Pretty things in early April

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.

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Last visit to my favorite place for a while!

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.

My Corner of the World

A ducky morning at Lake Morton

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.

Birds at the “Bar”

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.

Linking to My Corner of the World.

More from my drive along Lake Apopka.

I rarely see baby purple gallinules. They are very skittish. I caught this little one running in between the reeds. Look at those big yellow feet!

The parents were close by.

Two juvenile common gallinules (or moorhens) hanging out.

The only birds I saw along the drive were common ones.

Turkey vultures are also common along the drive but it’s not often you get to see one up close and with a snack.

Young tree swallows perching on the utility wire. It’s rare to see these guys resting.

Another common site along the drive, an anhinga with a fish.

A beautiful morning to be out.

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Lots of babies at Carillon Park.

Two very young green herons were waiting for mom to come back with food. They were standing on the boardwalk rail. As soon as they saw mom come into the bushes they hopped back on the branches and headed deep in the bush to get fed.

A common moorhen family. There were at least 6 families along the ponds.

Young grackles and their parents were along the boardwalk.

The usual birds along the boardwalk, a blue jay, an osprey eating a fish on top of one of the office buildings and one of the many anhingas.

A walk around Carillon Park after work in early May.

On the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve

The squirrels were busy grooming and eating.

Plants along the trail.

Roadblock on the trail. I was almost all the way down Marsh Rabbit Run trail when I saw this. My choices were to sit and wait and see if he moves or turn around and go back. I sat down on trail for about 15 minutes when a park ranger came from the other side of the trail in a cart and spooked the gator off the trail. The park ranger said he slept there for over 2 hours the day before. I probably would have given up and turned around after half an hour if the ranger hadn’t come by. That little moorhen was not as close as it looks in the shot. He was busy preening and ignoring the gator.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World

Chesnut Park on a Saturday morning.

Standing on the observation tower, an osprey saw me and said “Hey, there’s Dina. I’m going to swing by and give her a hug.” or maybe not.  He just banked and kept cruising by.

A juvenile moorhen eating yucky pond grass.

Limpkins were everywhere. Up on the boardwalk and down in the swamp with a snail.

This guy must have gotten a piece of some bad tasting grass.

Trying to hide on a log. Not sure what this guy was but I was using a long lens.

Before Hurricane Irma took down a lot of the trees.

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