It was just starting to look like fall at the end of January. Some of the trees at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife park were really pretty in red and orange.
A few of the resident flamingoes. Is it me or is that 2nd one a little grumpy? I think he might have been rolling his eyes at me.
The resident whooping cranes were napping.
We don’t get caracaras in the Tampa Bay area so many people have never seen this bird before. I’ve only seen one in central Florida once on the way to Miami.
One of the otters was out playing and came close to the boardwalk.
I caught some ibis taking baths in the main pond. These guys are wild and hang out hoping for a stolen snack.
The water was so clear, you could see the fish swimming around.
It’s always fun to see lots of robins in the trees. We only see them here briefly in the winter. The trees were full of them at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in late December.
A few of the resident birds. The caracara in the bottom picture is a not a bird you see in this area. They are mostly in south central Florida so it’s interesting to see them here. This one had some type of injury. Possibly missing wing or vision.
The otters were being so cute this morning, although seeing those teeth makes you realize they can be pretty tough. They were feeding in the pond right up against the boardwalk. I love watching them eating while swimming on their backs. That’s a real talent.
I’m sure this happens more than we see out in the wild. The alligator was not fed this bird by the staff. I missed the early action but people saw him grabbing this bird. Based on the pink legs and white wings with a little black, thinking it’s a white ibis that got too close. The alligator was all the way across the pond in the first shot but was swimming fast away from the other alligators who were chasing him trying to steal his snack. He then heading into the far corner right in front of me. Sad but circle of life.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.