A two park morning

The Florida Botanical Gardens was very quiet in late January (as it should be). It was cool out and was really looking like winter. Only a blue jay and brown thrasher made an appearance.

Heading over to nearby Largo Nature Preserve, I happen to see some drama going on with the muscovy ducks. A male intruder was trying to mate with a female who had a mate right beside her. The boyfriend tried unsuccessfully to run off the intruder. After the intruder mated and left, the female’s mate mated her as well. She was having a rough morning.

A pileated woodpecker pair were doing some damage to this utlity pole. Maybe working on a new nest? You can see the male has a red stripe on his cheek.

Lots of plants blooming at both parks.

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A two park morning

I found these leaves at McGough Nature Park in Largo back in October. They look like lacy leaves. They were spread out all along the trail. I would normally think bugs did this but it almost looks natural and I’ve seen it at several other parks. Does anyone know if this is natural?

I stopped by the turtle pond to say hi to all of the turtles swimming around.

A bunny was sitting right on the trail.

Some of the resident tortoises at the nature center.

It’s not often you get to see a Mississippi kite up close. They are pretty rare to see in the Tampa bay area and this one was rehabbing here at the center.

After leaving McGough Park, I stopped by the Largo Nature Preserve for a quick walk before heading home for lunch. It was a quiet morning so I didn’t stay long.

Snail for lunch

I pulled into the parking lot at Largo Nature Preserve and these guys were hanging out in the tree right over my car. If your choice in Florida is parking in the shade and risking bird poop on your car or parking in the sun, you park in the shade.

The tricolored heron was flitting around the boardwalk. I think he was trying to catch dragonflies.

I don’t see red ones often.

This guy was sleeping in the tree but woke up to scratch an itch.

I was excited to see the fuzzy baby limpkin.

Mom was feeding him apple snails.  Mom would pull the meat out of the snail with the end of her beak and give to the baby. By the time I found them it was almost noon and the sun was harsh. I didn’t stay long. It was time for me to head home for lunch as well.

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This could be any park

Usual birds at Largo Nature Preserve.

The usual critters as well.

All of the small city parks in Pinellas county were open (playgrounds and bathrooms were closed) in early April so I was going to the same ones just to get out and walk. The parks were quiet and spring migration hadn’t really started yet. Working from home has made me crave long walks in the parks even more. I would usually stop on the way home once or twice a week to walk after work in the spring before it got to hot but now that I”m home it’s hard to get out after work.

Too hot for the birds

Little critters at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Not many birds in early July. A cardinal with a snack and a Loggerhead Shrike

As I was leaving the gardens, I saw this hawk up on a light post. I think this is juvenile Cooper’s Hawk.

I stopped for a quick walk around the boardwalk at Largo Nature Preserve but there wasn’t much there either. I think the smart birds went north for the summer.  I found this green heron creeping around the boardwalk.

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A walk at Largo Nature Park

Northern shovelers aren’t extremely rare in the Tampa bay area but I haven’t seen any in a long time. There were 2 couples close the edge of the water at Largo Nature Preserve in late January and they didn’t seem to mind me watching them. They look a lot like mallards but have that goofy big square bill.

A snowy egret was looking for food.

A wood stork was taking a break.

A cattle egret with a bright orange bill.

Two ring billed ducks.

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Wild parakeets

The wild monk parakeets in the Tampa bay area like to nest in utility poles, water towers and lights at ballparks. I’ve never seen or heard of them nesting in trees in the area.  I was at Largo Nature Park recently which is right next to a big utility complex and the parakeets were buzzing around. They were busy chasing each other and screaming. I could hear them all over the park. It was fun to watch those flashes of green flying in and out of the utility wires especially since it would be a lot harder to see them in the trees.

Largo Nature Preserve

Little critters. The little critters in the 2nd shot are making more little critters.

A sleepy night heron and a green heron standing at attention.

A couple of grackles having words.

Some juvenile grackles waiting to be fed.

Young moorhens.

Making more young moorhens.

I’ve been seeing bunnies everywhere.

The river is starting to choke up with the above plant.

A few things from my walk at Largo Nature Preserve in late June.

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