Please don’t use rat poison

“What is everone looking at? Wait, I see a rat in the parking lot. Tell Mom to go get it.”

“I am Dracula. I suck the blood of rats”

“Soon I’ll be flying and can go get my own rat.”

“She’s taking my picture. I need to move over here to the best spot.”

Right before dark all three of the babies lined up and I got a shot of them all together. Both parents had just flown away, assuming to go get dinner. Since they are so curious, they were always looking everywhere. It was so amazing seeing these guys growing up. It really is a privilage to have these owls growing up in such a populated area. I didn’t make it back to the nest after this to see them all grown up.  Unfortunately no one got to see 2 of them grow up. I just recently found out that 2 of them died from rat poison. The third one survived. Maybe he didn’t get to eat as much of that poisoned rat that the parent brought back. This is what happens when people use rat poison boxes. The rats don’t die right away and the owl grabs it to bring back to the nest. These owls are a  natural pest control and the three young ones would have cleaned out most of the area of rats for a while when they first start to hunt.

Spring is here

Trying to get a shot of an inchworm hanging from a tree is like trying to bite an apple hanging from a tree with your hands tied behind your back (I remember doing this as a kid at Halloween parties).  The trees were full of these guys dangling and swaying back and forth in the wind. It’s not a sharp shot but you get the drift.

They were crawling around in the weeds as well. Every year in early March they take over a few of the parks here in the Tampa bay area. Harmless but annoying when they get in your hair.

The inchworms where hanging in the tree that is home to the owls at a local park. Dad was in his usual spot overlooking the big tree.

My first baby owl sighting of the year. He looks a little grumpy, like he just woke up. It was late in the day when I got to the park. The babies were just waking up from a nap and were ready for a snack.

Mom flew up to a branch over the nest.

The babies were watching Mom and one was climbing up the tree trying to get closer to her. Did I say “babies”? There were actually 3 and I eventually got pictures of all of them together but more on those later.

I was sitting at a traffic light on the way home and noticed an inchworm on the inside of my window. He had the nerve to poop on my window and leave a trail. When I got home I got him out and put in on a bush.

Cuteness overload

A few days earlier I noticed two little squirrels hanging out of a hole in a tree near the owl’s nest. When I came back to check on the owls, I saw 4 squirrel babies hanging out of the nest. They were in a highly visible spot and everyone was going crazy over the cute babies hanging out of the tree.

Two of them kept slipping back into the hole. One of them climbed up to the top of the hole but then he quickly scrambled back down. Trying to be brave but realizing that it’s a big scary world out there.

Mom came in and brought some food. I couldn’t quite tell what he was eating.

He was so cute covering his mouth while he chewed. Probably didn’t want his siblings to try and steal it.

After Mom left, these two were busy preening each other.

The squirrels eventually went back into hiding, probably to nap so it was back to paying attention to the owls. Those baby squirrels had better hide from this guy who was only one tree over. He has babies to feed as well.

My Corner of the World

Great old trees

I had a quick walk at my local pond in early February. It was a quiet morning. Just me and the anhinga watching me take a picture of her.

The glossy ibis was still there.  Maybe they’ll stay permanently.

A teeny critter flying around the clovers.

I stopped by another park close by to check on the owls. Mom was half asleep and there was no sign of babies. I had heard there were two but both were sleeping far down in the nest all morning (later there 3 babies so stay tuned for baby owl shots).

This squirrel had a mouthful as he was running across the parking lot.

The big oak tree where the owls nest. We had heard from a ranger that they were taking this tree down later this year. They say it’s getting rotten inside and could fall on a car or worse a person. Several trees nearby have come down in bad storms. It still looked solid to us. Everyone was freaking out and talking about signing a petition to keep the tree up but if it’s dangerous, it’s coming down. The ranger said the owls will find another tree.

The view near the parking area.  There are a lot of great trees in this park.

One of my favorite trees in the park. It’s cool to see the limbs growing along the ground. The first shot is a pano taken with my phone.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

Baby bluebirds

I was lucky to catch these two juvenile bluebirds hanging around the playground area at Chesnut Park in early September. I know they nest there every year but I never see bluebirds at this park. They were flying around from the tree to the ground. They’re really pretty with those bright blue feathers.

Chickadees are usual birds at this park. Yellow throated warblers are as well during migration season but the pine warbler on the bottom is a little more rare to see.

After a quiet morning at Chesnut Park I stopped by Philippe Park on the way home. The park was busy with dog walkers and joggers and lots of families hanging out but I found a quiet spot along the water and hung out for a while.

My Corner of the World

All grown up

At the end of February I was able to stop by the owl nest and see the baby almost grown up. He was still pretty fuzzy but was looking more like an adult.

One of the parents was always close by.

Then in mid-March I stopped by again and the baby was looking all grown up. Almost as big as his parents. He was very curious, always looking around at the sounds of the birds and squirrels going by.

The morning was so nice that I hung around the park watching the fishing boats go by. This one was pulling up bait fish and getting followed by the pelicans looking for a handout.

The old trees in the park near the nest have a lot of personality.

It was the beginning of a great weekend.

SkyWatch Friday

Two parks in one morning.

I headed out to Chesnut Park first and saw the usual critters above before heading to Philippe Park nearby.

While waiting for the baby owl to wake up I walked up the small hill that sits on the water. The small hill is a Tocabaga Indian mound and is the largest remaining mound in the Tampa Bay region. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Landmarks. The view is beautiful at the top. While standing there a juvenile eagle flew right over my head.

SkyWatch Friday

No spring season for us.

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I’m already seeing butterflies everywhere.

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Bees too.

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No spring for us. We went from “Sort of” winter straight to summer.

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It was 82 degrees in early March.

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Why can’t it stay sunny and 60 until June?

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This osprey was diving deep for a fish.

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He came up empty handed.

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Instead of trying again, he flew off.

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I went to get in my car and this guy was high up in a tree right over my car.

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Far out in the water, the pelicans were hoping for a handout from this fisherman.

I only had two hours in early March to head out for a walk so I went to Philippe Park near my house. It was a quiet morning with almost zero birds. At least I got a good walk in. As I was walking around I realized it was time to put away the short sleeve tshirts and long khaki pants and drag out the shorts and tank tops.

LorikArtShine the Divine

A “ruff” time at the beach

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I was leaving Philippe Park and heading home when I saw these two heading into the water. The park sits on the bay and the tide was low revealing a small spot of beach. The owners were throwing sticks in the water and the dogs were having the best time going in and out of the water. Too bad I didn’t have my swimsuit. I would have joined them. Well, except for the stick in the mouth thing.

Fun in the sun

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Yes I took these right into the sun. I was standing on a sea wall looking for ducks and heard a splash down near the beach area at a park in Safety Harbor. The black dog ran in and was barking at the brown dog to come in. They splashed around and played for a while. They looked like they were having the best time in the cold water. The brown dog got tired and went back on the beach and the black dog seemed to stand there like “Come back, it’s not time to leave yet.” He finally shook off and headed back to the beach.