All of the usual things

Right when I got to Largo Nature Preserve and was getting out of the car this swallow tail kite flew so close to me that I cut him off. He flew over some trees and I couldn’t find him again.

The usual birds were there. A cattle egret, limpkin and a night heron.

The usual Florida critters were also there.

I did a quick lap around the paved trail and saw this almost grown baby screech owl peaking out of the hole in the tree. I looked for a while for the parent in the area but couldn’t find one. Those tiny owls are good at hiding. I did not stick around to find out if the parent came in to feed the baby but I’m sure it did at some point.

A red bellied woodpecker was popping in and out of this hole but we were all interested in the flickers nesting in the tree next door. More on that to come.

My Corner of the World

Yard birds in May

Doves sleeping on our fence. Taken through the kitchen window.

This night heron was hanging out on our dock, staying busy preening.

An ibis flew in and landed on the same dock.

The night heron was not happy with the ibis near his spot and chased him off. I just happened to be walking out of the side of the house to sneak around to the back to take pictures of the heron when I caught the ibis landing.

A few minutes later the night heron flew down to the water. It was an extreme low tide and you could see some of the rocks exposed. He was looking for tiny crabs on the rocks.

A mockingbird was eating something off my neighbor’s bottle brush tree.

A red bellied woodpecker in the tree.

Not an exciting bird but the house sparrows nest nearby and I always get a lot of them at my feeder so I consider them “my” birds. They are not skittish at all.

I was hosing down the front porch early one Sunday morning when I looked down the driveway and saw a duck couple drinking the runoff water. I know they want a handout but we don’t feed the ducks here. On one side it would be fun if they nested in our bushes but on the other side, our driveway would be covered in piles of duck poop.

My Corner of the World

The bird rookery

Catching a little blue heron lift off.

Snowy egrets were showing off.

Baby great egrets were screaming for Mom to feed them.

The sky over the Tampa rookery was busy in early April. It was like standing at the airport during the holidays watching the planes take off.

The cormarants and anhingas are usually high up in the trees but I saw this anhinga sitting on a nest low on the other side of the rookery.

There were many other birds at the rookery besides the usual egrets and herons. A night heron, a female red winged blackbird and a catbird were also sighted. I was excited to see the glossy ibis here in the bottom picture but it looked like the couple was working on a nest on the backside of the rookery so seeing little glossy babies is a slim chance.

I thought this was a new bird

No, none of the above are the new bird. These are old birds I saw before I found the new one.  I had heard about a northern harrier being seen pretty consistently at Circle B Bar Reserve for a while but I was trying not to chase new birds since I don’t seem to have much luck finding them after everyone else has seen them. Finally after several weeks of hearing about this bird I headed over for a walk fully expecting not to see it.  All of the usual birds could be found as I walked down the trail. A red winged blackbird, a turkey vulture, a red shoulder hawk and even a cooper’s hawk that was trying to hide in the trees.

The usual birds were flying close by. A night heron and a great blue heron.

A common sight in the winter at the reserve, black bellied whistling ducks cruising around.

Across the lake, I could see 2 eagles sitting up to the right of their big nest.

A little blue heron found a worm in the water.

Here he is. My first northern harrier. I wasn’t standing there alone. There were at least 20 other people in the area looking for the bird. He showed up far across the marsh and then slowly started cruising towards the trail.

He flew by several times and then perched on a dead tree right in front of the trail. It’s his face that makes him different. From the side he almost has an owl-like face. Harriers are not extremely rare in central Florida but this is the first one I’ve heard of at any of the main parks so it was easy to find him. He was only here for the winter but maybe he’ll come back next year. After digging around in some older posts, I realized that I had seen a harrier back in 2016 at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. The shot was a far away blurry pin dot shot so I’m not really counting that sighting (am I?).

My Corner of the World

A quick walk after work.

At the end of October, before the time changed, I could get out for a quick walk after work before dark. I headed over Safety Harbor hoping to get some lightning shots. I could see the storms south of the causeway but they were heading towards Tampa.

Since it was low tide, there were a few birds walking around in the muck right off the fishing pier, probably eating crabs.

The mangrove crabs are very skittish but I manage to catch a few of them scurrying away.

The big beautiful oak tree in front of the library. There’s usually a lot of people in the tiny park here but I think the threat of storms kept everyone at home.

Walking around by the yacht basin, I saw an eagle sitting on one of the poles. I was able to snap the above before he took off. I know they nest near Philippe Park north of here but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one in the fishing pier area.

Even though lights were showing the way to the boardwalk, it was starting to drizzle so I headed home.

Just being out at Sand Key Park

A nice warm windy day in late July. The beach wasn’t crowded early in the morning. Plus there was a storm heading our way so most people probably were staying home this morning. The wind was blasting but the sun was out early before the clouds moved in at lunchtime.

Looking across the channel at Clearwater Beach. Most of the tourist were over there.

I walked over to the fishing piers that sit near the bridge and found a few birds waiting for handouts from the people fishing.

A typical scene looking across at Clearwater beach. The pirate ship passed under the bridge but turned around just outside the channel and headed back into the intercoastal waterway. I’m assuming they stayed inside the intercoastal this morning since the water was choppy. There were a few people on it but I’m sure not nearly as crowded as past summers.

This looks like fun but you would need a lot of upper body strength on a windy day like this was. They stayed inside the channel as well.

SkyWatch Friday

A walk down Marsh Rabbit Run

Different herons down the trail, A great blue, tricolored, a night heron and then another tricolored almost swimming.

Turtle on the trail.

Why do always get the butt shot pose?  I almost never see these guys walking around and when I do they have their back to me. Usually I just see the below, snoozing and cruising.

All along the trail.

Trees and flowers along the trail.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

Parks close to home

A quick early walk at Chesnut Park in early May. The park started to get crowded pretty quickly so I left and headed out to another park close by.

Possum Branch Preserve was void of people but not many birds there either. At least it was a nice walk outside.

A few birds there included a juvenile night heron and a red bellied woodpecker.

I caught this common snapping turtle cruising down the back trail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snapper out in the wild. This one was pretty small.

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Hanging out in the backyard.

Spending more time at home, I’ve been going out for a walk around the backyard after work. These were all taken in April.  Now that it’s late May, I would get eaten alive by mosquitoes if I’m not covered in bug spray.

A few critters on my plants (or weeds).

I noticed this juvenile night heron on my neighbor’s screened in porch. 

The sun going down on the ducks.

Sunset over my neighbor’s palm trees.

SkyWatch Friday

Flirting at the local watering hole

The snowy egrets were showing off and flirting.

The little blue herons were doing the same thing.

Some of the other birds were also showing off with their breeding faces.

The turtles were watching all of the action.

Even the cormorants were flirting and chasing each other high up in the trees.

Unlikely pair in the same tree, a wood stork and an osprey.

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