I always love coming around the corner on the sidewalk and seeing the big burst of pink in the air. The huge silk floss tree at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo blooms in the fall. I was there at the end of the blooms but there were still some left on the tree and the fruit was starting to come out. I could also see a parakeet high up in the tree.
Other plants at the gardens.
The giant milkweed plant was covered in caterpillars in the middle of November. This was before it was starting to get cold so I hope these guys all made it through.
The squirrels were getting frisky in late May at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
Not many birds at the gardens. A pileated woodpecker and a young moorhen.
Grasshoppers are everywhere right now. They can wipe out a plant in no time. You can see them eating the leaves in both of these shots.
It was a quiet morning at the gardens but I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet so I went for a quick walk at nearby McGough Park and to visit the turtles there. Most of the trails here are very narrow so I stayed off those to keep away from having to pass people. I probably won’t make it back to this park until next spring.
Blooming things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
Critters at the gardens.
Baby moorhens are popping up everywhere now.
Yes, the botanical gardens were open during the “Stay At Home” phase. Lucky for me most people must have thought they were closed because there was only a few other people there. Lots of space to move around in.
In early March I hurt my back and ended up with a compression fracture. I had to take it easy for a while and after two weeks without long walks in a park I decided to take a road trip across central Florida to look for the whooping cranes. I figured it was easy to sit in a car and I’ve been saying I was going to go over there but just never took the time. This was also right before the big lock down. On the way home I decided to stop at Circle B Bar Reserve for a quick walk even if it was just a few minute in the parking lot. I felt pretty good (was wearing a back brace around my waist) so I walked a little ways down the main trail. It felt good to be out. I’m glad I made the effort because they closed the reserve down the next week for a while. I found the whooping cranes, more on those later. Above are sandhill cranes that were right up on the trail.
Lots of the usual birds there including the great blue heron yelling at an intruder.
It must have been soft shell turtle day because I saw three different ones on my short walk. They were up on the trail. They are usually skittish but one stopped for a pose.
I’m going to miss the tree twins.
A small part of the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve on a beautiful day.
One place I consistently see wood ducks is at Lake Morton. Someone put a nest box right on the edge of the lake but I haven’t been back over there since early April to see if they had babies in the box.
Moorhens and coots at the lake. Moorhens have red beaks and they live here all year long. Coots have white beaks and are only here during the winter and early spring. They go back up north for the summer but there were a few stragglers in April.
One of my favorite ducks at the lake. Some type of hybrid mallard.
Across the lake, something had spooked the ruddy ducks and caused them to start scooting across the lake.
They all started taking off and landed on the other side of the lake. They are pretty skittish and don’t come close to the edge of the lake.
Anhingas are like clowns. They have the funniest personalities, that is when they are not half asleep drying their wings out. They sway their head back and forth and honk when you walk by. The males have a black neck and the females have a brown or beige neck. I think that last one was yawning.
Egrets along the trail. A snowy, cattle and a great egret in the last one above.
Other birds along the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in early January were a limpkin looking for food, a grebe doing his yoga stretch, a glossy ibis glowing in the sun and a hawk looking out over his domain.
And one of the hundreds of blue-gray gnatcatchers.
This little moorhen was walking along the trail with someone.