Tiny flying things at Lettuce Lake Park

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Prothonotary warblers nest at this park so you can usually find a few around the boardwalk.

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Creepy wasp nest.

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Butterflies and a dragonfly along the boardwalk.

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A very  young bird. I think this is a blue gray gnatcatcher. I’ve heard they nest near the nature center here.

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A titmouse being cute as usual.

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The usual crowd

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Sometimes these little guys are just too cute to not stop and take a shot.

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Mr. Anhinga showing off for the ladies.

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You can usually find prothonotary warblers all year here.

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Warbler with a bug. I’m thinking this is a northern parula since I was hearing them there.

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The juvenile limpkin that hangs around the boardwalk.

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Creepy spider on the boardwalk. You have to watch were you are walking.

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The usual alligator next to the observation deck.

The usual stuff at Lettuce Lake Park in mid-October.

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Small critters at Lettuce Lake

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A carolina wren looking guilty with that mouthful of greens. He’s building a nest somewhere close by.

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A northern parula deep in the woods was chowing on a worm.

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A lot of people were looking for the prothonotary warbler that had been reported there earlier in the week. No one had seen it that morning. Right before I left, I saw this yellow bird in the bushes and snapped a quick picture. When I got home I realized it was the prothonotary warbler everyone had been looking for.

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Diana, the park ranger showed me this tiny ball high up in a tree in the woods. I had to look through my 300mm lens to see it. When I got home and cropped it up, I realized you could see the tiny blue-gray gnatcatcher sitting on the nest. It looks bigger in the picture but was smaller than a baseball. I can’t imagine you could see the tiny babies until they were ready to fly off.

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Dragonfly season is in full swing.

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Hanging around.

This was an early morning walk at Lettuce Lake in north Tampa in late April. I went to see if I could find the barred owl family. I found them and a few other birds along the boardwalk. More on the owls later.

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Almost the end of spring migration – Skywatch Friday

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A rose breasted grosbeak chowing on mulberries.

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My first Tennessee warbler.

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Bay breasted warbler. This one is fairly rare around here, even during migration.

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I can’t remember what this is. Probably just a yellow rumped warbler.

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American redstart.

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I can’t remember what this is either. I think a red eyed vireo.

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Black throated blue warbler.

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Prothonotary warbler

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Scarlet tanager with a snack in his beak.

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I think this is a blue grosbeak. He had some brown on his feathers.

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Cardinal with a half eaten grasshopper.

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A nanday (black hooded) parakeet showed up in the middle of the little migrating birds. He was looking around like “What are all of these people doing in the woods?” He didn’t stay long.

It was early May and spring migration was still going on. The little birds were passing through on their way up north for the summer. Another Saturday morning with the trails packed with people. I saw my first Tennessee warbler this morning. I know I should have been more excited but really, they are all starting to look alike. Now that it’s June, not a soul is on the trails except mosquitos but the beaches are packed with tourists.

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Berry little birds

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White eyed vireos were all around Fort Desoto.

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My very first red-eyed vireo. His beak was stained red from the berries.

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Prothonotary warbler all covered in berry juice.

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Another one getting ready to chow on the berries.

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He’s going to need a bath after this feast.

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Orchard oriole getting a bite.

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Another oriole high up in the tree.

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Even the squirrels were eating the berries.

The mulberry bush area at Fort Desoto was a fly-in fast food place in mid April for birds migrating north. I had never even heard of a mulberry until last year when I kept hearing about the bird traffic at the mulberry bushes at Fort Desoto. I’ve never eaten one but they look like they would taste like a raspberry or blackberry. One interesting thing I read about them on Wikipedia is that some North American cities have banned the planting of mulberries because of the large amounts of pollen they produce, posing a potential health hazard for some pollen allergy sufferers. No wonder I kept coming home with nose bleeds after spending hours walking around the bushes. 

This was the 2nd weekend I had spent at the park looking for little birds. This day I was able to see my first red-eyed vireo. I was getting bird nerd neck pain from staring up in the trees for hours at time. That’s okay, small price to pay for seeing these beautiful fun birds. I can spend the rest of the summer resting on a float in the gulf recouping as the dolphins and manatees swim by (all while keeping an eye out for stingrays and sharks).

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Little yellow birds invade Fort Desoto

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Hooded warblers were everywhere. They were walking around in the grass and posing for everyone. I saw this bird last year but never got a shot so this is my first official hooded warbler shot.

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Prairie warblers aren’t too common. There were many of these on the east beach trails.

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After I cropped this up I realized there were tiny white bugs all over the leaves. I think that’s what he was eating.

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White eyed vireos are common during spring migration.

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This one was trying to hide in the fir trees.

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Yellow throated warblers were common around the ranger’s house this weekend.

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My very first prothonotary warbler.

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He was posing for me right when I hit the trail that morning.

Central west Florida had a small fall-out this past weekend. A big storm came through the Tampa Bay area on Thursday and by Friday afternoon, people were posting great migrating birds all over the area. The most populated seemed to be at Fort Desoto so I headed down there early Saturday morning. I skipped the beach and went straight to the woods. I spent over 4 hours looking for little birds in the bushes and trees.  Of course, everyone else had the same idea so it was pretty crowded on trails. Everyone was so nice pointing out things they had seen. I do not know my little birds very well and usually shoot first and look up species later. Saturday I left knowing all but one bird that I had taken pictures of. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of new people and ran into a few old friends I haven’t seen in a long time.  I also saw a few red and blue birds that aren’t cardinals or blue jays so I’ll post those later.

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