A few stops on the way home.

The trail around the ponds at Possom Branch Preserve were covered in these purple flowers. The bees seemed to love them.

Little critters.

I noticed a swallow tail kite cruising high over the busy road next to the preserve.

Lots of parulas and palm warblers but not many other birds. Spring migration was pretty much over by early May.

On the way home I stopped by a small park near Possum Branch Preserve to take a peek on the boardwalk. Nothing there but I saw the above yellow billed cuckoo in the parking lot. I saw it fly into a tree and at first glance I thought it was a dove. I’m glad I stopped and paid attention. These are fairly rare here.

I also stopped by the fishing pier in Safety Harbor to see if there were any manatees. No manatees this morning but a school of sting rays swam under the pier.

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Almost grown up

One of the parents keeping an eye on the kids.

“Mom, I’m hungry!”

“Big brother, you better come down from there. Mom’s here with breakfast.”

“Lady, are you going to watch us eat?”

“I guess he’s not coming down so we’ll eat without him.”

“Yum”

 

The older baby had climbed to the very top of the tree and was sleeping in the moss so the youngest was all alone on the nest.  Mom came down for a while and fed it. Not sure what they were eating, rabbit or squirrel?

“Peek A Boo” from the other side of the tree.

They grow up so fast. These were taken in late March, the last time I saw the babies on the nest. Not long after this the oldest was already moving to other trees. Hopefully we’ll see new babies next winter.

The Safety Harbor owls were growing up.

A rare time seeing both parents sitting together high up in a tree while the babies sit below alone in the nest. Although, at this point the babies are big enough to stay by themselves as long as a parent is close by. We usually only see one parent at a time.

After a while, Mom woke up and flew down to the nest.

She only stayed for a few minutes and then took off across the park while Dad continued to nap high above.

The babies were awake and were very curious looking around at all of the joggers and dog walkers going by.

Then this one sits up, stretches and yawns and then plops down for a nap. Time for me to go home and have lunch

 

Photographing New Zealand

Another great horned owl family

Both parents were close to the nest. Mom out in the open in the top picture. Dad was trying to hide in the moss while napping.

Mom eventually flew down to the nest. She turned her back when she was feeding the little ones so I don’t have a shot of that. After a few minutes she left again, flying to a branch nearby.

The little ones sat quietly for while, watching people walk by.

Someone found a pellet right underneath where the Dad was sleeping. We were trying to figure out what he had eaten.

I ran into some friends who were there walking their dog. They stopped to chat for a while but the dog was ready to go. He wanted to be out running in the park, not sitting under a tree while his owners were talking.

The view of north Tampa bay from the park. The owl’s nest sits in a big oak tree in the middle of a parking lot. It’s a main thoroughfare for joggers and walkers so the area is very busy.

Photographing New Zealand

Two parks in one morning

A very hot morning at North Shore Park in downtown St. Petersburg. The beach was busy with volleyball players. On a Saturday morning you can find a lot of joggers and dog walkers on the sidewalk but not many people in the water. Since this is the bay, the water here is not nice but you can usually get a breeze.

Across the bay, you can just make out the energy plant with steam coming out.

After walking around at North Shore Park, I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier before heading home. They have a new boardwalk that goes along the mangroves next to the pier. This small area is a little piece of Florida that hasn’t changed much over the years (with the exception of that big condo building going up next to the old Safety Harbor Hotel in that first shot).

SkyWatch Friday

Looking for an owl

I stopped by the park not to far from my house on the way home from Chesnut Park. I hadn’t been in a while but was wondering if the owls were nesting again this year. It was too early for babies but I did see an adult sleeping in the tree. This was a good sign.

I would nest here too if I was a bird. The old trees are beautiful.

Nearby in the utility tower are the brown boobies. It’s always been rare to see them here but in the last year, a handful of them have been living in the area. Most days they can be seen on the tower. These were taken with my 300mm lens and extender and I cropped these up so they are pretty far out. You can tell the boobies by the white stomachs vs. the many cormorants or anhingas on the tower.

Lots of birds in along the shoreline at the park.

SkyWatch Friday

A walk after work

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The lake at Kapok Park are full of turtles. People feed them and they come close to the boardwalk.  Look at those fingernails!

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A cute grebe shying away.

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The red-winged blackbirds come close the boardwalk as well. Both a male and a female were posing for me.

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Moorhens were taking a bath.

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A rare sighting at this park. I found a lone purple gallinule under the boardwalk. I have never seen one here or even heard of one near the area.

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Great blue heron flyby.

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The big old trees at the park. It looks like one got blown over during a big storm. It looks like such a big strong tree. It’s hard to believe wind would knock that over.

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On the way home I stopped by downtown Safety Harbor and could just barely make out a juvenile eagle on the cell tower.

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Another tower close by had two babies (you can see only one in the picture). One of the parents was feeding them and the other parent was on a utility tower across the street.  I’ve been keeping an eye on these nests for a while, swinging by there on the way home from work. It’s great to see these eagles raising families in this busy neighborhood.

I stopped by Kapok Park on the way home from work recently and did a quick walk around the park. I was hoping to see signs of the great horned owls but they either didn’t nest there this year or already nested and left.

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