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?”
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.
The barred owls have been hanging out next to the parking lot for a while now.
The reserve is full of green herons. They are now a usual suspect.
Along with male anhingas showing off.
And the glossy ibis sparkling in the sun are a dime a dozen.
The cute pied grebes aren’t as skittish as they use to be.
There’s always snowy egrets in a body of water.
Now I see purple gallinules every time I walk Alligator Alley trail.
Even a great blue heron baby in the nest during spring is common here.
Seeing a bald eagle somewhere in the park is pretty common, even if its way up high half hidden in a cypress tree.
But I still love walking the trails at Circle B Bar Reserve and seeing all of the above every time I’m here. Even when it gets crowded on the weekends. I just get there a little earlier and leave before lunch when the crowd starts coming in.
The lake at Kapok Park are full of turtles. People feed them and they come close to the boardwalk. Look at those fingernails!
A cute grebe shying away.
The red-winged blackbirds come close the boardwalk as well. Both a male and a female were posing for me.
Moorhens were taking a bath.
A rare sighting at this park. I found a lone purple gallinule under the boardwalk. I have never seen one here or even heard of one near the area.
Great blue heron flyby.
The big old trees at the park. It looks like one got blown over during a big storm. It looks like such a big strong tree. It’s hard to believe wind would knock that over.
On the way home I stopped by downtown Safety Harbor and could just barely make out a juvenile eagle on the cell tower.
Another tower close by had two babies (you can see only one in the picture). One of the parents was feeding them and the other parent was on a utility tower across the street. I’ve been keeping an eye on these nests for a while, swinging by there on the way home from work. It’s great to see these eagles raising families in this busy neighborhood.
I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home from work recently and did a quick walk around the park. I was hoping to see signs of the great horned owls but they either didn’t nest there this year or already nested and left.
The purple gallinules are so much fun to watch. They are like little purple clowns trying to navigate the plants. If they walk out on a stem that can’t hold their weight, they slide down to the end and try to hang on. They stop to check you out for a second and then continue to try to eat the plant. They are pretty scarce until the fall and then there is usually a few families hanging out in the plants close to the trail.
The above is a juvenile purple gallinule that was born early this past spring. He hasn’t quite gotten his bright feathers in yet but he already has those big yellow feet. He was still trying to climb around without falling down.
These were all taken in mid-November at Circle B Bar Reserve.