Working from home

More storms were coming in mid-July. It had been raining for days and Thunderstorm Elsa was about to hit the Tampa bay area in the middle of the night. Earlier in the afternoon, it had been upgraded to a Hurricane 1 but we got lucky and the storm fell apart right before it hit and we only got rain. Two days before, the city was getting ready for the storms and moved all of the cranes working along the Howard Frankland bridge closer into the bay. They tied them all together to create one big crane raft. It was weird to see driving across the bridge. I crossed this bridge everyday for 18 years going to work but now I rarely do since I’ve been working from home.

With all of the rain we had, mushrooms were popping up everywhere around the  neighborhood. The orange ones were in our mulch.

This guy was squirming his way across the driveway.

One morning before work I went for a quick walk in the neighborhood. I saw this muscovy duck sitting high up in a tree. I’ve seen them in trees before but not usually that high up. Then I saw the egg sitting right where the branches split off. Sadly it probably fell at some point.

Back at my house, we had 4 ducks hanging out in our backyard for several days. I think they were looking for fallen bird seed. The doves usually eat that pretty quick so there isn’t much left for the ducks.

While sitting at my desk in the bedroom I had been seeing this lizard walking across the screen almost every day for a week. She has that same short tail so I knew it was the same one. She kept me company for a while. Of course one day I had to stand up and snap a picture.

Then one day I saw this. I guess she found a boyfriend. After this I didn’t see her again. I miss that short tailed lizard.

At lunch I can usually catch squirrels chasing each other across our screened porch. While it’s cute, long term they can do damage to the screens so I try and chase them off but it doesn’t always work.

I’m still working from home. We were suppose to go back in the office, at least part time, in the middle of this month but it has been pushed out to early 2022. I don’t miss sitting in traffic, especially crossing that bridge for 45 minutes every night. If it was crawling, I would look for dolphins or count the osprey eating fish on the light posts (22 was the highest count several years ago). I don’t miss seeing my co-workers since we have video calls on Teams several times a day.

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All of the critters were feasting.

The usual things to see at Possum Branch Preserve.

Alligators are also usual things there. That alligator in the first one thinks that grass is hiding him. That alligator coming up behind him knew he was there.

There were no spring migrating birds feeding in the mulberry tree but the woodpecker was getting his fill.

This female red winged blackbird had 2 snacks, a caterpillar and a dragonfly.

Another usual suspect here is a brown thrasher.

Not a usual suspect in the mulberry trees right before I left.  A small flock of cedar waxwings landed on the back side of the tree. I’ve seen them here once before several years ago. It was hard to get shots of them on the back side of the tree that backs up to the pond full of gators. Standing under the tree I could see several at the top with their faces covered in berry juice. They are such an elegant bird, always so clean. I felt like I should have offered them a napkin but I left them to their mulberry buffet.

My Corner of the World

A hot morning at Bok Tower Gardens

I love the flowers at Bok Tower Gardens. For some reason they look so pretty here.

I didn’t see many birds on this walk. Above is a juvenile red bellied woodpecker and close by was a parent. The little brown one is a young fuzzy Carolina wren hiding in a palm tree.

The sun coming through the lizard’s throat.

There were several eastern tiger swallowtails flying around.

The view of the top of the carillon tower from the vegetable garden.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

Lunchtime in the backyard

My internet was down and I had just finished lunch,  The weather was cool and I knew there wouldn’t be many more days like this so I grabbed by camera and macro lens and went outside for a quick walk around the yard. All of the shots were taken in my yard including the purple flower which I realized as I got up close that it was covered in little green bugs. The red spider is a spiny orb weaver and is harmless.

My Corner of the World

In the neighborhood

I’ve recently been seeing an eagle sitting on top of a utility pole just outside my neighborhood. I guess they are back for the winter.

Some critters in my front yard. I think that lizard lives underneath my mailbox on the wall.I only see him at night. The frog was on my garage door.

It had just stopped raining and a very wet hawk was sitting on my neighbor’s sailboat mast. You can see mold growing on the mast. In 15 years, we’ve never seen them take the sailboat out.

Dolphins were right in front of our dock. It’s rare to see them in the channels. They usually stay out in the bay or only come in the first main channel.

Sun going down in the backyard.

The sun peaked out right after a storm before setting and turned everything orange.

The September full harvest moon. Reminds me that Halloween is coming.

SkyWatch Friday

In the backyard

Monarch caterpillars in the backyard this past couple of months. In late December, they all disappeared and the leaves were stripped so we cut back the milkweed plants.

Our milkweed plants were overrun with the above bugs. The caterpillars didn’t seem to mind. We didn’t want to spray the bugs since the butterflies would be on the plants. Since we cut the plants back the bugs are gone, although I’m sure they will come back once the plants start to grow back this spring.

This little guy was watching me take pictures of the bugs. I kept asking him why he didn’t eat them all. He said he preferred fries.

Wasps on the Bismark palm tree.

Usual visitors in the backyard, an osprey on our neighbor’s sailboat mast and a phoebe with a snack on our fence. The phoebe is pretty skittish so I had to take the above through the bedroom window.

A full moon in December from the driveway.

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In Our Yard.

Late summer babies. Blondie came back in August with another new baby.

The usual critters in our yard during the past few months.

One day I came home from work and grabbed the mail from the mailbox that is on the side of our house next to the front door. This guy came out with the mail. I dropped the mail to the ground and was glad he didn’t land on me. I think I woke him up.

The muhly grass blooms pink in the fall. These started blooming in late October.

Different skies in the front and back yards.

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A trip down south (south Florida)

Every year in the winter Brett and I head down to the Miami area for a long weekend to visit some relatives before it gets too hot. This past February we were looking for something to do with his aunt and uncle and were going to be close to Homestead one afternoon so we stopped at the Fruit and Spice Park.  We were way down south of Miami right before heading to the Keys. Lots of farmland down there. The park is a farm that grows different exotic spices and fruits that you can tour. We took a long tram ride with a guide who explained all of the different plants that are farmed there. We got to taste and smell some of them. It was a nice way to relax and spend the afternoon outdoors and I took a ton of pictures.

The above Rainbow Gum tree was very cool. As the bark peels off, it exposes different colors. It can only be grown in frost-free areas of the country.

There were lots of critters crawling around from the pretty green lizard to the big iguanas. The kids on the tram went crazy over them and we stopped and were allowed to get pretty close.

More to come on this trip down “south”.

SkyWatch Friday

In the backyard

A house sparrow on our dock. They nest in the hole on the side of the dock.

A hawk sitting on our fence.

An anhinga getting a snack on our neighbor’s dock.

A woodpecker getting a snack on our palm tree.

A blue jay giving me a funny look while sitting on our neighbor’s boat.

Things on our muhly grass.

The moon in the backyard in the morning.

Just a few things in our backyard in the past couple of weeks.

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