On my way back from my road trip to central Florida to look for the whooping cranes, I stopped along a quiet rode when I saw the above sandhill crane family far out in a cow pasture. The two babies were already big and could keep up with the parents. These are all extremely cropped pictures.
The cow was looking at me like I was crazy.
Central Florida is full of cow pastures and citrus groves.
In early March I hurt my back and ended up with a compression fracture. I had to take it easy for a while and after two weeks without long walks in a park I decided to take a road trip across central Florida to look for the whooping cranes. I figured it was easy to sit in a car and I’ve been saying I was going to go over there but just never took the time. This was also right before the big lock down. On the way home I decided to stop at Circle B Bar Reserve for a quick walk even if it was just a few minute in the parking lot. I felt pretty good (was wearing a back brace around my waist) so I walked a little ways down the main trail. It felt good to be out. I’m glad I made the effort because they closed the reserve down the next week for a while. I found the whooping cranes, more on those later. Above are sandhill cranes that were right up on the trail.
Lots of the usual birds there including the great blue heron yelling at an intruder.
It must have been soft shell turtle day because I saw three different ones on my short walk. They were up on the trail. They are usually skittish but one stopped for a pose.
I’m going to miss the tree twins.
A small part of the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve on a beautiful day.
Sandhill cranes celebrate Valentine’s Day everyday, since they have a heart built right in the top of their head.
I saw this couple out in the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve in late November. The light wasn’t great since it was early in the morning and the sun was coming up behind the cranes. I normally wouldn’t have taken pictures of them with this light but they started dancing and flirting out in the marsh and I just started clicking away. Assuming this is a mating ritual, I’m hoping to see the couple out in the marsh on a nest soon.
Farther down the trail later that morning I saw these cranes fly by. Not sure if they are the same ones since there are several crane couples at the marsh.
They were gone from their corner when I passed by there on my way back to the car.
Cool and pretty plants at Bok Tower Gardens in central Florida.
Little critters and flying critters. Hummingbirds were everywhere but I could not seem to catch them feeding. They would fly behind or into the bushes.
I love walking around Bok Tower Gardens. There’s always something different to see. I don’t get there often since it’s close to an hour and a half from my house (and that’s without traffic). I managed to get there a few weeks before Christmas but was wishing it was cooler than it was. Otherwise, it was a perfect morning.
On my way back to the main road, I passed a house that had 4 sandhill cranes in their front yard, along with a few ibis. I pulled over and quickly snapped the above from my car. It would be really cool to see these guys grazing in my front yard but it would be rare to get them that close to the bay.
I just happened to be walking down the trail when I saw 2 sandhill cranes walking around. I didn’t think anything of it until one of the cranes started spreading her wings. I thought “Oh well, they’re going to fly away.” but no, they had something else in mind. By now there are hopefully crane babies out there somewhere.
All the other birds were busy eating fish and bugs along the trails.
Great blue heron cruising by.
Busy morning for the birds in mid March at Circle B Bar Reserve.
When my sister was here visiting over Thanksgiving weekend we headed down to Sarasota for the day. After spending the morning at Selby Gardens and having lunch nearby we stopped in at Save Our Seabirds to walk around for a while before heading back to Tampa. SOS is a non-profit bird sanctuary and rehabilitation facility. They rescue, rehab and release injured birds. Many of the birds that can’t be released have found a permanent home here.
Many of the birds had missing wings, eyes or legs. It was late in the afternoon when we stopped in so it was quiet and most of the birds were napping.
They do a lot of work with injured sandhill cranes including ones that lose a leg after being hit by a car. They fit them with prosthetic legs so they are able to move around easily but are still not able to be released.
I stumbled on to this sandhill crane family walking down the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in early March. The parents were teaching the babies how to look for bugs and eat them. A few people were standing by but the parents did not seem to mind. As long as you didn’t get too close they just went on their way. I sat down on the trail to get the pictures and several times I had to get up and move back since they were walking right towards me. It looks like lunch was mostly dragonflies.
The 2 above were taken with my cell phone. They were too close to get with my camera and if I tried to move back any farther I would end up in the swamp. They strutted down the trail for while before heading back out into the marsh.
A red shoulder hawk hiding in the tree. I blew this out to get the details in his feathers to show up.
A young limpkin stretching.
A baby limpkin getting feed.
A tricolored heron along the water.
A baby great blue heron still on the nest. Looking all grown up but not yet ready to fly.
Green and orange flash in the bushes.
Alligators were everywhere. They were very loud since it was the beginning of mating season. Now one of the main trails is closed for the summer since the alligators spend a lot of time on the trails raising their young.
I was taking a picture of something else when I caught the above out of the corner of my eye. I quickly turned around to snap but I had the wrong settings to get a good clear picture of him. He was gone in a few seconds. I finally see one walking across the trail in front of me and did not get a good picture. I was bummed but at least I wasn’t missing a limb.
I stopped by a neighborhood pond to see what was floating around in it. I parked my car and got out and saw two sandhill cranes in someone’s yard. Just relaxing under a tree. They stayed there while I was walking around the lake. When I got back to my car, they were walking around in the street.
Nothing too exciting in the pond. A great blue heron was hiding in the reeds.
My favorite muhly grass was pink and the red berries were out.
A red bellied cooter and a soft shell turtle were basking in the sun.
Not much floating in the pond right now. Hopefully, some winter ducks will show up.