It’s always fun to see baby mallards (although with that yellow beak on the Mom, these may be mottled ducks). There were two families at Largo Nature Preserve in early April. One was feeding in the water and the other was walking around on the walking path. They eventually made it down to the water.
The two northern shovelers were still there. They are probably up north for the summer by now.
Looking up in the utility tower I saw a young eagle. I often see adult eagles sitting here but today it was a younger one. Maybe 4 years old? They don’t get a full white head until their 5th year. This one still had a little brown on his. Maybe he was born in the area.
While watching the eagle, a Canadian goose flies by. They hang out on the golf course along the park so it’s not a surprise.
Across the canal a cattle egret had a dragonfly in his beak.
Brown thrashers are common here. This one was singing away.
Night herons can usually be found napping along the boardwalk.
A monk parakeet coming down to the ground to get a snack.
As soon as we drove into Antelope Island in Salt Lake City we saw a northern harrier sitting on the fence. I had only brought my shorter lens with me since I hadn’t really planned on doing a lot of birding. I got out of the jeep and walked over to the edge and he still sat there. I was thinking “I really wish I at least had my 300mm lens”.
Farther down the road I made Brett pull over again. There were tons of ducks napping on the bank of the lake. I think they were northern shovelers but maybe there was some other ducks mixed in.
I crept down the side of the bank and it looked like they were all northern shovelers. We get a few in central Florida during the winter but I had never seen this many in one place. There had to have been over a thousand. Every once in a while a group of them would fly off and circle around, landing back on the bank.
Winding our way around the island I was hoping we’d see some buffalo. We saw several when we were here several years ago.
Here was one, feeding down a hill. We waiting for a while for him to look up but he just kept on eating.
We saw another one out in a field and he was walking towards the road. We stopped and the car coming towards us stopped and watched. He crossed the road and walked close by our jeep as he headed the other way. Brett was ready to take off if he turned and headed towards our jeep.
It was a sunny mild day and hardly anyone at the park. Probably only tourist like us visit the park in the winter. After an afternoon driving around and a little hiking, it was time to head to Park City to see some snow.
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.
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.
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.
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.