All of the critters were feasting.

The usual things to see at Possum Branch Preserve.

Alligators are also usual things there. That alligator in the first one thinks that grass is hiding him. That alligator coming up behind him knew he was there.

There were no spring migrating birds feeding in the mulberry tree but the woodpecker was getting his fill.

This female red winged blackbird had 2 snacks, a caterpillar and a dragonfly.

Another usual suspect here is a brown thrasher.

Not a usual suspect in the mulberry trees right before I left.  A small flock of cedar waxwings landed on the back side of the tree. I’ve seen them here once before several years ago. It was hard to get shots of them on the back side of the tree that backs up to the pond full of gators. Standing under the tree I could see several at the top with their faces covered in berry juice. They are such an elegant bird, always so clean. I felt like I should have offered them a napkin but I left them to their mulberry buffet.

My Corner of the World

Everyone was eating this morning

A chickadee hanging on the moss. He was picking the bugs off the moss.

I found these two woodpeckers that were eating peanuts from the ground at the bottom of a cypress tree near the main trail at Chesnut Park. I don’t know if someone left them there for the birds or if the woodpeckers stashed them there before. They both kept coming down, grabbing a peanut and then going up the tree and eating it. They did this several times.

Heading home, I was driving down the road in the right lane when this swallow tail kite cruised really low right in front of me. I turned into a neighborhood and pulled over and got out as the kite was cruising around. He was circling low all over the neighborhood and then took a dive behind some trees.

When he was visible again he had a lizard in his talons. At this point he started heading out of the neighborhood and across the busy road. It was fun seeing him cruising so low.

Yard birds in May

Doves sleeping on our fence. Taken through the kitchen window.

This night heron was hanging out on our dock, staying busy preening.

An ibis flew in and landed on the same dock.

The night heron was not happy with the ibis near his spot and chased him off. I just happened to be walking out of the side of the house to sneak around to the back to take pictures of the heron when I caught the ibis landing.

A few minutes later the night heron flew down to the water. It was an extreme low tide and you could see some of the rocks exposed. He was looking for tiny crabs on the rocks.

A mockingbird was eating something off my neighbor’s bottle brush tree.

A red bellied woodpecker in the tree.

Not an exciting bird but the house sparrows nest nearby and I always get a lot of them at my feeder so I consider them “my” birds. They are not skittish at all.

I was hosing down the front porch early one Sunday morning when I looked down the driveway and saw a duck couple drinking the runoff water. I know they want a handout but we don’t feed the ducks here. On one side it would be fun if they nested in our bushes but on the other side, our driveway would be covered in piles of duck poop.

My Corner of the World

A new bird in my backyard

My neighbors planted payaya trees on the side of the house and this little phoebe has been hanging out on the fence in front of the trees. I can see him when I’m working in the back bedroom (which for now is my “work from home” room). One day I got up and grabbed my camera and shot the above through the window. He’s gone for the summer now so I won’t see him again until September or October.

Even though cardinals are common, I don’t see them often at my feeder.

A red bellied woodpecker has been coming to the feeder every day. He’s picking out the peanuts. You can see his red belly in the first picture.

For several weeks we had a grumpy looking great blue heron on our dock or our neighbor’s dock.

This duck couple stops by every couple of days. They nap in our backyard.

A new bird to the backyard. I went outside to put food in the feeder early one morning in February and noticed a small bird sitting on my neighbor’s sailboat mast. Once in a while we get an osprey or red shoulder hawk sitting up there but this bird was much smaller. I realized it was a kestrel and ran inside and grabbed my camera and walked out on the dock and he was still sitting there while I took his picture. Then a crow came by and chased him off. I don’t see kestrels often, usually at Fort Desoto so I was surprised to see him here.

Starlings took over our tree right before dark.

Things in the backyard including some weird fungus growing in our mulch after a long rain. We often get small mushrooms in the grass after a rain but this orange thing was a first. Being the nerd that I am, I looked it up and it’s a columned stinkhorn.  It’s common in Florida in mulch beds and it’s suppose to smell horrible if you break it.  Luckily I left it there and it’s gone now. I wonder if an animal ate it.

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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