shoes?

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Our little kingfisher has been hitting our corner of the channel often. I guess it’s time to give him a name. Maybe Henry, after King Henry XIII.

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The resident osprey eating again. This time he had the dock all to himself. Fish instead of turkey anyone?

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A great blue heron stopped by. He was walking in the channel when the tide was very low.

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Later he was napping on the dock.

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This palm warbler has been walking around the backyard for weeks now. I don’t see him at the feeder. Just wandering around in the grass.

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The squirrels are ruining our screen on the porch. They go running across it or up it to get to the roof of the house and their little claws pull on the screen. After years of this the screens are starting to look worn and are being pulled out of the sides. We could have the porch re-screened but how do we keep the squirrels off? Getting a dog is not an option since I’m allergic. I could try something silly like putting one of those big plastic owls on the roof of the porch. It really doesn’t work for the birds but maybe squirrels? People put them on their docks to keep the pelicans from sleeping and pooping all over their docks but I see pelicans sleeping right next to the fake owl. I’ve seen osprey sitting on top of them eating their fish. These birds are smart. Are the squirrels smart too?

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