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.

My Corner of the World

 

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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Rainy day funny faces

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We had a rainy afternoon during our trip in Arizona. We were already out running around so we decided to head over to Bearizona. It’s a drive through zoo that’s 30 minutes away from Flagstaff. We figured at least we’d be in the car while it was raining. Most of the animals had been injured or orphaned and had found a permanent home here.  All of the animals have huge enclosures in the middle of the woods. We drove through different zones and saw bears, wolves, bison, big horn sheep and tons of other animals. You could see them wandering around in the woods. Some were eating, some were sleeping, some were playing in the drizzle. Halfway through it stopped raining so we were able to get out and walk around the smaller walk through area. I think this was one of  my favorite parts of the trip.

Saturday's Critters

I otter be in pictures!

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As I was walking down the trail I saw a head pop up in the creek.

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All of a sudden 3 more heads pop up past me. They were heading the other way.

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I turned around and headed that way also. I walked along the bank of the creek and every other minute a head would pop up. One of them looked right at me.

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They started climbing up on the rocks in front of me.

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They seemed curious as to who I was. I backed up to get this picture in and I did not want them to get too close.

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I was taking pictures right into the sun so it was not ideal but they were so cute.

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What a face!

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They stayed on the rocks for a few minutes looking around and then all 4 of them slid back into the water and headed down the creek. The end of the creek was close by and they went into the tunnel under the street.

I was pretty excited to see them at Largo Nature Preserve. There’s not much there at this small park but I had heard several times that otters had been sighted there. I went totally not expecting to see them and there they were. Swimming right beside me on the trail in the first 30 minutes I was there. They came and went fast though. I’ll be back to see them again.