A walk at Largo Nature Park

Northern shovelers aren’t extremely rare in the Tampa bay area but I haven’t seen any in a long time. There were 2 couples close the edge of the water at Largo Nature Preserve in late January and they didn’t seem to mind me watching them. They look a lot like mallards but have that goofy big square bill.

A snowy egret was looking for food.

A wood stork was taking a break.

A cattle egret with a bright orange bill.

Two ring billed ducks.

Linking to My Corner of the World.

 

Another stop at Antelope Island.

I’m not sure if these are horned grebes or western grebes. Can anyone confirm?

Tons of northern shovelers along the causeway into Antelope Island on our second trip.

We saw a lot more bison and longhorns on our second trip that week.

After leaving Bear River Refuge, we decided to stop by Antelope Island again before heading back to Salt Lake City. We drove around to the other side of the island this time and hiked up to Buffalo Point.  From this view, you can see around most of the island. We could see a storm heading our way and just made it back to our car before the bottom fell out.

SkyWatch Friday

Largo Nature Preserve

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Nesting is in full swing for the osprey in the area.  I don’t think they have eggs yet since they both left the nest at the same time for a while.

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It looks like they were working on getting it comfy.

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One of them kept bringing in more insulation.

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Night herons always sleep along the boardwalk at this park.

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Funny face. An anhinga staring at me.

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Northern shovelers were close to the bank.

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Flapping.

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Another funny face.

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The usual palm warbler. The trail was full of them.

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A few robins were hanging around.

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Is that parrot waving at me?

A Saturday morning walk at Largo Nature Preserve.

Skywatch Friday

Redhead and redbreast invasion!

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The redheads had invaded the duck pond just outside of Fort De Soto as they do every winter. The pond was full of them as well as a few ring neck ducks.

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Showing off.

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This winter there seems to be more northern shovelers than in the past.

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Up on his toes.

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Look at that bill! They were all busy bathing and flapping on the dark dreary morning I was there in early January.

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Another female shoveler showing off.

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Some were trying to sleep. I should have slept in as well since it started to sprinkle.

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Out at the beach, I saw a few red breasted mergansers in the lagoon.

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Only females though. I think that first one has a shrimp.

The first four days of the New Year were dark and dreary. I had relatives visiting and it rained on them the entire time. They left on the weekend and I headed down to Fort De Soto just to get out, rain or no rain. It started with dark clouds and luckily didn’t start drizzling until I was leaving. I stopped at the duck pond outside the park since it was full of redheads. I’m still looking for that wigeon to add to my list. The pond was full of the usuals including coots, mallards, lesser scaup and the above.

Camera Critters

A pond full of redheads

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A very small sampling of the massive amount of ducks in a tiny pond before you drive into Fort Desoto park. Some say there are thousands there. Most are redheads with a few ring necks and lesser scaup.

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That coot in the middle was like “I’m tired of being surrounded by redheads. I’m outta here.”

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Most were trying to sleep the morning I stopped by.

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Many were preening and bathing.

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A juvenile ring billed gull flies over the pond. Looks like no place to land on the water.

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There were a few northern shovelers in the pond but they stayed in a group by themselves in the corner.

The “duck pond” before you drive into the park is always empty in the summer. In the winter it’s filled with migrating ducks. This winter seems like the most we’ve had. There wasn’t much room for another duck. Since I took these a couple of weeks ago, the redheads have moved to a lagoon across from the east beach turnaround at the park. It’s in front of the Sunshine Skyway bridge. People are estimating there could be as many as 10,000 there right now. They must have eaten all of the bugs in the pond so they had to move to find more bugs? Those redheads really are distinctive looking ducks. So pretty.

LorikArt