Early spring migration at Fort Desoto

It was a beautiful morning when I got to Fort Desoto Park in early April. I stopped by the East Beach turnaround to get a shot of the sun coming up over the bay. I had high hopes for seeing some migrating birds that has stopped by but it was still a little too early for spring migration. Last April we had a really slow migration with hardly any birds stopping by so I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat.

A pileated woodpecker was the first bird I saw, high up in a tree.

A hooded warbler and a black and white warbler with a snack. Normally I would be excited but I had  just seen both of these in my backyard.

There were at least 3 prothonotary warblers in a big bush in front of the water fountain being very cooperative. It was the only other migrating bird we saw that morning. There were a lot of people out looking. Again, it was still early in the month.

An opsrey was eating a fish in the tree behind the prothonotary warbler. I had to take a shot before heading to the gulf fishing pier for a quick walk before heading home.

I got to the fishing pier and saw the reddish egret that has the white wings fly by.

There were a lot of birds at the little beach next to the fishing pier. The usual gulls, terns and oystercatchers.  But there was something else that looked different.

A rare kittiwake was sitting there with the other birds. After a while I realized a ton of people were at the pier taking pictures of him as well. This is only my 2nd kittiwake sighting. Back in 2013 I was able to see the immature one at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge fishing pier. I had heard there was one seen in 2017 and this was the 3rd sighting recorded in Pinellas county ever. People were phoning and texting friends and by noon a big crowd had formed.  Everyone gave him space and stayed off the beach area. They even stopped tourists from walking through the area. Twice he took off and flew down the pier and came back on the beach.

Laughing gulls were fighting over stolen bait fish (the one on the left has one in his beak).

A boat cruises by the lighthouse on Egmont Key.

SkyWatch Friday

A walk in the woods

The one that got away. I was walking down the back trail at Chinsegut Wildlife area and I hear a noise in the woods. Several deer were cutting across the trail way ahead of me and I just caught this buck peeking back at me before he took off into the woods.

I love coming here and seeing all of the red headed woodpeckers. They are everywhere here. And, this spring I AM going to get back up here to look for some woodpecker nests.

Another amazing thing about this place is that I was standing in one spot on the trail near the nature center and saw 4 different species of woodpeckers. Without moving I was able to get pictures of red heads and then I saw a downy, a red bellied and then a pileated. They were all hanging around the same area at the same time.

Of course I saw tons of pine warblers.

I did see an indigo bunting (either a female or immature male) at the feeder at the nature center.

My first common garter snake sighting. They are harmless and he was warming up in the sunny spot in the grass. I quickly shot this and kept going.

It was starting to look like fall in late December.

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Around the neighborhood.

I went for a quick walk early one morning in early December. I was heading for a pond down from my home and caught this guy flying right in front of me. He was so close I couldn’t get his legs in the shot.

The small pond down from my home was quiet. I only found a mallard couple and a small alligator.

Birds from my window include bluebirds and a pileated woodpecker.

Walking around in my small backyard I could see that my neighborhor’s feeder had lots of bluebirds. It looks like he had changed out the mealworms for a suet. He was also getting woodpeckers and pine warblers.

On another morning walk I found the deer in the open field down the street.

The small camellia bush in front of our garage started blooming. I didn’t realize they bloom in the fall here and it was a nice pop of color in the front yard.

I made some fun nature art with a few of the fall leaves on our patio. Yes we do have seasons here in central Florida. Fall doesn’t really start until early December. The leaves were changing but I had on shorts and a tshirt and was sweating making my fall leaf circle.

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Butterflies and turtles.

You can usually find butterflies here in central Florida all year but in early March the gardens were full of them at the Florida Botanical Gardens. Lots of colors fluttering by.

It was a quiet birding morning. The highlights were a pileated woodpecker across the pond and a cute grebe not acting skittish.

This guy ignored me while he ate his breakfast.

After a walk around the gardens I stopped at the nearby McGough Park to visit the turtles. I thought the ones above were kissing but I think it’s just the angle.

Turtles were everywhere. On the grass and climbing on the rocks.

A shot of the turtle pond with my phone.

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On the trail in early November

The yellow flowers were out in full force in early November at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Usual birds along the trail. That anhinga has something stuck on his beak. Hopefully he was able to scrap it off. He would be really hard to catch since his is flying and was on a stump in a lake full of alligators.

An eagle flew over my head along the trail.

Later I saw a young eagle sitting on a tree far off the trail close to the lake.

This one was close to the trail. Probably waiting for foot traffic to stop so he could cross.

A tree next to the lake was full of cormorants.

Scenes from the trail on this beautiful morning.

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One last visit to the turtle pond.

The squirrels were getting frisky in late May at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Not many birds at the gardens. A pileated woodpecker and a young moorhen.

Grasshoppers are everywhere right now. They can wipe out a plant in no time. You can see them eating the leaves in both of these shots.

It was a quiet morning at the gardens but I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet so I went for a quick walk at nearby McGough Park and to visit the turtles there. Most of the trails here are very narrow so I stayed off those to keep away from having to pass people. I probably won’t make it back to this park until next spring.

The wooden owl in the parking lot.

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Parks close to home

A quick early walk at Chesnut Park in early May. The park started to get crowded pretty quickly so I left and headed out to another park close by.

Possum Branch Preserve was void of people but not many birds there either. At least it was a nice walk outside.

A few birds there included a juvenile night heron and a red bellied woodpecker.

I caught this common snapping turtle cruising down the back trail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snapper out in the wild. This one was pretty small.

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A typical January walk

Heading out on the trails, something flushed a flock of ibis across the marsh.

A perfect morning in January, cold and clear.

Morning glories along the trail.

The usual birds.

Crazy face hiding in the bushes.

Right over the trail, this osprey was eating fish.

A typical morning walk at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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The ladies were out at the Botanical Gardens

This female summer tanager did not mind me watching her while she feasted on a beautyberry bush. Or, maybe she didn’t see me. I was hiding in the bushes after all. She stayed for a few minutes filling up on berries and then took off.

A female indigo bunting was hiding in the bushes.

A female rose breasted grosbeak was eating something high up in the tree.

Female woodpeckers. A pileated and a downy.

Both males and females look the same for thrashers and green herons so these could be either.

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A quiet morning at Chesnut Park.

The baby deer from this summer were almost grown up in late mid October. You can barely see the spots on the first two.

The squirrels were busy eating.Some had better snacks than others.

The usual birds were chilling or hanging.

The day after we got back from Boston I was craving a walk in woods so I headed out for Chesnut Park near my house. Back to my shorts and tshirt routine. And now it’s December 2nd and I feel like I should be posting pictures of snow or Christmas decorations but it ‘s just another day in paradise here in central Florida.

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