Beautiful flying things

I was at Possum Branch Preserve in late April and caught the cedar waxwings filling up on mullberries. This was the last time I saw them so I’m assuming they were fueling up for their trip north for the summer. They are beautiful even covered in berry juice.

I saw this pair of swallow tail kites soaring high over the preserve. I think it may be the first time I’ve seen two flying together.

I stopped at nearby Folly Farms next to quickly walk through the butterfly garden.

A two park morning

I stopped at nearby Folly Farms to see if I could find some hummingbirds in the butterfly garden. I only found butterflies but there were lots of yellow ones which I don’t see often.

I caught this downy woodpecker with something in his beak. It looks like a cocoon. He pulled it out of a hole in the fence.

I stopped at Possum Branch Preserve on the way home. As I headed out on the trail I caught a limpkin flying by and an osprey overhead looking for fish.

The bunnies were still around long after Easter. This one was snacking in the mimosa groundcover which blankets the preserve in the spring.

This goes under “the one that got away”. This was the only shot I got of the boblonk. It was a female. I saw the pair several times from far away as they were flying off. I had seen them here several years ago but was bummed I couldn’t get a decent shot. Hopefully they will stop by next year.

The cedar waxwings were still there, hanging out on the far end of the preserve.

SkyWatch Friday 

A quiet morning out.

It was a gorgeous morning to be out on the beach in early April.

Far out in the water I could see a willet with a snack.

Terns were cruising by.

Laughing gulls were pairing up.

The rare kittiwake was still on the pier, a week later than when we first found him.

I still kept seeing the same warblers on the trails, a hooded and a black and white. I kept telling myself it was still early for migration here.

After a quiet morning at Fort Desoto Park I headed home but not before stopping by Possum Branch Preserve for a quick walk. Two red shoulder hawks were sitting on the big dead snag outside of the preserve. I guess the hawks are pairing up as well.

A green heron trying to hide in the marsh.

It was pretty quiet at this park as well. I started taking pictures of butterflies since they are starting to be more plentiful. At least I got a good walk in before heading home for lunch.

Inspire Me Monday

The return of the waxwings.

I always love seeing cedar waxwings. They looks so magestic,. This is the 2nd spring I’ve seen them at Possum Branch Preserve. They are usually hidden deep in the trees but if you are really quiet you can hear them wheezing up there.

A few minutes later they all took off and moved over to tree on the other side of the pond. I noticed the yellow tips on the bottom of his feathers in this shot.

There’s always a lot of alligators and bunnies here.

One of the ponds here is fenced in. It’s used as a watershed but I’m not sure why this one is fenced and the others are not. I found a family of limpkins moving along the fence in early April. The parents had 4 babies. They stayed hidden in the brush along the fence but I could see them looking for a way into the fenced pond. One of the parents flew in and two of the babies were able to get through the fence holes. The other parent stayed on the outside with the other 2 but eventually they also made it through the fence. If they stay in the fenced area another day or two those babies won’t make it back through until they can fly out.

It was a warm sunny morning and this great blue heron was panting.

Inspire Me Monday

Possum Branch Preserve

Since Possum Branch Preserve is close to my house now I’ve been stopping by there for a quick walk pretty regularly before it gets to hot. Most of the time I only see the usual birds and the red winged blackbirds are the most common. Above is a female.

There was an American bittern that spent the winter here. Most of the time he was hidden in the reeds but I managed to catch him coming out to feed one morning.

There was a blue winged teal here for a short time.

Little blue herons are everywhere but I thought he looked pretty against the green.

A sora rail also spent the winter here but I only caught hime once. He also hides in the reeds most of the time and blends in well.

I saw this big guy napping from across the pond.

By the time I got around to the other side he had turned around. These are super cropped up.

This one is also cropped up. This guy was a little smaller.

A quick walk

So much yellow in November.The little critters were loving the goldenrod when I was at Possum Branch Preserve in mid-November. The pop of yellow was really pretty growing along the canal there.

A few of the birds I found. A white eyed vireo and a great egret hiding from the wind in the muck.

I don’t see these guys very often even though I know there are a ton of them.

The moon was still up in the late morning.

Stopping at the fishing pier nearby, the dark clouds were moving in.

My Corner of the World

All of the critters were feasting.

The usual things to see at Possum Branch Preserve.

Alligators are also usual things there. That alligator in the first one thinks that grass is hiding him. That alligator coming up behind him knew he was there.

There were no spring migrating birds feeding in the mulberry tree but the woodpecker was getting his fill.

This female red winged blackbird had 2 snacks, a caterpillar and a dragonfly.

Another usual suspect here is a brown thrasher.

Not a usual suspect in the mulberry trees right before I left.  A small flock of cedar waxwings landed on the back side of the tree. I’ve seen them here once before several years ago. It was hard to get shots of them on the back side of the tree that backs up to the pond full of gators. Standing under the tree I could see several at the top with their faces covered in berry juice. They are such an elegant bird, always so clean. I felt like I should have offered them a napkin but I left them to their mulberry buffet.

My Corner of the World

Out and about

“Why did the butterfly cross the road???”

The glossy ibis has been hanging around Possum Branch Preserve for a while now.

The green heron was creeping around under the bushes.

I found the bluebird family again. One of the young ones was popping his head out of the nest. He’s flying around now so I’m not sure if the parents are still feeding him.

Oh the faces we see in a Florida pond!

I stopped by the old Kapok Tree in mid-March. It still had a lot of blooms on the tree but most of them were on the ground. I keep forgetting to go by here and catch it in full bloom. Back when I was a toddler there was a famous restaurant here called the Kapok Tree Inn. It was an old ornate building with lots of different rooms. We would come here to eat when we came to Clearwater to visit my parents. It closed in 1991 but the building is still here and is a music store. It still looks the same inside.

My Corner of the World

Winter visitors at Possum Branch Preserve

A few of the wintering ducks at Possum Branch Preserve, a lesser scaup and a horned grebe. They were both far out in the channel that runs along the preserve.

A moorhen posing on a tree branch in the pond. Seems a little dangerous standing up there with all of the hawks and eagles that could come by.

The robins were still hanging around in early February. They were picking off the few remaining mulberries left on the tree.

At least two sora rails were spending the winter in the pond.

This is the 2nd winter I’ve seen a Virginia rail here. He’s pretty skittish and rarely comes out from the reeds. After standing there for a while, he finally came out for a few minutes before running back into hiding. He’s much prettier than the sora rail.

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