Hiding behind trees at a very busy intersection in the Tampa Bay area is Possum Branch Preserve. There’s only a tiny sign on the fence and no real parking. You just pull onto the grass and park along the fence. There wasn’t a lot of birds the day I was there in early December but tons of plants along the ponds. If it wasn’t for all of the loud traffic close by I would have thought I was in the middle of nowhere.
This one looks like a female common yellowthroat. Although, it also looks like a female hooded warbler.
The above two looks more like a female hooded warbler.
Possible pine warbler.
Or these could be a pine warbler.
This is an easy one. A yellow throated warbler.
A palm warbler.
All of these little yellow guys look alike. Especially the females. Pine, Palm, Prairie or Polka Dots??? I can’t keep them straight. Next spring I’m going to take the time to write down what they are as I am taking pictures if someone there knows. Sometimes I have different people telling me the same bird is something different so that’s even more confusing. These were all taken in mid-November at Chesnut Park. It was a busy day for little yellow birds.
I went looking for a grasshopper sparrow that had been reported at Possum Branch Preserve before heading over to Chesnut Park. This was all I got, trees full of yellow rumped warblers.
And pigeons flying overhead.
And fruit that is toxic if you eat it in this state even though it’s pretty.
Chesnut Park wasn’t much better. Palm warblers. Really? I should have slept in.
Bees and flowers were still blooming.
At least the squirrels were cute holding the berries in their tiny hands.
The usual titmouse were looking for a handout.
They get pretty close.
The lake was full of these blooming. Bees were enjoying them.
View from the end of the dock. You would almost think fall was here. There were a few trees turning red. It was the weekend before Thanksgiving and the high was going to be 80 degrees by noon.
I stopped at the little Possum Branch Preserve to look for the rare (in this area) grasshopper sparrow. There were 3 other birders there looking as well. No luck even though he was sighted the afternoon before. I moved on to Chesnut Park a few miles away. Not a lot of birds there but people were coming in fast. Every picnic shelter was booked and everyone was hauling in food, coolers and decorations. It was a perfect day for a family outing.
I realized as he flew off he was banded. I could not make out the numbers on either picture.
Another palm warbler.
Yellow rumped warblers are starting to show up.
Stretching out on the floating pad in the pond.
The cormorants rule the boardwalk.
A tiny turtle soaking up some sun.
Another one on a log.
Blue jay with a nut from a palm tree.
This was the first time I have walked around the trail and boardwalk at Carillon park on a Saturday morning. Since it’s so close to work I usually only go after work in the summer. It’s usually packed with joggers and walkers. It was quiet this morning and weird to be there on a Saturday since it’s surrounded by office buildings. I went looking for an albino coot that had been reported there everyday for a week. Of course, by the time I get there, he’s gone. Maybe he was just close by and will come back over before winter is over.
The very common palm warbler. They were falling from the sky. I’ll try not to take too many pictures of them this winter, even though they are the most accommodating birds.
Even though you can’t see his legs in this shot, this is a yellowlegs. He’s a shorebird that should be at the beach. He was all alone in a small marsh.
Another missed baby black bellied whistling duck opportunity. They were far out in the marsh and getting ready for a nap. They were probably going to stay in that spot for hours.
I counted six but I think there were more hiding in the reeds.
Phoebes where everywhere and you could hear that distinct call all over the reserve.
This common yellowthroat sat still for 20 seconds. Long enough for me to get the above. Then he took off.
A barred owl was sleeping close to the trail and everyone was stopping to watch him. He would not wake up and he was hidden behind a lot of branches. We kept going down trail and an hour later when we came back, he was still sleeping.
“This is how I eat my dinner. Bang the fish on the branch so he won’t wiggle when he goes down my throat.”
Yes, I have a ton of blue-gray gnatcatcher shots. But they are so cute and there were so many of them.
The great blue heron doesn’t bang his fish before swallowing. He flips it over a few times and swallows it wiggling.
More of the usual stuff from Circle B Bar Reserve. The first weekend in November was perfect. Although we were a little cold starting out. 50 degrees at 8am. I didn’t even take my jacket off until we got in the car at noon.
The youngest baby owl was high up in a tree. He didn’t get there by flying. He was hopping and flapping from branch to branch.
He was watching mom who was close by in another tree. Mom was trying to get him to fly over.
He was very hesitant to move.
He kept flapping his wings which made everyone think he would finally take the plunge.
I think he was still practicing.
I got to the park around 9am back in mid-March. I had heard the baby owls were already moving around. There were a handful of people standing around waiting for the youngest baby to fly, at least to a nearby tree. The oldest baby had already fledged and was close by somewhere but no one could find him. Mom kept flying from tree to tree close by where the baby was watching. I think she was trying to get him to follow her. I stood around for an hour waiting with everyone else. Finally, I left and walked around the rest of the park. I came back two hours later and the baby owl was still sitting in the same spot. At that point I was hungry so I headed for home. I did hear that the youngest finally did take off although I don’t think it was that day. They are all grown up now. The parents are once again empty nesters.
The palm warbler was guarding the sign at the owl’s nest. The area was fenced off while the nesting was going on. It has since been taken down. Until next year!