In the yard in June

We’ve had some beautiful skies in June. This was looking across the fairway before the storm hit.

Later I was peeking out the window and caught this lightning with my phone.

Sunset across the street.

These were all blooming on my neighbor’s wall. We share a courtyard.

I was coming back from the mailbox and this bunny was in our yard. I couldn’t believe he was still there when I went in and got my camera and came back out. I’ve been seeing one every couple of days. I wonder if it’s the same one. I call him Peter.

The usual visitors in the backyard. All taken through the window.

I finally got a shot of a great crested flycatcher. I’ve been hearing them calling for months but they always stay high up in the trees. One morning I was sitting outside and had my camera with me and was able to catch him.

Baby bluebird was yelling at Mom to feed him (or her). Taken through the window, they were far out on the golf course.

Squirrels being cute in the backyard.

SkyWatch Friday

Possum Branch Preserve

Since Possum Branch Preserve is close to my house now I’ve been stopping by there for a quick walk pretty regularly before it gets to hot. Most of the time I only see the usual birds and the red winged blackbirds are the most common. Above is a female.

There was an American bittern that spent the winter here. Most of the time he was hidden in the reeds but I managed to catch him coming out to feed one morning.

There was a blue winged teal here for a short time.

Little blue herons are everywhere but I thought he looked pretty against the green.

A sora rail also spent the winter here but I only caught hime once. He also hides in the reeds most of the time and blends in well.

I saw this big guy napping from across the pond.

By the time I got around to the other side he had turned around. These are super cropped up.

This one is also cropped up. This guy was a little smaller.

In the yard in January

I pulled back the curtains one recent morning and saw deer in my neighbor’s yard. I tried to quietly crack the door open so I could take some pictures. They eventually saw me but kept on eating in the area.

I went back inside and a few minutes later I saw them heading across the golf course and towards the woods (the golfers would be coming through soon). I snapped the above with my phone. You can just see the last deer (to the left of the tree) as they left. They never seem to stay in one spot long, always moving around and always close to the woods.

For early January, the squirrels were already getting frisky. One is always snoozing on the broken branch. All taken through the window.

Yes, we are getting blooms in January. The temperature this month fluxuates between 78 degrees and 50 degrees.

We had an ibis hanging around the back door and a juvenile blue heron grabbing a frog at the end of our driveway.

Beautiful skies with the sunset in the front pond as I was getting the mail. One night I saw the red clouds and ran out on the golf course right before dark.

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Critters from my yard.

More shots of the little titmouse around my bird bath. I have taken around a gazillion pictures but it’s hard to stop when I’m out walking around. They love to pose for me.

A few other visitors in early November. There are a ton of downy and red bellied woodpeckers in the neighborhood. I’ve seen a few pileated woodpeckers go flying by but I have yet to get pictures of them.

I’ve seen several black and white warblers in my big oak tree.

A yellow throated warbler in the palm tree up against our townhome.

A chickadee looking around under the patio chairs.

This juvenile little blue heron was creeping around the grass. All of the above were taken through the window.

If I stand on the end of my patio, I can see my neighbor’s bird feeder a few houses down from ours. He’s always got birds on his feeder (although mostly blue birds and pine warblers). After taking these and zooming in, I realize he had dried mealworms in his feeder. I only have mixed seed and I’m only getting titmouse at my feeder although I have gotten a few pine warblers as well. I may have to step up my feeder game.

A pine warbler on my feeder (through the window).

I was walking back from getting my mail and this hawk was in the short palm tree next to my driveway. He watched me walk right by him and didn’t move. I ran in and got my camera and he was flying off as I walked out. He flew down to the grass and looked like he was stalking something but eventually he flew to a lightpost empty handed.

After the hawk flew off I realized there was a bluebird on the power line right over my head. It was almost dark at this point but he sat there for a while.

A few more critters in the backyard. The squirrels like to sit on this low palm  tree up against our house while snacking.

Things in the backyard

I was out in the backyard in early September and noticed this mallard trying to eat something that was bobbing in the water. I ran and got my camera and headed down to the dock and realized it was a mango. He was chowing down on it.

After 17 years in our house, we finally had a dragonfly come in. He was flying around for a while. We opened the doors and was waving around a broom and mop and was finally able to shoo him out into the screened in porch. I then opened the porch door and eventually he flew out but not before I was able to get this close up of him. He had a beautiful green color on his head.

Later in the week it was raining. We had a wet green heron hanging out on our dock in the rain and the mallards have been visiting for a while.

Squirrels like to hang out on the top of our down spout when it’s raining to stay dry. I took this through the sliding door and the screen.

We’ve been getting regular visits from 2 female mallards lately. They scrounge around under the bird feeder for fallen seed. One morning I looked out the window and realized they had brought friends. We also get ibis on a regular basis.

Looking out the side window from my desk, I see a dove sitting on the fence. Later a little blue heron was on our neighbor’s shed.

Taken through the window, this lizard had the cutest toes.

Sunset from the backyard.

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Grabbing my camera

I was peeking out the bedroom window to see if it was raining and saw this green heron hop up on the dock with a fish. I ran and grabbed my camera and snapped these through the window. I knew if I walked outside he would get spooked and fly off.

A few days later I saw a butt sticking up and was able to catch this little blue heron eating a crab off the dock.It seems like there’s lots of good seafood in our channel. I should be charging them a la carte.

Of course when I see baby ducks heading down the channel I grab my camera and run outside. This family was in front of our dock in late July. The babies were trying to eat the mangrove leaf.

As I was sitting at my desk in the bedroom working, I was watching this slug cruising across the pane. I grabbed my camera and took this wih my macro lens. Cool to see the other side.

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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The bird rookery

Catching a little blue heron lift off.

Snowy egrets were showing off.

Baby great egrets were screaming for Mom to feed them.

The sky over the Tampa rookery was busy in early April. It was like standing at the airport during the holidays watching the planes take off.

The cormarants and anhingas are usually high up in the trees but I saw this anhinga sitting on a nest low on the other side of the rookery.

There were many other birds at the rookery besides the usual egrets and herons. A night heron, a female red winged blackbird and a catbird were also sighted. I was excited to see the glossy ibis here in the bottom picture but it looked like the couple was working on a nest on the backside of the rookery so seeing little glossy babies is a slim chance.

Colors in the backyard

Shots from my backyard on different nights in the last few months. The pink and purple ones are from the same night (and I did not change those colors). It was from right before the storm came in and then you can see the rain moving down the channel. Even though we can see all of the neighbor’s yards, we have a great view of the sunset.

We had a male house finche at our feeder for several days in April. This was the first time in years that I had seen one here.

Starlings have been nesting in our neighbor’s boat lift. I think this is a young one. They usually hit the grass when the babies are first flying and pick out all of the bugs but lately we’ve been getting a lot at the feeder.

A little blue heron on our neighbor’s dock.

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I thought this was a new bird

No, none of the above are the new bird. These are old birds I saw before I found the new one.  I had heard about a northern harrier being seen pretty consistently at Circle B Bar Reserve for a while but I was trying not to chase new birds since I don’t seem to have much luck finding them after everyone else has seen them. Finally after several weeks of hearing about this bird I headed over for a walk fully expecting not to see it.  All of the usual birds could be found as I walked down the trail. A red winged blackbird, a turkey vulture, a red shoulder hawk and even a cooper’s hawk that was trying to hide in the trees.

The usual birds were flying close by. A night heron and a great blue heron.

A common sight in the winter at the reserve, black bellied whistling ducks cruising around.

Across the lake, I could see 2 eagles sitting up to the right of their big nest.

A little blue heron found a worm in the water.

Here he is. My first northern harrier. I wasn’t standing there alone. There were at least 20 other people in the area looking for the bird. He showed up far across the marsh and then slowly started cruising towards the trail.

He flew by several times and then perched on a dead tree right in front of the trail. It’s his face that makes him different. From the side he almost has an owl-like face. Harriers are not extremely rare in central Florida but this is the first one I’ve heard of at any of the main parks so it was easy to find him. He was only here for the winter but maybe he’ll come back next year. After digging around in some older posts, I realized that I had seen a harrier back in 2016 at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. The shot was a far away blurry pin dot shot so I’m not really counting that sighting (am I?).

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