A weekend in the backyard – Skywatch Friday

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Little blue heron creeping along the fence.

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An immature blue heron still in his white first year feathers. He’s just starting to get some blue tint around his face. He was walking around the dock.

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Two white ibis land on my boat lift.

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Off he goes. I think he saw me in the window.

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My neighbor’s bottle brush tree in full bloom.

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Back in early March, we had two manatees sleeping right in front of our dock. They stayed there most of the afternoon. I walked out on the dock and snapped these. They had their backs to our house most of the time so I couldn’t get any front of the face shots.

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 I went back out at sunset and they were still there.

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We had a few clouds when I first went out. View from the backyard.

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A little later, the clouds went by and it was a full sun. The sun goes right down the middle of the channel behind our house for about two weeks in March and October. In the winter it goes down behind the trees on the far left and in the summer behind the trees on the right. It’s really bright in the house for those two weeks.

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After going back in the house, I looked out the window one last time and noticed an anhinga sleeping in my neighbor’s tree.

A few things in the backyard during March. There hasn’t been too much since. We regularly get doves but since we cut down our fruit trees, we don’t get much else anymore. The manatees were a nice treat and we should see them more now that summer is here.  It would be nice if they would turn around and smile for me though.

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Manatees staying warm – Skywatch Friday

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A view of the TECO plant (Tampa Electric Company) from the boardwalk of the Manatee Viewing Center.

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In the same spot on the boardwalk, when you look down into the water, you see lots of dots all over the place. The water was full of manatees keeping warm in the runoff water from the plant.

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The water was fairly clear and you could see the boat scare marks on the tops of the manatees.

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Several swam right up to the boardwalk.

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This one was sticking his nose out pretty far.

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The viewing center has other cool stuff besides manatees. There’s usually a few shorebirds hanging around. They have a butterfly garden with signs on how to grow your own. You can see displays on how to make a rain barrel. And you can see by their cool boat garden, what to do with old boats.  It felt really cold and windy in early March when we visited. My sister, visiting from South Dakota, didn’t think it was as cold as I did but she still had on a jacket. At 50 degrees, it was still better than the 2 feet of snow she had at home. I didn’t get any pictures of the best part of the trip. When we walked out on the concrete sidewalk that goes out into the water, there were two dolphins feeding right up against the sidewalk barrier. They were so close I couldn’t get a shot but it was fun to watch them swimming up against the wall.

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