I love Bok Tower Gardens in the spring. It’s the only place I’ve seen orange sunflowers.
The pitcher plants are really cool as well.
Lots of things were blooming when I was there in late April. I just wish it was closer. It’s now almost 2 hours away, though worth the trip. I usually make several stops on the way home at other parks but it’s too hot to do that in the summer.
Butterflies were everywhere but I mostly saw monarchs.
The birds were not plentiful but I did see some redstarts and great crested flycatchers.
And now I know why they call it a “cottontail” bunny.
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.
What would you expect to find walking down Marsh Rabbit Run Trail at Circle B Bar Reserve? I rarely see them on this trail but there it was on my walk in late October. As I got closer and he disappeared in the bushes on the side I yelled “Don’t go in there. The alligators will get you” but he didn’t listen.
These guys are always hanging on the side of the trails.
So are these. Marsh Rabbit Run should really be called Creepy Spider Trail.
This is what you see after the trails open back up after being closed for the summer. The sides of the trails are full of spiders. Those tiny dots are spiders in between the trees. That’s why you don’t want to get to close to the sides of the trails (although most of them are pretty high up there are usually a few lower down). I think for the most part these are harmless although I always do a spider check if I feel like I walked through a web.
An eagle cruising far away across the marsh.
My favorite purple clowns were out feeding. These are juvenile purple gallinules that hadn’t gotten their purple feathers in. Soon they will look like the one below. They were eating the tips of the alligator flag plants.
Driving into Bok Tower Gardens you wind through orange groves and you can see the top of the carillon hovering over the trees. At this point the trees were heavy with ripe oranges in early April. I wish it was closer to my home. It’s an hour and a half away but worth the drive every once in a while. The worst part is putting your life on the line driving across crazy I4 for about 45 minutes but after that it’s a nice back road drive through small towns. I like seeing the cows as I pass by and I keep an eye out for eagles cruising in the skies.
This huge beautiful arrangement greats you at the entrance of the visitor’s center.
Lots of yellow and orange blooming when I was there. I love the orange sunflowers.
Little critters were flying around.
I found a lot of amaryllis blooming near the back exit by the parking lot. It made me think it was still Christmas but the heat reminded me it was not.
This was an interesting cactus. I don’t remember ever seeing these guys sprout like this. It looked like a big asparagus growing out of it.
I was hoping for a few spring migrates at the bird feeder by the pond but all I got was catbirds and cardinals.
While sitting on the bench waiting for birds at the feeder, this guy walked right up to me. Maybe people feed them here? He looked at me for a few seconds and then went to the ground under the feeder and started digging around for seeds. I think we had a connection!
A pop of yellow from a yellow rumped warbler. After a quick walk around Possum Branch on Saturday morning in mid-January, I headed home but stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier for a quick walk on the pier.
It was a quiet morning at the fishing pier.
The bright red beaks on the ibis stuck out on this drab morning.
The grackles were picking snacks off the oyster bed.
Pigeons are like snowflakes. No two are alike. There’s always a large flock of them at the Safety Harbor fishing pier. It was interesting to see how many different color patterns they had.
I found these leaves at McGough Nature Park in Largo back in October. They look like lacy leaves. They were spread out all along the trail. I would normally think bugs did this but it almost looks natural and I’ve seen it at several other parks. Does anyone know if this is natural?
I stopped by the turtle pond to say hi to all of the turtles swimming around.
A bunny was sitting right on the trail.
Some of the resident tortoises at the nature center.
It’s not often you get to see a Mississippi kite up close. They are pretty rare to see in the Tampa bay area and this one was rehabbing here at the center.
After leaving McGough Park, I stopped by the Largo Nature Preserve for a quick walk before heading home for lunch. It was a quiet morning so I didn’t stay long.
I rarely see bluebirds in the parks near my house. I’m sure they are around but I never seem to see them. I didn’t expect to see one singing on a dead pine tree at Possum Branch Preserve. This was a treat watching him pouring his heart out across the marsh.
The lone glossy ibis was still there, showing off his colors in the sunlight.
I looked down in the marsh and saw this. What was this purple gallinule doing?
Then I realized another one was coming out of the reeds and they started playing “leap frog” in the marsh. Those big yellow feet were such a contrast on top of her back. They did it twice before taking off in different directions. By now somewhere in that marsh is a purple gallinule nest. Here’s to hoping to see babies soon.
There’s always a lot of white peacock butterflies and bunnies here.
The Sora rail was the talk of the reserve back in early April. I’ve only seen a few rails and they were all at Circle B Bar Reserve. This was a rare sighting for this area so a handful of people were coming to the park to find him. There were actually 3 there and they stayed for a few weeks. They stayed close to the reeds and were digging around in mud looking for food. Since then we’ve had some rain so the ponds are filled back up. Maybe that’s why they eventually left.
The Virginia rail on the left was a nice surprise. I had heard one was there but didn’t see it. I saw the sora on the right far out in the marsh heading towards the reeds and snapped a shot of him and when I cropped this up I realized the Virginia rail was behind him.
Lately there’s been a glossy ibis hanging around the pond. This is another bird that I usually only see in central Florida so it was weird to see him here.