Earlier in the summer I kept stopping by Chesnut Park to see if I could find the baby limpkins that had been spotted there. I kept missing them and I thought this trip would be a bust too. I first saw movement in the reeds along the boardwalk but it was just a green heron.
A little ways down the boardwalk I saw an adult limpkin.
I found them but they were almost fully grown at this point. There were 4 babies and they still had a little fuzz on their heads and were making that “baby is hungry” low screeching. They had just come out of the reeds and were looking around.
Mom headed into the water and found a yummy snail.
The youngest looking baby quickly swam over to her and got a bite.
I stood and watched for a while as they were busy preening and picking up empty snail shells, pretending to find a snack. They were acting like little toddlers, curiously getting into everything.
Mom continued to look for food and she ignored that little blue ball.
As I was watching the limpkins I saw movement from across the water. A least bittern came out from the other side of the reeds. He was still for a few minutes and then stood up several times as if to say “Here I am”. I thought that was a type of mating dance but I didn’t see another one anywhere. It could have been hiding deep in the reeds though.
All of a sudden it was almost noon and time to head home for lunch.
It was mid-May and I was hoping the yellow flowers were out at Myakka River State Park. Tickseed is the official Florida state wildflower and blooms naturally in central Florida during May. The park is one of the best places to see it blooming. Huge fields of yellow as far as you can see. I was hoping to see some birds as well since migration was still going on.
I ran into some other birders when I first got there and they were heading into the swamp just off the main road to see some barred owls (you could actually see the owls from the road if you knew where to look through the trees). We couldn’t find the adults but the 2 juveniles were easy to spot. They both still had a little baby fuzz on their heads. The oldest was trying to take an early morning nap until the sun hit his face. The younger one in the bottom shot was wide awake and looking around.
We then found one of the adults. She took off quickly farther into the woods.
The thistle was also blooming.
Some black bellied whistling ducks flew overhead.
There were several limpkins feeding along the bank of the river.
I watched this great blue heron play with his food for 15 minutes before leaving.
I saw a record number for me of alligators on this trip to the park. More on them and the tickseed later.
I was coming home from the grocery store early one morning and saw 2 little critters crossing the street right before my house. I slowed down and realized it was baby limpkins. I snapped the above and then went home, put up the groceries that had to go in the refrigerator, grabbed my camera, hopped on my bike and headed back down to the pond hoping they were still there.
They were still there with both parents. I’m assuming this was the family I found a few weeks earlier but there were only 4 babies instead of 5. They were about the right age to be them. I sat down on the grass and watched them for a while.
Both parents were busy feeding the babies.
The babies were busy trying to pretend to look for food but kept running back to the parents when the parents had food.
The babies were watching everything the parents did.
They were all over the place and it was impossible to get the entire family in one shot. Each parent was on opposite sides of the little pond with 2 kids. After feeding for a while they started preening and seemed to be settling into a rest time. I headed home, covered in bug bites since I forgot my bug spray.
When I was out at Lettuce Lake Park in June, the water levels were really low. The limpkins were feeding right along the boardwalk. I caught this one bringing in a snail right in front of me.
That’s when I realized the other 3 limpkins were juveniles of the adult with the snail. They looked like almost grown limpkins but were still making that wheezing “I want to be fed” baby noise and they were just a little bit smaller than Mom. One of them ran over to Mom and was trying to help her dig out the snail.
That baby got a big chunk of yummy snail.
I watched for a while as Mom brought up several snails.
The other baby was looking around picking up anything that looked like a snail but wasn’t. The third one was trying to take a nap. They were so close that I was glad I had brought my zoom lens this 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.
A limpkin family walking down the trail in the fog.
Hiding behind a tree.
Cruising by with a snack.
Lots of limpkins at Circle B Bar Reserve in late December.
I stumbled on this muscovy duck family at Lake Morton back in late May. They were so cute. They stayed close together and close to Mom. I rarely see all yellow babies so this was a treat.
Near the duck family, hidden in the reeds along the lake, was a family of limpkins. There were 3 babies that were very shy. I couldn’t get them all together. They did not want to stay in one place very long. Mom wanted to take a nap and the babies kept moving around.
A little dose of cuteness for the morning.
Linking to Saturday’s Critters
Sandhill cranes on the ground and in the air.
A red shoulder hawk hiding in the tree. I blew this out to get the details in his feathers to show up.
A young limpkin stretching.
A baby limpkin getting feed.
A tricolored heron along the water.
A baby great blue heron still on the nest. Looking all grown up but not yet ready to fly.
Green and orange flash in the bushes.
Alligators were everywhere. They were very loud since it was the beginning of mating season. Now one of the main trails is closed for the summer since the alligators spend a lot of time on the trails raising their young.
I was taking a picture of something else when I caught the above out of the corner of my eye. I quickly turned around to snap but I had the wrong settings to get a good clear picture of him. He was gone in a few seconds. I finally see one walking across the trail in front of me and did not get a good picture. I was bummed but at least I wasn’t missing a limb.