I’m continuing with turkey week. Only these aren’t recipes for what to cook for today’s Thanksgiving festivities. These are wild turkeys in my backyard. (Full disclosure – I am not a vegetarian. I’ll probably be eating a little turkey later today, one bought from a store). A Mom with her lone baby was feeding around in our backyard one afternoon. I went outside with my camera and was sitting in the patio chair taking these.
As I was watching baby I could see the older juvenile turkeys across the fairway. They started heading over to our side of the cart path and towards the tree island behind the building next door.
The Mom and baby started to make their way over to where the older turkeys were. I was wondering if the older turkey family would let this baby hang out with them or chase it away. I’m hoping Mom was ready to get her baby out of there but she was heading right for them.
I followed Mom and baby over to the newly formed tiny pond from the recent rain. The adults were feeding in the water, scratching around in the muck. The Mom of the juvenile turkeys was standing close by watching them feed in the water. I didn’t get too close and was taking these with my 400mm lens.
Mom and baby kept their distance. They were watching for a few minutes and then left and headed over back towards my home so I followed them back.
A few minutes later the older ones cruised by my neighbor’s yard and went around the building and left.
I eventually went around to the front yard to look for the older turkey family and saw a yellow crowned night heron and a limpkin in the lake across the street.
In late April I made a quick stop at Chesnut Park to see if there were any migrating birds hanging around. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of warblers come through here during migration but the only thing I found was the usual titmouse. They come really close because people feed them here. They come down close to the boardwalk to see if you have snacks. Once they realize you aren’t carrying they head back up to the tops of the trees.
The squirrels are also being fed here so they check you out as well.
I came home and it was still to early for lunch so I hopped on my bike and went for a quick pedal around the neighborhood. The first thing I saw was a bunny. A brown thrasher flew in front of me as I was taking a picture of the bunny. Was he posing for me?
I found a limpkin in the pond down the street from our house in the same spot the limpkin babies were last year. The water was much lower this year and at first I only saw the adult. He was calling to another limpkin that was farther down the creek.
I left my bike in the bushes and followed the creek along the golf course (no one was playing at the time) and saw another adult limpkin far in the woods. I could just barely make out a baby in the sticks. They stayed pretty hidden and eventually worked their way down behind the houses so I couldn’t follow them any farther. I’m assuming they were farther back since the water was a little higher there.
And, a random alligator that I saw in the neighborhood. This was taken with my 300mm lens and cropped so he was pretty far away.
It was early December and I was ready for another morning out with my camera. My first stop was the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. I ended up only taking a few pictures while I was there. I was busy looking for birds of which I found none.
I left the gardens and stopped at nearby McGough Park to see if there were any birds there. No birds but a lot of other critters. The bees have taken over this owl nest box.
A few of the turtles in the turtle pond.
Some of the permanently injured animals that live here (the nature center here houses animals that cannot be released back into the wild). Both owls had injured eyes.
On the way home I stopped at the Largo Nature Preserve and did find a few birds here. You can usually find limpkins along the boardwalk here and they are use to people walking by. This one was sitting on the railing and made no attempt to move as I walked by. This is not cropped.
Not surprised to find the usual birds here. A blue gray gnatcatcher, a black and white warbler and a yellow rumped warbler.
Another usual bird, a pine warbler, was pigging out on caterpillars. He ate several while I was snapping and I was lucky enough for him to show them to me.
We had a bad storm one night that formed a small pond on the other side of the golf course. Early the next morning I saw a turkey hanging around the newly formed pond. I grabbed my camera and ran out before the golfers came through. These were taken with my 400mm lens and are cropped up a little but she didn’t seem to mind me standing there. She just went about her preening and strutting around.
A limpkin stopped by while I was shooting the turkey.
The usual birds were coming through the backyard in early May. I’ve been seeing the brown thrashers pretty regularly now.
The baby bluebirds were old enough to cruise around the area. They nest in my neighbor’s nest boxes (several doors down, the neighbors have been living there for years so I think the birds are use to using their boxes). This young one was sitting on the feeder pole in the rain.
Another visit from an armadillo and I always take a shot of the squirrels if they are doing something cute. This time he was just sitting back and relaxing.
It was a quiet morning in early May at Largo Central Park Nature Preserve. I found a baby limpkin hanging out with Mom along the boardwalk. He was so cute, trying to mimic how Mom picks up shells and bangs them open but he didn’t quite have it down yet. He kept picking up empty shells and then ran over to Mom and started whining to be fed.
Later on the other side of the preserve I found another limpkin getting a snack.
A tricolored heron was skipping around over the water trying to catch some tiny fish (or maybe some tiny bugs). Using his wings, it looked like he was walking on water.
A great egret lands on the other side of the pond.
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.
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.
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.