Early April walk at 2 parks.

Lots of brown thrashers were being seen in April.  First 2 were taken at Chesnut Park and the bottom 2 were taken at Possum Branch Preserve later that morning. The video is a short one of the thrasher singing at the top of his lungs.

Other usual suspects at Chesnut Park.

The mulberries were ripe, waiting for the birds to come chow down in early April. I didn’t realize Possum Branch Preserve had so many mulberry trees along the trail. The birds eventually showed up in late April. More of that to come.

A small gator sleeping on the grass. I took this from across the pond.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

End of winter plants

It was a slow critter morning so I started taking pictures of the plants at Possum Branch Preserve near my house. It was a mix of end of winter and not quite yet spring things around the preserve.

I saw the above hanging on a tree. Some sort of cocoon?

The plants in the marsh were just starting to turn brown.

The usual gators in the pond.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.

Two parks in one morning.

A starling peeking out of what was probably a former woodpecker nest.

Thanks to Ken at Rosyfinch Ramblings for the ID on the above Orange crowned warbler. A first for me.

Little birds at Hammock Park.

A small wood stork party at Possum Branch Preserve.

Typical great egret shot but I noticed after I cropped it up that he’s missing part of his upper beak.

I started out at Hammock Park, a small park in Dunedin that I had not been before. After walking around for an hour and seeing very little, I left there and stopped at Possum Branch Preserve for a walk before heading home.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Way up high

Pelicans flying by.

Cormorant flying by.

I saw this red shoulder hawk sitting high up in a cypress tree. Took a couple of shots and then I kept going down the trail, thinking she was taking a break.

I got all the way across the pond and heard the hawk screaming. I looked over and saw the above. These are extremely cropped. Guess we’ll be having baby hawks soon. These were all taken at Possum Branch Preserve. It’s a small watershed area not too far from my house. It sits on a corner of one of the busiest intersections in the area. Except for the traffic noise, the trail is very quiet.

SkyWatch Friday

Hidden behind some trees

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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.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

The usual stuff near my neighborhood

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Lots of ring neck ducks floating in the channel near my neighborhood. The all brown ones are the females and the ones with black heads and gray bodies are the males.

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Alligators are everywhere.

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I hadn’t seen a horned grebe in a long time. This one was all alone across the channel.

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Two more alligators in the grass.

Not a new duck but a rare one.

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I had only seen one Goldeneye from across a big lake and only had one blurry picture of it. I could barely tell what it looked like. When I heard that two of them were floating around in a channel right near my house I had dropped everything, grabbed my camera and headed out. I walked for a while looking through all of the ring neck, grebes, scaups and mallards until I saw them.  These guys are pretty rare around here. There was one last February in the area that was very skittish and stayed far away. These two were floating down the channel without really paying any attention to me.

Possum Branch Preserve

“Look at my big fish!”

Another view. I did not see him swallow this. He sat there for a few minutes and then flew off. I’m sure at some point he got it down.

The red winged blackbirds were being very noisy. I kept trying to tell them to be quiet so I could enjoy my morning. They would not listen.

Pied grebe floating close by. I have never noticed the black stripe on their beak before.

Sparrow – this is either a swamp, grasshopper or savannah. All of them were listed as being seen in this spot. The other birders there argued over which one it was. I’m thinking savannah since it looks like he has a little yellow around his head.

I turn around to start to leave and see a kildeer on the trail. I snapped the picture before he took off. When he took off, another one flew off with him.

Cute little Florida rat (alligator snack).

 

I thought I’d head back to Possum Branch to look for the green tailed towhee. I found him right after Christmas  but hadn’t been back to this little preserve since then. No sight of the towhee in the almost two hours I was there but I have read others have sighted him since then. That tiny little preserve on the corner of a very busy intersection is amazing. As soon as I walked in, I spot the great blue heron pulling something out of the water. I thought “This was totally worth stopping here even if I don’t see anything else.” There were sparrows flitting all around the bushes and lots of usual grackles and blackbirds. The canal that runs along the preserve had lesser scaup but they’ll be gone soon. I was surprised to see the kildeer there. I don’t see them often. I spotted 5 alligators in the two small ponds. Now I hear there’s a clapper rail there so another trip will be soon.

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New bird – green tailed towhee

This is not a green tailed towhee. This is a hispid cotton rat.

My first view of the green tailed towhee.

A close up shot. Look at that rust head!

I had been hearing about the green tailed towhee for a couple of weeks. I didn’t have time before Christmas to swing by the Possum Branch preserve to see it. I had some time New Year’s weekend so I headed out early in the morning. Luckily, there were two other photographers there that had already seen it or I would have never found it. The directions on Bird Brains said follow the path to the canal, take a left and look at the first mulberry tree. He wasn’t there. He was hiding under brush next to the boat ramp. Everyone said if you see the rat eating bird seed, you’re in the right place. We waiting for about an hour until the towhee made an appearance. It was worth the wait even if he didn’t come out from under the brush.  I saw some other cool birds there but more on those later.