A two park morning

I stopped at nearby Folly Farms to see if I could find some hummingbirds in the butterfly garden. I only found butterflies but there were lots of yellow ones which I don’t see often.

I caught this downy woodpecker with something in his beak. It looks like a cocoon. He pulled it out of a hole in the fence.

I stopped at Possum Branch Preserve on the way home. As I headed out on the trail I caught a limpkin flying by and an osprey overhead looking for fish.

The bunnies were still around long after Easter. This one was snacking in the mimosa groundcover which blankets the preserve in the spring.

This goes under “the one that got away”. This was the only shot I got of the boblonk. It was a female. I saw the pair several times from far away as they were flying off. I had seen them here several years ago but was bummed I couldn’t get a decent shot. Hopefully they will stop by next year.

The cedar waxwings were still there, hanging out on the far end of the preserve.

SkyWatch Friday 

Is if fall yet?!?

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.

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More from the Veterans Memorial Park

More pictures from the Veteran’s Memorial Park in east Tampa. I took so many pictures and had to post most of them. You can see my first post here. The above were taken in the WW2 section.

You can see the cool helicopters from all over the park.  Once I got into the Vietnam section, I could really see the details. You could see into the bottom of this one and it had a camera in the floor. I tried to imagine someone flying this and taking pictures over enemy territory.

The one with the teeth across the front was also impressive. I wonder if it was painted this way when it was in use?

There was also a memorial to the dogs used in the military.

The park is in a beautiful setting and was a perfect way to spend a morning walking around under the trees learning about the history.

The park sits on the Bypass Canal and of course I spent some time walking along the water looking for birds. The only ones I found were two limpkins. One was a juvenile, still yelling at Mom to feed it.

There were a lot of hibiscus bushes in the park, which are are my Dad’s favorite.

Speaking of my Dad, here he is going into boot camp. He was over in Germany in 44 and 45.

He had a camera permit while he was overseas. He had a photo album full of pictures taken overseas that I didn’t even know existed until we found it after he died. I still have his camera pass. He would have been 97 years old last week.

SkyWatch Friday

Critters in my new backyard

Behind our new townhome is a tree lined golf course. There’s also a small pond a few homes down. The first week we moved in I went for a quick walk early in the morning before work along the tree line.  I’ve seen several limpkins in the pond so I’m hoping for limpkin babies next summer.

Right outside our home, I found an ovenbird deep in the bushes.

There’s always noisy mockingbirds anywhere in Florida.

Is it Thanksgiving yet? My second turkey sighting in the neighborhood. When we were doing some work on the home before we moved in, we could see several turkeys across the golf course. The week we moved in they were right down the street so I ran and got my camera.

Little birds in the trees. I think these are palm warblers.

A great egret out my back door (taken through the window)

There are palm warblers everywhere. The golf course is full of them on the ground if there are no golfers playing.

A parula out the back door (also taken through the window).

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A hot morning in August

A quiet (swampy) place to reflect. Just ignore the Beware of Alligators sign on the right.

This one was watching me as he cruised in front of the dock.

I found a few wood ducks in front of the dock at Chesnut Park.

Young cardinals were all over the park. They were all pretty scruffy looking, not having gotten their adults feathers in all the way yet.

A limpkin trying to hide behind some weeks.

The little chickadees were so cute. There were a lot of them here in early August. I saw my first one here at this park more than 10 years ago and then didn’t see any for a long time. Now I’ve seen a few around on most of my visits in the past few years.

After leaving Chesnut Park and heading home, I stopped at a small park nearby on the bay to see if anything was around the fishing pier. I had fun watching this dog romp around in the low tide. He stuck his tongue in the water for a drink but he did not like that salty water.

The one that got away. After taking a bunch of pictures of the dog in the water, I look up and see the back of an eagle heading the other way. I’ll have to keep an eye out here during the winter to see if there’s a nest nearby.

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Chesnut Park

Heading into Chesnut Park I always have to stop at the baseball field if there are deer in the outfield. They only hang out there very early and are usually gone into the woods before 8am.

This little blue heron was blocking the boardwalk out to the dock. Do I walk past him and spook him or just wait?  I would usually wait but there is always someone coming up behind me that’s not going to wait. He jumped down in the reeds and quickly pulled up a crawfish.

I saw 2 Limpkin heads poking out in the reeds and looking closer realized they had babies with them. I waiting until they hit a clearing and was able to snap a few shots of them.

Color on the boardwalk in June.

Walking through the tree path.

The view from the parking lot. The small pond was very quiet this morning.

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All of the usual things

Right when I got to Largo Nature Preserve and was getting out of the car this swallow tail kite flew so close to me that I cut him off. He flew over some trees and I couldn’t find him again.

The usual birds were there. A cattle egret, limpkin and a night heron.

The usual Florida critters were also there.

I did a quick lap around the paved trail and saw this almost grown baby screech owl peaking out of the hole in the tree. I looked for a while for the parent in the area but couldn’t find one. Those tiny owls are good at hiding. I did not stick around to find out if the parent came in to feed the baby but I’m sure it did at some point.

A red bellied woodpecker was popping in and out of this hole but we were all interested in the flickers nesting in the tree next door. More on that to come.

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Crescent Lake Park

The usual birds at Crescent Lake Park in downtown St. Pete.

Monk parakeet hiding in a tree.

There’s a tree across the lake in someone’s yard that was full of these blooms. Now I wished I had taken a picture with my phone of the entire tree. It was beautiful.

My favorite water tower.

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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.

My Corner of the World

A surprise limpkin family

Little critters in the flower beds.

Pretty things around the botanical gardens in Largo including some type of fruit.

In the butterfly garden, the flowers were starting to over-grow in late May.

A Carolina wren watching me take pictures of the bees.

I found a limpkin family across one of the ponds. I haven’t seen baby limpkins in a long time and there were two with this parent. They were still pretty small and stayed close to Mom.

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