A beautiful morning out

Bees and berries at Crescent Lake Park.

I found the otter again but this time he was very elusive. I got a quick peek and then he disappeared for good.

This gull should have been over at the beach. Somehow he managed to snag a small fish at the lake.

I was standing under some trees looking for the otter and heard some noise over my head. I looked up and found two juvenile anhingas looking down at me. They must be late babies. There was a tiny nest that they had outgrown but they were still too young to fly yet. Mom was sitting high up in the next tree.

After leaving Crescent Lake Park, I made the quick drive over to North Shore beach near downtown St. Pete. Someone had recently painted the small concrete pier.

Another beautiful day at the bay.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sister Debbie!

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Don’t chew with your mouth full!

As I was walking around Crescent Lake Park, this guy swam right in front of me and proceeded to chowing down on something he had caught under the water. Some type of crab or maybe a crawfish. He went down several times and was stuffing himself. He seemed to be showing off, chewing with his mouth wide open. He put on a show but never came up out of the water. I stepped back and hid behind a tree for a while hoping he would come on the grass but he eventually started swimming over to the other side of the lake.

He checked out this drink can and played with it a few minutes.

He popped up in the middle of the spadderdock plant and had another mouthful. This guy was having quite the feast. He checked me out for a few seconds before ducking back under the water.

Later, farther down the lake he was checking out a drain pipe. At this point I lost track of him so I finished my walk around the lake.

Just being outside

In late April, I went out for a walk at Crescent Lake Park. It would be hard to close this park down since it’s really just a small lake with a sidewalk around it in a neighborhood. Although the baseball field was empty and the fenced in dog park area was closed. There were several fitness classes going on in the open grass under the trees. The groups were small and everyone was spread out. Looks like people just moved the gym outdoors.

A female grackle in the reeds.

At first I thought this grackle was just standing on one leg but when he flew up into the tree I realized he was missing a leg.

I cannot seem to get a good shot of the otter there. This time he was coming right at me and I would be shooting right into the sun. He was chewing something in the middle of the lake and then disappeared across the other side of the lake. He’s always so quick and doesn’t stay still for a second. I’ve heard there are several here but I’ve only seen one.

Blooming things along the lake.

This was my “just being outside” shot of the day.

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Quick walk at the zoo

I rarely see these guys moving around.

The koala bears are so cute but the glare on window makes it impossible to get a decent picture of them.

The elephants were eating.

It’s rare to see the otters close to the glass but this one was right in front.

The rhino pausing at the pool.

More up close with the manatees. I always take a ton of pictures when I’m there.

I recently hurt my shoulder (tendonitis) and was hurting one weekend but I still wanted to get out for a walk so I went over to the zoo with only my phone. I had a fun morning running around without all of my camera stuff.

Seeing Florida animals up close and a hippo too.

Birds you can see up-close at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park include a pair of whooping cranes that are both missing wings. They winter in Florida and were injured at some point and brought here to live. I overheard someone say “They cut off one wing so these birds can’s fly away.” and that is not true. Most of these animals are here due to man made injuries (hit by a car, a parent was hit by a car and now they are orphans, fishing lines, some were shot with a bb gun or arrow). I follow several wildlife rescue groups on facebook and it’s horrifying the things that happens to these animals.

Big animals that live at the park. On a recent episode of “Secrets of the Zoo:Tampa”, a baby bear was brought in to the zoo to be checked out when his mom died getting hit by a car. The zoo was able to secure a home for the cub here.

A snake up close.

Lu was a tv star on Flipper and was given to the park to live out his retirement. Lu is very popular with the kids and he just turned 60 in January.

I really went up to the park in January to see the manatees but there are also a lot of other fun animals to see as well.

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Sharp teeth and flashes of green

I was at Crescent Lake Park recently and saw this guy moving fast. Darting around and popping his head up out of the water at a different place every time. It was dark and cloudy and I could not get a decent picture of him that wasn’t blurry. He only stayed for a few minutes before disappearing under the vegetation and then he was gone for good. He was chomping on something, I’m thinking a turtle. Everyone thinks they are so cute but look at those teeth. Another reason not to let your small dog get near the water in a lake in central Florida (the other is those pesky alligators).

After walking around Crescent Lake Park I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home. The above parrots landed right in front of me before I stepped on the pier. They only stopped for a minute before screaming down the street.

It was cold this morning in January but people were out sailing.

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Critters at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Some of the critters in the water at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park north of Tampa. I made my annual winter trip in mid-January, hoping to see manatees along the river but the weather had warmed up for a few day and the manatees had scattered around the area.

Yes, this guy was on the other side of the glass. You usually see them sleeping in the back with their eyes closed.

It seemed to be mating day that morning. Both pelicans and some wild vultures were getting frisky in the warm weather.

The calm water in the springs.

Up close with some crazy animals

It’s not often you can get up close to a bald eagle.¬† Especially a juvenile one (the all brown one in the last shot). These eagles are all missing a wing and now live at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are in an open enclosure and just love to pose.

Pelicans were just starting to nest.

A night heron in the first shot. He crept up pretty close to me. The wild great blue herons were working on nests in the top of the trees over the alligator exhibit.

A burrowing owl trying to sleep.

Other animals were all just chilling out the morning I was there in early January. Lots of fun animals at the park. Unfortunately most are injured but have a home here at the park.

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A walk around Crescent Lake

Moorhens were all around the lake. Lots of juveniles from early spring.

Other interesting ducks including the pied grebe in the last picture.

Other critters at the lake. The otter was a surprise. I’ve never seen one there before.

The water tower next to the lake and a hawk hanging underneath it. Probably looking for a slow flying monk parakeet. The parakeets nest under the water tower.

Looking across the lake near downtown St. Petersburg. I hadn’t been in a while so I stopped for a quick walk. There were people in the lake in kayaks doing a cleanup. I know there are alligators in there so you wouldn’t want to be in there without a kayak and a paddle to hit one over the head with.

SkyWatch Friday

Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

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All of the above are missing a wing. They are permanent residents at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park.

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A wild vulture stopped by for a handout.

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Lots of other Florida wildlife there as well.

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The flamingos were taking a bath or napping.

A few things from Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in late December.

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