The backyard in early December

The turkeys were regular visitors to the backyard in early December. One afternoon I saw these 2 looking like they were having a spat. I’m pretty sure they are siblings. Maybe the red head is a male? They were born this spring so they are still pretty young.

Another day I caught them feeding. I think he saw me through the window.

The young doe was also coming by almost every day. She was alone every day until one day I think I saw her with some other females.

One day we had 2 females with a younger deer come by and feed. I was hoping our little Bambi had found some friends.

I heard Harley (our cockatiel) yell his “There’s a hawk in the backyard” scream and I ran over and saw this Cooper’s hawk sitting in the oak tree. I couldn’t get a clear shot of him through the window so I snuck out the back door and was able to get the above. He was not spooked when I walked right up to him. I’m assuming this is the same one that was in our front yard a few months ago.

House finches and pine warblers have been regulars at the feeder and bird bath this winter

I checked in on the neighborhood eagle nest the first week in December. I had been seeing a lone eagle around the neighborhood and this was the first time seeing them both on the nest. I went by right after this and saw a head peak up from the nest but I haven’t seen any other activity. I hope she’s sitting on eggs. I can’t see her from the street so I can’t tell

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Out in the neighborhood

I caught this squirrel sitting on a small palm tree outside our window. He had his cheeks full of fuzz from the tree and I was able to snap the top shot. When he took his paws and folded the fuzz up I was happy to get more shots. He was so cute. He jumped from the palm tree over to the oak tree and took off up the tree. I can see a half built nest up there but it’s really not nesting season since it’s getting colder (I know they nest all year round here in central Florida but it’s rare to see them starting a family in early November.)

In early October I caught one of my neighborhood eagles eating something on top of the light pole. I’ve been seeing the couple often cruising around the neighborhood but I haven’t seen them hanging on the nest that they used last year yet.

Birds near the eagles nest include several loggerhead shrikes and some young starlings.

Looking out the window during Hurrincane Nicole, I could see a lot of ibis feeding in the newly formed pond.

Some of the regulars (wood stork and spoonbill) that hang out in the ditch along the golf course.

Inspire Me Monday

 

In the neighborhood

It was late August and I was coming home from the grocery store and saw 2 eagles sitting in the utility tower in my neighborhood. I quickly put the groceries up and grabbed my camera and ran out the door thinking they would be gone but they were still sitting there. They were sitting in different towers that are next to each other. I was glad to see my neighborhood eagles back for the winter (at least I was hoping it was them).

A few of the regulars in the backyard. Bluebirds have been checking out the nest box I put up last year. Hopefully they will nest in it this year. The turkeys come cruising through the backyard every couple of days.

Blooming in the front courtyard.

Fungi in the backyard from all of the rain we had in September.

Inspire Me Monday

Seeing a lot of spots

I had started keeping my camera in the car because you never know what you see driving through the neighborhood on the way home. I was coming home from a late appointment in early September and saw the twins with Mom. I pulled over and took the above from the car. I didn’t want to spook them by getting out. They started making their way towards the woods and that’s when I realized there was another set of twins just down the road.

They were on the other side of the road and these twins looked just a little younger than the first set. Now I know that are there are 2 sets in the neighborhood. Plus I’ve seen 2 Moms with one baby each.

One of the babies went to Mom to start nursing right when another doe came walking up. I was silently screaming “Move” but she didn’t so this is what I got. I still stayed in the car so they wouldn’t all scatter. It was such a treat to see all of these babies from the comfort of my car.

The other doe eventually moved but not without scratching herself first.

After a few minutes the babies went behind some hedges and sat down to rest. I could see them as I turned down the street and stopped to snap the above before heading home.

Deer in the neighborhood

These 2 bucks were grazing along the golf course in our back yard early one morning. I ran outside to shoot the above.

I was coming home from running errands in mid-August and saw these two along the road in my neighborhood. Luckily I had my camera with me so I pulled over and shot these from the car. At first I just saw the one fawn but then the other one came over quickly to see what was going on.

They were right along the golf course and spent some time running around playing. I was afraid I would spook them into the woods so I stayed in the car watching for a while. I’ve spent so many years looking for fawns in different parks around the area and it’s really cool to see them in my new neighborhood.

The babies were growing up

I was coming home from the grocery store early one morning and saw 2 little critters crossing the street right before my house. I slowed down and realized it was baby limpkins. I snapped the above and then went home, put up the groceries that had to go in the refrigerator, grabbed my camera, hopped on my bike and headed back down to the pond hoping they were still there.

They were still there with both parents. I’m assuming this was the family I found a few weeks earlier but there were only 4 babies instead of 5. They were about the right age to be them. I sat down on the grass and watched them for a while.

Both parents were busy feeding the babies.

The babies were busy trying to pretend to look for food but kept running back to the parents when the parents had food.

The babies were watching everything the parents did.

More food.

They were all over the place and it was impossible to get the entire family in one shot. Each parent was on opposite sides of the little pond with 2 kids. After feeding for a while they started preening and seemed to be settling into a rest time. I headed home, covered in bug bites since I forgot my bug spray.

 

Riding around the neighborhood.

Out for a bike ride this summer, I always stop at this small pond in the neighborhood. I’m sure it’s just a mosquito pit but I always hope to find some critters getting water. Maybe a deer or raccon but no, just mosquitos. I do hear pileated woodpeckers deep in the woods but I have yet to hike through there.

Just down from the pond the ditches are covered in these purple flowers. The frogs were really loud this morning since it had rained most of the night.

I need to get a bumper sticker for my bike that says “I brake for critters”.  I’m not sure what those black vultures were eating. They wouldn’t let me get too close.

Back at home a bad storm was coming so I took the almost empty bird feeder down and left it just outside the back door. Later that day I look out the window and realized the squirrel had knocked it down and was eating the scraps. When he was done he hopped up on the chair and was giving me the eye to come add more food.

 

Our backyard camera picked up this bobcat creeping around at 2:30am. This was our first bobcat sighting in the neighborhood.

Color on the trees in late July.

All was calm before sunset at the lake across the street.

I have to watch where I stand when I’m taking shots of the sunset. The alligator above was on the shore just below me. He’s relatively small but I see him here often.

Inspire Me Monday

Around the house in mid-June

The downy woodpeckers and the chickadees keep coming to the feeder together.

Another set of Carolina wren babies were hopping around our backyard. I think they had been born in my neighbor’s pot because I kept seeing an adult flying over there with bugs.  Mom was close by. You can still see the fuzz in their head and necks.


A beautiful cooper’s hawk in our tree. I was walking back from getting the mail and he landed on my husband’s car in the driveway. I ran back in and grabbed my camera thinking he would be gone when I got back outside but he flew up to the tree when I came out.

I have seen hummingbirds coming through the backyard but this is the first time I was able to catch one. They were buzzing around my gardenia bush but they don’t stay long. I was looking out the back window watching a squirrel and saw her fly in and feed on my hanging purslane flowers. I grabbed my camera and waited, half hiding behind the curtains. She came back again and I was able to snap the above but then she took off and I didn’t see her again that afternoon.

A smiling gator drying out behind the pond near my house. I was riding my bike around the neighborhood with my camera and stopped to catch it.

Juvenile osprey are everywhere in the neighborhood. There’s a nest in every utility tower across the neighborhood and they are all filled with osprey.

As I was biking home I stopped at the pond down the street and noticed something moving around with an adult limpkin. I was glad I had brought my camera in my backpack. At first I thought there was just one baby but when they started swimming across the pond I could see all 5 of them. The pond turns into a river that runs through the neighborhood and once they crossed they started heading behind some houses so I lost track of them.

The rain was starting to move in. I love the summer skies after the rain. The lake across from my house is going to be a good spot to catch some orange sunsets.

 

SkyWatch Friday

Fly away little ones!

It was the third week in March and the parents were so busy bringing in food for their big growing babies.

Originally the parent landed on a lower part of the tower and seem to take a break before heading up to the nest. By the looks of the babies attacking the parent for food I can see why he hesitated. The parent brought in 3 meals within an hour this morning.

At the end of March I stopped by and saw both babies sitting high up in the tower with Mom (you can just see the head of one of the babies farther down). A few minutes after I got there the parent took off.

A few minutes later both babies took off flying down the field. I don’t think it was their very first full flight since they seemed confident in their flights. They flew pretty far away and circle around several times. It was amazing to see these babies going full flight down the utility field. I knew at that point that we would be empty nesters soon enough. They eventually landed on the top of tower next to the nesting tower and sat there for a while.

Here comes the parent with food and both babies headed back to the nest but not before making another circle around the area. For two weeks after this I would see them early in the morning high up in the tower and still getting fed by the parents. One morning only one baby was on the tower and when the parent came back to the nest with food the other baby was following him. I’m assuming he followed the parent out and was watching them and learning.

This was the last time I saw them sitting on the tower. It was just past middle of April. After this I saw them sitting several towers down and then they were gone by the end of April. I hope they are doing well, flying free! Now I have to wait until October to see the parents again.

Inspire Me Monday

An eagle family update

In the middle of March my neighborhood eagle babies were as big as their parents. They were hopping around and moving around the tower near the nest.

One of the parents flew in with a squirrel and both babies attacked the parent. I’m sure both were hungry that morning. The older one usually gets to eat first.

The parent dropped of the meal and left. At this point they were bringing back several snacks each morning. These babies were eating a lot.

The younger one just sits there and watches his big sibling eat first. If there’s any left he’ll get the rest or wait for a parent to bring in more food.

A few days later it was dark and cloudy with a storm moving in so I stopped for a quick visit and caught one of the babies eating while the other was sitting high up in the tower. If the nest was in a tree this would be called branching, where they start hopping around from branch to branch but in this cause they are working their way up the tower.

Another week later and the oldest was still eating first. He eventually stopped and let the younger one eat but not without a “I can already fly” attitude.

A few minutes later a parent flew in with a small fish (in his left talon).

He dropped off the fish and took off again.

After a full meal everything was quiet for a while.

Inspire Me Monday