A new preserve close by

I had only recently heard about Lake Dan Preserve through a hiking group. It’s only 30 minutes north so I decided to check it out in early February. It was a colder morning but the sun was warming up. The parking lot was small and hawk was sitting in a tree right over my car. There wasn’t a lot of birds when I first got there.  Only a few yellow-rumped warblers. Probably because that hawk was sitting there out in the open. I hit the trail and walked across the bridge over the lake.

Out on the edge of the lake I could see deer getting a drink.

As I got farther down the trail, I came across a deer that was standing right in front of me. She stared at me for a few seconds before taking off across the field. She did stop and look back for a few seconds before heading into the woods. There were a lot of deer up here roaming around.  All females that I saw this morning.

The only thing I didn’t like about the trail here was that most of it was soft sand which didn’t help my hip. Even walking on the edge didn’t help. I could feel my hip starting to hurt. I really need hard dirt or paved trails for now to keep my hip from going back out again so I didn’t walk as much as I would have liked to.

I found this interesting swamp pond about half way on my walk on a side trail. It was very quiet and I could barely make out deer getting water on the far end. I’m sure lots of critters use this instead of the big lake close by. It was kind of cool to be out here in the quiet and the bald cypress trees in the middle made it feel like winter. It’s amazing what you can find a half hour out of Tampa. First shot is out of the camera, the second I added a filter to make it look more like winter. I wasn’t sure which one I liked better.

My Corner of the World

 

Back on the trail.

My first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve since mid-March. It has been closed all of that time and had just re-opened the week before I went in late May. I was there very early and headed out to the trails. This red shoulder hawk was welcoming me back.

Not many people there at 7:15 and it was good to be back on the trails.

Not many birds either. Just the usual suspects posing along the trail.

Talk about feeling like you are being watched. The alligators were close to the trails. They were use to having them all to themselves for 2 months.

The clouds were rolling in but I didn’t care.

So much for the social distancing thing. This group came by and instead of walking by on one side of the trail in a single file, they crowded the trail. I stepped off to let them go by but I couldn’t go too far off without stepping into the marsh and getting eaten by a gator. It was time to head back to the car at this point.

Not before stopping to catch this pretty cattle egret.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

A quiet morning at Chesnut Park.

The baby deer from this summer were almost grown up in late mid October. You can barely see the spots on the first two.

The squirrels were busy eating.Some had better snacks than others.

The usual birds were chilling or hanging.

The day after we got back from Boston I was craving a walk in woods so I headed out for Chesnut Park near my house. Back to my shorts and tshirt routine. And now it’s December 2nd and I feel like I should be posting pictures of snow or Christmas decorations but it ‘s just another day in paradise here in central Florida.

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image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

Seeing the big boys

I stopped by Chesnut Park on the way home from work in late July just after it had stopped raining. I was hoping to see baby deer. It’s rare to see them on a Saturday morning when the park is busy but they usually come out from hiding and play in the rain during the week. I didn’t see any babies on this trip.

A very young buck with some pine straw hanging out of his mouth.

I did get to see 2 bucks with  bigger antlers which is a rare thing to see at the park. A park ranger once told me the park is mostly full of does and the bucks come down from Brooker Creek Preserve in the spring and summer to mate but don’t hang around Chesnut Park long. These 2 were hanging out on the baseball field by themselves. When I walked up to the edge of the field they stopped and glanced at me for a few seconds then ignored me. This guy was trying to be cool but little did he know that he had some grass stuck between his ear and antler.

I saw this red shoulder hawk on the ground with a lizard. He was still soaked from the rain. He took off after he saw me.

Photographing New Zealand

More of the same at Circle B Bar Resesrve.

Red shoulder hawks are everywhere. Soon they’ll be nesting.

Same for the great blue herons.

The usual turtles and gators.

A few white pelicans fly overhead.

Not sure what this is but I think it’s a cocoon of some kind. How did this bug get those sticks so perfect?

The marsh is full of bur marigolds in November and December.

All the usual wildlife at Chesnut Park

I saw a hawk sitting on the pole holding up the volleyball net.  A few minutes later it started to rain. I ducked under cover but he just sat there through the quick shower.

All of the usual birds were at Chesnut Park in early November, including the female common yellowthroat warbler.

Two different female American redstarts came out of hiding for a few seconds.

I think this is a female painted bunting, which is fairly rare to see at this park.

Other critters at the park including that alligator in the top picture with a huge fish hanging out of his mouth.

Critters in the rain

I left work while it was still raining in early August hoping Chesnut Park would be empty of people due to the weather. That’s when the baby deer come out from hiding in the woods. Early on Saturday mornings when I’m usually there, the park is filled with joggers, walkers and dogs so the deer stay deep in the woods. It was still drizzling when I first got there. I quickly saw 2 hawks that were soaked.

I spotted a fawn staying close to the family.

Not sure if this was Dad or a big brother. It’s rare to see older males at the park. They usually stay farther north and come down to the park during mating season.

This little one had a sibling. Even though the rain had stopped, I stayed in the car to take these. I didn’t want to spook them. They continued to graze and I eventually headed home.

A baby hawk

I found this immature red-shouldered hawk on top of a picnic shelter at Chesnut Park. The park is heavily populated with hawks, both red-shouldered and Cooper’s. He was really focused on something.

Close by, I heard something peeping high up in  tree and saw this fuzzball sticking his head up. A baby hawk. A tiny one.

The parent was one tree over, keeping an eye on the baby. I sat on ground for a while hoping the other parent would show up with something yummy to feed the baby but after a half hour I was hungry so I left to go home for lunch. I’m sure by now the park is full of young hawks flying around.

Lots of little birds in late March

This little titmouse seemed to be showing me his snack.

 

So many little birds at Lettuce Lake Park in late March including that little spotted Hermit thrush in the last 2 pictures (or so I was told by the bird experts at the park that morning). This was a first sighting of a hermit for me.

A little blue heron posing for me.

Taken directly into the sun, this red shoulder hawk was right over my head on the boardwalk.