Parks close to home

A quick early walk at Chesnut Park in early May. The park started to get crowded pretty quickly so I left and headed out to another park close by.

Possum Branch Preserve was void of people but not many birds there either. At least it was a nice walk outside.

A few birds there included a juvenile night heron and a red bellied woodpecker.

I caught this common snapping turtle cruising down the back trail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snapper out in the wild. This one was pretty small.

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Two parks in early April

Heading out to Chesnut Park in early April. There was hardly anyone there but someone had come before me laying bird seed along the boardwalk.

I didn’t see where this crow got this egg. He stopped in the tree right in front of me. It could be a turtle egg.

I saw this little sparrow deep in the bushes along the boardwalk. I was hoping it was something rare but realized it was just a chipping sparrow. Not rare but not extremely common here.

Dragonflies are everywhere now.

I was watching this guy skiing back and forth across the lake. Looks like a fun way to do social distancing.

Enjoying the quiet morning but since this park was open it started to get crowded pretty quickly. I left by 9:30 and headed to Possum Branch Preserve.

Almost no one here at the reserve. Not many birds either.

The sora rail was still here a few weeks after I first saw him.

A beautiful morning for a walk.

SkyWatch Friday

My favorite tree

I went to visit the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo in early November to see one of my favorite trees. The huge silk floss tree was bursting with pink blooms. It’s weird to see all of these blooming pink flowers in November, even in central Florida.  Even the birds like the tree.

Other flying critters.

A scarecrow was still guarding the pond.

There was a crew there putting up Christmas lights in the trees. It takes them so long to decorate the gardens that they start early.

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In the swamp in July.

The usual birds at Chesnut park in July including that titmouse hanging upside down trying to get a bug.

I was hoping to see some baby deer in mid July but I think it was too early. Only adults and young bucks.

The usual critter in the swamp.

A usual summer storm was moving in.

The boardwalk swamp was full of water after days of rain. It was weird to be walking around with so much water. Even in the early morning it was hot, muggy and buggy.  The last one is a quick video oft he sounds in the swamp.

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Here’s to hoping for baby ladybugs!

A few fun things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

The beautiful silk floss tree that blooms in the fall. I always forget about it the rest of the year since it’s just full of green leaves. I forget about the pink flowers and am always surprised and amazed when I see this tree in late October. This was towards the end of the bloom and the ground was covered in the pink flowers.

Not many birds. A local red belled woodpecker and a wood duck couple.

The above was hanging on a tree in the woods at the gardens. Kind of creepy but also cool.

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Rare birds and common ones

I hadn’t seen cedar waxwings in years. They are somewhat rare here and only a few come through during spring migration. I saw one hiding deep in the bushes and was a little bummed he was not visible. Later in my walk a flock of them quickly flew by and one stopped for a few second right in front of me. They are beautiful birds.

A rare western kingbird. I’ve only seen these once before in the area in the last 9 years. At first I thought it was a great crested flycatcher which are more common but realized later it was a kingbird.

All of the usual birds that are at Possum Branch Preserve.

Not sure what this little yellow bird it. I’m thinking it’s an immature palm warbler.

Other little critters along the lake (besides alligators).

These were all taken at Possum Branch Preserve, a small watershed, near my home in mid-April.

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New Year’s Day “Name that bird”

Female belted kingfisher (Males do not have the brown stripe across the chest).

Female red bellied woodpecker (Males have full red on his head).

Male common yellowthroat (Female does not have the black mask).

Limpkin

Crazy green heron.

Blue-gray gnatcatcher.

Female ruby throated hummingbird (Males have a bright red stripe across the chin).

A very young white crowned sparrow (a fairly rare one here).

A young red shoulder hawk (very common around here).

All taken on a recent visit to Circle B Bar Reserve.

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Critters at Bok Tower Gardens

A quiet day for birds in early September.  A woodpecker, a great horned owl and a quick peek at a hummingbird.

Lots of squirrels around. The one in the bottom shot had a big bot fly bite on his side.

I found the real “Peter Cottontail” on the trail.

Creepy spiders just in time for Halloween.

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