A 3 park morning

I was out early one morning right before Christmas.  My first stop was the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but thought I would do a quick lap around the gardens.  The gardens were decorated for Christmas and you could see the lights all over the bushes and trees. I thought this owl statue was cool and would have loved to see it all lit up but I didn’t make it here for the night holiday lights this year.

The usual birds were in the main pond. A green heron at attention, a wood duck (the entire family was floating around the pond) and there were lots of moorhens.

After the botanical gardens, I stopped at nearby Largo Nature Preserve to see if there was anything new. A grebe spent some time preening close to the boardwalk and there have been some northern shovelers there for several weeks now but nothing new or different.

My last stop before heading home wasn’t really a park but the Dunedin marina. I was hoping to see dolphins or manatees hanging around the marina but I didn’t see any on this trip so after walking around for a while it was time to go home for lunch.

My Corner of the World

Is if fall yet?!?

The usual birds can be found on the boardwalk at Largo Nature Preserve. They are acclimated to people being around and the limpkin didn’t even fly off as I walked by.

This snowy egret looks like he is walking on water. He’s actually half skipping and half flying along the surface looking for bugs or fish in the water.

I had forgotten that northern shovelers hang out here in the winter although I rarely see males here. This time there were several males with their dark green faces.

Other critters include a butterfly and an otter that came out of the water far down the canal.

I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home to see if the cypress trees had turned orange. The small lake there is surrounded by them and can be quite a sight when they turn colors but this year they were mostly brown and had lost a lot of leaves already. Maybe it was due to the lack of rain we’ve had this fall. There was a hint of orange so it did feel a tiny bit like fall, even if it was 85 degrees in late November.

My Corner of the World

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

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