Vultures and strawberries!

Not much to see on an early morning walk at Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa in late January. Not many birds but tons of turkey vultures hanging around.

You can really tell it’s winter here with all of the leaves gone from the cypress trees that line the lake. And by winter, I mean I didn’t need more than a long sleeve tshirt to keep me warm.

Before heading home, I stopped at Medard Park to see if there was anything there since I hadn’t been in a long time. It was quiet there as well. A great blue heron preening was all that I could find.

Medard Park is in Plant City, in the middle of “strawberry” country.  Hillsborough county produces around 15% of the nation’s strawberries with over 11,000 acres. Chances are if you are eating strawberries in the winter, they came from here. There’s a farm right outside of the park and I pulled over for a few minutes and took a couple of shots of the almost-ready berries.

This is the view for miles before hitting the highway.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Summer critters on summer flowers

Lots of little critters buzzing around at Lettuce Lake in August.

Not many birds but I did see a juvenile northern parula and a red-eyed vireo.

This was the last time I saw the swallow-tail kites, in mid-August. One was flying over the boardwalk. They all left town to head south for the winter.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Birds at Lettuce Lake Park

Usual birds at Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa.

A rare bird you only see soaring high in the sky in the summer, two swallow-tail kites were cruising by while I was on top of the observation tower. One looked like he had something in his claws.

It looked like it was part of a duck or maybe a baby bird. These guys snatch baby birds right out of a nest. They eat while they are soaring, mostly dragonflies though.

A cute black bellied whistling duck cruised by as well.

I stopped by the teeny tiny golf ball size hummingbird nest before leaving the park. At first the almost grown baby was sitting alone on the nest. Then mom flew in to feed it.

Twins

Mom was napping close to the trail.

The barred owl twins were close by, very curious about everything.  They were checking out every bird, butterfly or bee that came by. They were only a short time away from fledging, days or maybe a week.

A ruby throated hummingbird was sitting on a nest near the nature center. It looked like a bug sitting on top of a golf ball with the naked eye.

The squirrels were being their usual cute selves.

A walk through Lettuce Lake Park in late March.

Lots of little birds in late March

This little titmouse seemed to be showing me his snack.

 

So many little birds at Lettuce Lake Park in late March including that little spotted Hermit thrush in the last 2 pictures (or so I was told by the bird experts at the park that morning). This was a first sighting of a hermit for me.

A little blue heron posing for me.

Taken directly into the sun, this red shoulder hawk was right over my head on the boardwalk.