Two parks in one morning.

A northern parula going for a mulberry at Possum Brand Preserve. This is one of two trees there but only one blooms in the fall.

I’m not sure what the second picture is. I thought it was a red eyed vireo like the 3rd one but the yellow around the eyes is throwing me off.

Yellow-rumped warblers are pretty easy to spot. Mostly drab colors but that pop of yellow on his backside gives him away.

A house wren with a teeny snack in his beak. These guys are usually pretty shy and stay deep in the bushes but this one popped out for a minute.

The grebes are always looking up. Ready to take a dive if a hawk flies by.

The anhinga was across the pond but I managed to catch him with his catch.

After leaving Possum Branch I headed for a quick walk at Chesnut Park. I found a purple gallinule at the end of the dock there. Last year a pair had babies there in the spring so hoping for another crop this year.

I spotted this great blue heron with breakfast.

At the beginning of January, if finally looked like winter at the pond at Chesnut Park. The bald cypress leaves had fallen and blanketed the pond with brown and orange.

At Possum Brand Preserve, some of the cypress trees still had their leaves but they were already brown.

SkyWatch Friday

The usual stuff

When you are driving down the road and see an eagle sitting on a pole (and your camera is in the car) you turn around and go back and get a shot. Especially since it was such a beautiful sky. This one was sitting in a short tower behind a gas station on my way to Chesnut Park one morning.

Do we wish we could hang upside down so easily?

A yellow rumped warbler hiding in the bushes.

I’ve been seeing a purple gallinule hanging around the dock lately. This one has a snack in his beak.

This little gnatcatcher was being too cute not to take some shots.

I think this may be a juvenile northern parula. He’s got just a hint of gray on his back.

I don’t see swamp sparrows often.

This gnatcatcher was trying hard to get that bug.

This should not really be happening at the park but this young girl was beside herself when the titmouse flew onto her hand. People come early in the morning and leave seed along the boardwalk rail. It’s usually titmouse, cardinals and squirrels that are eating the seeds.

Long walk on the trails

Looks like a good morning for a walk.

Still a little bit of yellow along the trail.

I found these young juvenile purple gallinules feeding along the trail. One was almost completely purple and the other hadn’t quite got his bright purple feathers in yet.

Views from the trail including that small alligator cruising along the lake.

The long walk around. I took the long way around Eagle’s Roost Trail to avoid the crowds later in the morning. I had the trail all to myself. This was right before my hip started hurting so I’ve only made a short trip back since then and stayed close to the parking lot area,

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

Just catching sunrise.

I use to set my alarm to get up early on the weekends but lately my internal alarm has been going off early and I got out of bed one Saturday morning in November and headed to Circle B Bar Reserve. Although, not that early since the sun was just peaking out as I hit the trails. It’s the perfect time to be there, quiet and not many people there yet. You can hear the birds starting to talk and the whistling ducks were starting to fly back and forth.

One of my favorite views in the morning.

There wasn’t a lot of different birds out. The usuals were there (moorhens, whistlers, herons, egrets, cormorants) but I didn’t see many uncommon birds. The above are fairly common in the winter (female common yellowthroat, house wren and the purple gallinules) but sometimes a little bit harder to find.

Some of the smaller critters along the trail.

The eagle’s nest is pretty far away but I could still see both eagles on the nest. Maybe she’s looking at her eggs in the nest?  Might have been a little early but soon.

SkyWatch Friday

A drive along the lake

Everyone was eating breakfast at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late October.

A great blue heron off in the distance.

A young purple gallinule showing off his big feet.

A kingfisher sitting still. I took this from the car since I knew the second I opened that door he would be gone.

A tricolored heron guarding the sign.

A few of the smaller gators along the drive. I never seem to see the really big ones there.

More along the drive. I was having hip pain in late October so I decided to head over to the wildlife drive in Apopka and stay off me feet for a while. I ended up with hip bursitis which has slowed me down for a while in early November. It was taking forever to heal since I can’t seem to sit still very long.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

By the dock at Chesnut Park

It’s fairly rare to see purple gallinules in Pinellas county. Occasionally one pops up in a weird spot but doesn’t stay long. I usually only see them in central Florida, at Circle B Bar Reserve or Lake Parker. Now there seems to be several families living near the dock over the lake at Chesnut Park. They’ve been reported there for several weeks and they have a juvenile with them. They were really close to the dock.

The juvenile doesn’t quite have his bright colors yet.

This squirrel was missing his tail.

Little critters along the dock.

These dogs at the end of the dock looked at me like “We don’t know what they are staring at. Would you play with us?”

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Usual stuff at Circle B Bar Reserve

One of my favorite trees at Circle B Bar Reserve. A bald cypress in the middle of the lake. It looks like a great blue heron is nesting on it.

Some of the usual birds along the trail.

A few not so common ones, a Wilson’s snipe and a chipping sparrow.

Purple gallinules were all along the trail.

A few crawling critters.

Across the lake, I could just make out the bald eagles sitting on the right side of the tree. You can also see one of the baby’s brown head sticking up off the nest.

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More from my drive along Lake Apopka.

I rarely see baby purple gallinules. They are very skittish. I caught this little one running in between the reeds. Look at those big yellow feet!

The parents were close by.

Two juvenile common gallinules (or moorhens) hanging out.

The only birds I saw along the drive were common ones.

Turkey vultures are also common along the drive but it’s not often you get to see one up close and with a snack.

Young tree swallows perching on the utility wire. It’s rare to see these guys resting.

Another common site along the drive, an anhinga with a fish.

A beautiful morning to be out.

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Up close with a purple clown.

I got lucky. As I was walking down Heron Hideout Trail, I spotted a purple gallinule close to the trail and the sun was out. His bright colors really popped so I took a ton of pictures. He was climbing around the alligator flag plant trying to eat the seeds and kept falling off. Such a beautiful bird and so much charisma.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World