A quiet morning at Fort Desoto

Someone had staked out their spot on the spit island just off the north tip of the beach. By early November, the red tide algae bloom was mostly gone from the beach but there were still some spots that smelled of dead fish. The water looked clear but the bloom came back later for a short time after a big storm. The morning I was there was clear.

The birds on the trails were scarce with the exception of a few common ones including a northern parula and many of the state bird, the mockingbird.

The usual waterbirds were also around.

Frigatebirds were flying high overhead.

On my way out of the park I saw a bald eagle sitting on a utility tower. All of the eagles are back for the winter.

Two parks in one morning

A very hot morning at North Shore Park in downtown St. Petersburg. The beach was busy with volleyball players. On a Saturday morning you can find a lot of joggers and dog walkers on the sidewalk but not many people in the water. Since this is the bay, the water here is not nice but you can usually get a breeze.

Across the bay, you can just make out the energy plant with steam coming out.

After walking around at North Shore Park, I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home. They have a new boardwalk that goes along the mangroves next to the pier. This small area is a little piece of Florida that hasn’t changed much over the years (with the exception of that big condo building going up next to the old Safety Harbor Hotel in that first shot).

SkyWatch Friday

A hot walk around the lake in August.

Critters I saw on my walk around Crescent Lake Park.

This big beautiful old banyan tree is fenced off since it is starting to fall apart. It’s still blooming though.

Across the lake. You can barely make out downtown St. Pete behind the painted water tower.

SkyWatch Friday

“I’m heading down the Atlanta highway”

Atlanta, as seen in the first episode of the tv series “Walking Dead”. Except in the scene, the roads were lined with abandoned cars that were photo-shopped into the scene. I took this the first night of our long weekend to visit friends. It was dark and cloudy and had just stopped drizzling. My husband thought I was going to look silly being the only person standing on the Jackson Street bridge taking this picture. No, there were several other people there taking pictures as well. I found out later that there are “Walking Dead” tours that take you to some of the places that scenes were filmed at. This is one of the stops.

Another Atlanta downtown scene, taken as we were leaving to head back home.

One morning while Brett was riding his bike with some friends, I took a walk around Piedmont Park. They used to have great art festivals and other events here. I’m sure they still do but it was quiet the morning I walked around the lake.

A few of the critters and an interesting mushroom or fungi around the lake. After my walk around the park, I headed over to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, more on that later.

We stopped at a shopping center to get something and this hawk was in the parking deck. At first I thought he was hurt but I think he had just finished a meal. He took off as I got closer to him but he let me get pretty close. He left behind a few scraps of his lunch.

Almost 25 years ago, Brett and I got married here in the gardens behind the Swan House. We were passing by and I made Brett stop for a few minutes.

I was feeling really nostalgic for Atlanta. I had lived here for 17 years before Brett and I moved to Tampa for work. Since his family moved to the Tampa bay area years ago, we hadn’t really spent any time here in over 3 years so we came back for a long weekend in August. We packed a lot of sight-seeing in the 2 and a half days we were here. We happened to be staying in a hotel next to this mural. The mural is on the side of the building where the old Limelight disco was back in the 70’s and 80’s. I spend many weekends there dancing with my sister and our friends back in the mid 80’s.

SkyWatch Friday

Road trip to Central Florida

A lone female painted bunting was eating at the feeder near the pond.

A catbird on St. Frances’s head.

Your basic mockingbird shot.

There must have been a robin convention going on. They were everywhere at the park.

Really cool roots on the trail.

Pictures of the carillon tower  at Bok Tower Gardens I took with my phone.

After I left Bok Tower Gardens I stopped by Lake Parker in Lakeland to get out and walk around for a few minutes before heading back to Tampa. It was a quiet afternoon with only a few critters near the boat ramp.

Next to Lake Parker is a huge soccer field. There was no one playing on the field that day but I’m sure on a weekend there are tons of kids running around. There were light posts along the fields and in between them with nests on them. All of them had osprey nesting on top except for one. One light post right at the entrance to the field had an owl nest. The sun was not in my favor that afternoon but I was able to get the above. There were two almost grown owlets on the nest with Mom but one was hiding on the other side of Mom. On nights and weekends these fields are packed with screaming kids playing ball. I guess the owls don’t mind.

A few things I saw on my central Florida trip to Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales and Lake Parker in Lakeland in early March.

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Little critters at Bok Tower Gardens

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There were Kermits in all of the fountains at the Gardens. You have to sneak up on them or they will jump in the water and hide if they see you.  I took the above with my 300mm lens so I was pretty far away.

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Even at the end of October, there were a lot of flowers still blooming and lots of tiny critters flying around.

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It was very quiet at the Gardens early in the morning. I could hear the hummingbirds go whizzing by and several times was able to catch them resting.

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I saw this little guy across the bushes and was hoping he was a rufous hummingbird. When I got home and cropped it and lightened it up I realized it was a male ruby throated hummingbird which are fairly common this time of year. The rufous would have more orange than green in his feathers. I’ve seen them there but I can’t get a shot of them.

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A mockingbird was watching me while I was waiting for the hummingbirds to fly back into the bushes.

More pictures from my late October visit to Bok Tower Gardens in central Florida.

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