A new bird in my backyard

My neighbors planted payaya trees on the side of the house and this little phoebe has been hanging out on the fence in front of the trees. I can see him when I’m working in the back bedroom (which for now is my “work from home” room). One day I got up and grabbed my camera and shot the above through the window. He’s gone for the summer now so I won’t see him again until September or October.

Even though cardinals are common, I don’t see them often at my feeder.

A red bellied woodpecker has been coming to the feeder every day. He’s picking out the peanuts. You can see his red belly in the first picture.

For several weeks we had a grumpy looking great blue heron on our dock or our neighbor’s dock.

This duck couple stops by every couple of days. They nap in our backyard.

A new bird to the backyard. I went outside to put food in the feeder early one morning in February and noticed a small bird sitting on my neighbor’s sailboat mast. Once in a while we get an osprey or red shoulder hawk sitting up there but this bird was much smaller. I realized it was a kestrel and ran inside and grabbed my camera and walked out on the dock and he was still sitting there while I took his picture. Then a crow came by and chased him off. I don’t see kestrels often, usually at Fort Desoto so I was surprised to see him here.

Starlings took over our tree right before dark.

Things in the backyard including some weird fungus growing in our mulch after a long rain. We often get small mushrooms in the grass after a rain but this orange thing was a first. Being the nerd that I am, I looked it up and it’s a columned stinkhorn.  It’s common in Florida in mulch beds and it’s suppose to smell horrible if you break it.  Luckily I left it there and it’s gone now. I wonder if an animal ate it.

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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Quackers in my neighborhood.

Beautiful Blondie came by with her babies in early May. Swimming right by our dock.

A mallard family in one of our neighborhood ponds. They came running up to me to see if I had something to give them. I didn’t but someone has been feeding them.

A muscovy mom with her 8 babies in another pond. She started with 13. I’ve been keeping track of her on my walks and she’s now down to 5 babies but they are pretty big so they just might make it.

Just being outside

In late April, I went out for a walk at Crescent Lake Park. It would be hard to close this park down since it’s really just a small lake with a sidewalk around it in a neighborhood. Although the baseball field was empty and the fenced in dog park area was closed. There were several fitness classes going on in the open grass under the trees. The groups were small and everyone was spread out. Looks like people just moved the gym outdoors.

A female grackle in the reeds.

At first I thought this grackle was just standing on one leg but when he flew up into the tree I realized he was missing a leg.

I cannot seem to get a good shot of the otter there. This time he was coming right at me and I would be shooting right into the sun. He was chewing something in the middle of the lake and then disappeared across the other side of the lake. He’s always so quick and doesn’t stay still for a second. I’ve heard there are several here but I’ve only seen one.

Blooming things along the lake.

This was my “just being outside” shot of the day.

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A walk around a lake

There were two white pelicans and one brown pelican floating in Crescent Lake near downtown St. Pete recently. The white ones were feeding close to the edge of the lake.

You can always find wood storks here.

Other usual critters include wintering ring billed ducks, lots of green herons, a cute mallard with a feather hat and plenty of turtles. One thing I’ve never seen here is alligators. I’m sure they are there under the water. I’ve only ever been early in the morning so they may be on the bank sunning themselves late in the afternoon.

This ring billed gull would have preferred a handout.

Birds and manatees at the zoo

A mallard was stealing food from the primates.

I love seeing the marabou storks.

A wild egret high up in a tree.

One of the resident eagles who’s missing a wing sits high up in a tree as well. He hops along the big oak tree until he can see over the exhibit.

The lorikeets were flirting.

Beautiful faces in the aviaries.

The manatees were eating close to the glass. It was fun watching them up close but it’s sad that there are so many here right now rehabilitating in the manatee hospital Most of these guys will be released once they are well enough. Many are here due to boat strikes or getting sick from the cold water or red tide.

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Hoodies in my hood.

I ran into Blondie on my walk around the neighborhood pond.

Later I came back with my camera (really to shoot the hoodies below and she just happen to be there).

It’s not often I see hooded mergansers in my own duck pond. Usually we just have mallards and muscovy ducks. I was heading home one Saturday afternoon and saw the big white circle on his head out of the corner of my eye and turned around. Luckily I had my camera in the car and was able to hide behind a tree for a few minutes when they swam by. They are very skittish.

The tricolored heron standing near the old fountain (that’s never turned on anymore) was looking at me like I was crazy.

In the backyard in June.

Starlings took over our backyard a long time ago but this is the first time I noticed them nesting. My neighbor has a dead palm tree that sits up against our fence and for weeks I kept seeing this starling popping her head out of a hole in the side facing our kitchen window. There was also one sitting on the top of the stump most of the time. I never saw any babies poking out but weeks later I saw an adult feeding several young ones in our neighbor’s yard.

It’s that time of the year when mama ducks are cruising the channels with babies.

One morning I saw the above woodpecker in a hole higher up in the dead tree. The woodpecker spent all morning cleaning out this hole so I thought we’d have babies at some point but I think she ended up not staying. A few days later I saw a starling going in the same hole and I haven’t seen the woodpecker since.

We have 2 Bismark palms in our backyard that are about 5 years old and this is the first time I’ve seen something blooming inside of them. It’s weird that they are suppose to be the same tree but the blooms look completely different.

Hibiscus on the side of the yard.

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Lots of babies

It’s always fun to see baby swans. Both mute swans and black swans had babies at Lake Morton in early May.

A tiny limpkin baby hiding in the reeds while mom looks for food.

Baby mallards looking for bugs.

An older baby mallard.

Pretty ducks and swans.

White pelicans were still hanging around the lake.

Pretty weeds growing along the bank of the lake.

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Visiting friends in the rain

I hadn’t been to Horsepower for Kids horse farm/sanctuary in a while so I stopped by on the way home after a walk at Chesnut Park. It had started raining so I walked around with my umbrella since the weather had cooled off.

Said “Hi” to the chickens and pigs. The one above came over to give me a snort.

The mandarin duck family seems to be growing there.

The kids out for a ride did not seem to mind the rain.

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