Disappointing visit to Medard Park

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Some type of moth on the leaves.

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Leftovers.

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Some animal lost his meal on the boardwalk. There was a pile of half digested berries. The moths were chowing down.

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Up close.

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A black bellied whistling duck in Florida in July! This is a first for me. I usually only see them at Circle B Bar Reserve in the winter. I guess this one was staying for the summer. He wasn’t alone. Another one was hiding in the reeds.

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Tiny flowers in the grass.

It was hot. I had not been to Medard Park in east Tampa in a long time. I had heard the park sprayed to get rid of the apple snails (which I know is invasive) but now the limpkins don’t have as much to eat. I didn’t see a single limpkin which was very disappointing. I also heard the snail kites which have nested there for a couple of summers were gone.  The lake was full from all of the rain. The area around the boardwalk looked different. Almost barren of any wildlife. Maybe it’s just the time of year (although other parks are still pretty busy). Last year I got some of my favorite snail kite pictures at this park. I might have to scratch this park off my list. It’s just too far to drive.

Shine the Divine

A walk around a neighborhood lake

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This is the first time I’ve seen a heron sitting like this on the grate. The tricolored heron was blending in. I guess he’s comfortable.

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Green heron looking around.

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Common moorhen looking at his reflection. It’s funny how his legs match his beak.

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A small turtle basking in the sun.

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As I’m walking around the lake, in the middle of a neighborhood, I heard a hawk calling from high up in a tree right over someone’s house. It took me a minute to find him in the tree.

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After a few minutes he took off.

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Flying around the houses, another hawk was calling him. He eventually flew away.

I had gone to Medard Park in east Tampa early on a Saturday morning. On the way home I stopped at a small lake that is in the middle of a neighborhood. It’s a popular place for joggers, dog walkers and bikers to get their work out so it’s surprising to me the amount of wildlife here. Although, this morning was pretty quiet. I had stopped to see if I could find the purple gallinule babies I had seen a month earlier as tiny babies. No luck but they could have been anywhere that morning.

Camera Critters

Vultures eating green foam at Medard Park

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An osprey hovering, looking for breakfast over the lake.

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Female grackles were lined up on the boardwalk.

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Female red-winged blackbird looking at me.

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Juvenile red-winged blackbird showing off.

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If there aren’t a lot of fishermen on the boardwalk in the morning, you can usually find a few limpkins standing on the rail.

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Up-close bee shot (there weren’t many birds there).

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Damselfly

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There’s a sign at the boat ramp parking lot warning that vultures will tear apart your windshield wipers and that you should cover them. The vulture here found a new toy to tear apart.

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This owner was going to come back from kayaking to find all of green foam padding torn off. I hope they leave him enough to get his kayak back home. I’m not sure why they like shredding things. Although my cockatiels at home love to shred newspaper and cardboard so I guess I’m not surprised.

I knew it was going to be hot. Mid-August, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, no wind. I thought I’d torture myself anyway by going on an early morning walk at Medard park. The snail kites had been sighted there on and off and I was hoping to see them again. No sign of them or much of any birds. At least the park was quiet and I got a good walk in.

Baby limpkins at Medard Park

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My first sight of the baby limpkins at Medard Park in east Tampa.

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As soon as I found them Mom came walking up with a yummy snail.

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She looked pretty wet.

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One of the babies took off towards Mom.

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She started to dig out that snail.

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She pulled a little snail meat out and the baby got a bite.

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He swallowed it pretty fast.

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There were three babies in this family but I could not get them all together. I hadn’t been out to Medard Park since winter and wasn’t sure if there would be anything there. Last fall I saw snail kites there so I was hoping to see them again. No sight of the kites but I was happy to see this limpkin family along the lake side. The parents stayed close to the babies. They are big enough now that hopefully they are out of danger from hawks but the alligators are still lurking in the water.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic

Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for

My first yellow-headed blackbird and some boring other birds

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A horrible picture of my first sighting of a yellow-headed blackbird. Birders had been posting about seeing this fairly rare bird here in a neighbor almost an hour from my house for a few weeks. He had only been sighted late in the day so I finally headed out there on a recent Sunday afternoon while hubby was watching football. I looked around for an hour and didn’t see him so I left and ran over to Medard Park which is close by for a quick walk over the boardwalk. I headed back to the pond to look for the rare bird again and after looking for almost 2 hours, he showed up right before dark. And, he was right in the middle of a pond so this is extremely cropped.

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On my way into Medard Park, I see a few vultures eating an armadillo.

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I think this is a caspian tern, just coming out of the water.

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This anhinga was catching bait fish right below the boardwalk. Since I had my fixed lens I couldn’t zoom in and this was all I got of her. The fish looks nice and tasty!

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Due to the overabundance of apple snails, the park is full of limpkins.

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Great blue heron shaking off some water.

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This alligator was laying in the pond in the neighborhood where I saw the yellow-headed blackbird. How’d you like to walk your dog around that thing? Yes, people were out walking their dogs around the pond while I was there.

So this is what I do when Hubby is watching football (or playing golf). Drive around town looking for birds. It was too nice an afternoon to be indoors doing chores (which is what I should have been doing). The chores usually wait until a weeknight after work when it’s dark anyway.

LorikArt

The kite was getting a snail.

A snail kite comes sailing over my head, right into the sun.

He takes a dive towards the water. Looks like he’s heading straight down.

He lands halfway into the water.

He comes up out of the water flapping his wings hard.

Success! He flies off with a snail.

Away he goes in the other direction but you can see he has a good grip on the snail. He flew off to the other side of the lake to enjoy his snack.  I saw this happening on my 2nd trip to Medard Park on a Sunday afternoon. I had been there for a while when he came by. The sun was about to go down behind the trees. They seem to be more active in the early morning so I’m going to try and head out there early again. I don’t know if these snail kites will stay here all winter. There’s plenty of apple snails for them to eat so maybe they will.

YourSundayBest  LorikArt

A new park with tons of water birds.

Great blue heron flies right over my head.

This purple gallinule looks like a juvenile. His head isn’t quite dark enough yet.

Alligator was dragging a chunk of leaves around with him. He was swimming close to the boardwalk.

View from the top of the tower. It’s a small boardwalk but packed with birds. It was a nice quiet morning. Only myself and one fisherman to the boardwalk for most of the morning.

The boat ramp was covered with vultures.

They were all over the parking lot. There were signs there that said “Not responsible for the damage caused by vultures to your car”. So what do you do? Do you park under a tree hoping that would cover the car? Or do you park out in the open thinking the vultures would be in the trees? I didn’t have any problems the short time I was there. This problem is probably from people feeding them.

The new park I visited, Medard Park, in east Hillsborough is like a tiny oasis out in the middle of nowhere. I passed strawberry farms, old orange groves  and horse stables on the way there. This park is now known for having snail kites nesting there. They were pretty easy to find along with tons of other birds. The lake was full of great blue herons, limpkins, great egrets, cormorants, and moorhens. I kept seeing a kingfisher wizzing by but he never landed anyway near. Near the tower there were warblers, woodpeckers and blue gray gnatchatchers in the trees. I think I may have to make this park a regular stop this winter. Can’t wait to see what ducks show up to spend the winter here.

YourSundayBest  LorikArt