An early June trip to Chesnut Park

Visiting my “deer” friends at Chesnut Park.

The usual summer birds were there. A catbird, palm warbler, white eyed vireo and a red-winged blackbird.

A tiny gator getting some rays.

A lone muscovy hangs around the pond.

Wood ducks stay far away.

Linking to Wednesday Around the World.

Fun stuff at Bok Tower Gardens

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It didn’t feel like fall or Halloween until I went to Bok Tower Gardens in central Florida. They had some fun decorations around the gardens. The scarecrows were made by local school kids.

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The gold door to the the bell tower.

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I was disappointed that the only bird at the feeder was a red-winged blackbird.

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It was a beautiful morning. The moon was still out while I walked the trails.

I recently spent several hours walking around the gardens at Bok Tower. It’s about an hour and a half from where I live in Tampa but worth the drive. The gardens have a huge variety of things including flowers, trees, birds, butterflies and other tiny critters to practice photography while getting in a good walk.

Critters at Chesnut Park.

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Some of the summer birds at Chesnut Park in mid-June.

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I don’t see Cooper’s hawks that often. This one was watching his nest, far into the woods. We couldn’t see the babies but we could hear them crying for food.

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Not great shots but I couldn’t resist. The above two shots are of a blue-gray gnatcatcher nest high up in a tree. It looked like a golf ball from the naked eye. I think there were 3 babies on the nest. By the time you could see them, they were outgrowing the nest. These are extremely zoomed in and cropped. Thanks to Joe with his scope that knows every bird that is born at the park.

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Even smaller critters have taken over. Grasshoppers and butterflies were everywhere.

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This little beauty had deer flies on her face. They are worse than mosquitos.

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Taken with my phone, a shot of the swamp from the boardwalk.

A walk around a pond after work

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Still working on my dragonfly shots.

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There are always bunnies along the sidewalk. They don’t seem to mind the joggers going by but if you stop for a few seconds and look at them, they hop into the bushes.

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My first brown thrasher of the year. This one was in the shade near some bushes. He had popped out to get a bug.

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Red winged blackbirds are the “go to” birds when no one else is around. This one was at least posing on a pretty weed.

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I got excited when I saw a black necked stilt. I’ve never seen one at this pond before.

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I got even more excited when I saw another one sitting on a nest. This is a slim chance nest though. She’s on a mud flat near the edge of the pond during a drought. If we get more than 3 inches of rain it will flood this nest. Rainy season was just about to start. This pond has a lot of small alligators creeping around. This was in mid-May and I haven’t made it back to see if the nest was still there. It’s a tough one.

Really short video of the stilt preening. They are usually skittish but he didn’t seem to mind me sitting on the sidewalk watching him.

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Seeing a slight rainbow before the sun went down.

I hit the park near work for a walk before heading home. This was the same area where I had seen the sora rails. I had heard there was a Virginia rail there and went looking for it. No luck on the rail but I did see the stilt on the nest.