Blooming in the yard in late December.

My Christmas cactus bloomed most of December and I finally went outside to get some macro shots of it before it went dormant. Then I started looking around to see what else I could shoot. The small camelia bush next to our garage was blooming. I also took some pictures of the pointsettia plants and the hanging impatiens. Now that it’s March, we have a lot of other plants blooming so I need to get on that.

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The welcoming committee

The welcoming committee at Chinsegut Wildlife Area. This is the 3rd time I’ve seen these sandhill cranes hanging around the nature center. One is a juvenile and didn’t quite have the red on his face this past summer. It’s great to see the family is still together. I’m assuming they nest somewhere ¬†on the lake here.

Later when I was leaving they were hanging around the parking area and I snapped this with my phone.

I’m sure these are some type of weed but they were really pretty along the trail.

It was foggy when I first got there but wore off as the sun got higher.

SkyWatch Friday

Color in the gardens

Lots of color in late February at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales.

I love this plant with the bright pink stalks and the shiny green leaves. It looks like pink celery but the leaves are different so I’m not sure what it is. It might be swiss chard.

If there was ever an on line scratch and sniff invented, it would be for this. The smell of an orange blossom is the best smell ever. When you drive into the gardens you wind your way through a large orange grove before getting to the parking lot. In February you have to roll your windows down to take in the smell. There were also orange trees scattered around the park and I just stood there for a while taking it in.

The azaleas were in full bloom and the park had sections that were covered in the bushes. This was the perfect time to be outside in central Florida.

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A two park morning

The Florida Botanical Gardens was very quiet in late January (as it should be). It was cool out and was really looking like winter. Only a blue jay and brown thrasher made an appearance.

Heading over to nearby Largo Nature Preserve, I happen to see some drama going on with the muscovy ducks. A male intruder was trying to mate with a female who had a mate right beside her. The boyfriend tried unsuccessfully to run off the intruder. After the intruder mated and left, the female’s mate mated her as well. She was having a rough morning.

A pileated woodpecker pair were doing some damage to this utlity pole. Maybe working on a new nest? You can see the male has a red stripe on his cheek.

Lots of plants blooming at both parks.

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Wide open spaces

More shots from my trip to Bok Tower Gardens in November. I had a weekday off and Brett had never been so he took off and went with me. He was surprised at how big the koi fish were in the moat around the bell tower. You can feed them here so they are huge.

We took some time to just hang out and breathe with the wide open spaces here. It was quiet this morning and the oak trees were great shade.

Color on the path in the children’s garden.

We felt like we were on a farm for a few minutes.

Just outside the gardens in the parking lot, I stopped to look at the plants and noticed several caterpillars. I had already put my camera up so I snapped these with my phone.

After leaving the gardens, we stopped to check out some cows.

We really were just looking to see if the whooping cranes that hang out in a cow pasture were still around.

The cranes were still there but they were napping all the way across the pasture. This was with my 400mm and super cropped. It’s good to see them still there though. It was good to be out of the house and we had a nice day trip. We need to do more of these.

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Growing along the trail.

Wild things growing on my walk down the trail at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in south St. Pete in the beginning of September. Not a lot of wildlife then but they have great trails to walk on.

Some areas have a lot of dead trees and some areas looked just like you were standing in the middle of Florida. Lots of moss growing on the trees. There were very few people out on the trails. Not sure if it’s because it was so hot and humid or if people were still just staying at home. This is the place to be if you wanted to get out. The trails are wide and there’s a lot of them.

Cool new statue up in the tree by the nature center.

The view of downtown St. Pete from the trail. Typical morning of clouds moving in before lunch so the skies were overcast when I took this.

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Pretty things in June

I couldn’t find a tag on this really cool plant. Love the hairs sticking up on the newer ones. I realized that the older ones that had broken open had red bugs in them.

Little critters at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales in early June.

A hopper hiding in the dirt.

It was good to be out even if it was hot in central Florida. The gardens had recently opened back up and I had a rare Monday off so I drove over to spend the morning walking around. There wasn’t a lot of birds around but still lots of things to look at.

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