Pedaling by the stables on the bike trail.
I found a pair of kildeer far out in the cow pasture.
A Savannah sparrow posed for me on the fence.
I spotted some turkeys on the far side of the cow pasture.
Critters taking a nap along the pond (these were both cropped up).
This is the first time I have seen a snapping turtle on this trail.
My first ever sighting of a Sherman’s fox squirrel. They are only found in Florida and south Georgia. I have heard of sightings of them farther north of Tampa and had heard there were some seen along this trail but I hadn’t seen them until this morning. There were 2 and they stayed far on the other side of the cow pasture so these are heavily cropped. They are bigger than the abundant gray squirrels we have in our backyard.
A red shoulder hawk had something furry in his talons and when I stopped to get my camera out he turned around to hide his prey. I quickly snapped the above and then left him to his meal.
I was out on my bike cruising my new favorite trail through the cow pastures in late February. I had to wait until the sun was up a little since it was a little chilly this morning.
This time the cows were on the far end of the first pasture.
This meadowlark didn’t move from the fence as I rode by so I stopped and got a quick shot of him.
This sandhill couple were right on the trail. By now they should be having babies so hopefully I can catch some little crane colts.
The eagle’s nest far across the pasture was busy with 2 babies almost fully grown. They are way ahead of the ones in my neighborhood.
There are holes along the fence that I usually don’t pay attention to but this one caught my eye. The gopher tortoise had come out of his hole and was sitting close to the trail. They are state-listed as Threatened in Florida so we have to keep our distance.
It was a busy sparrow day along the trail. I found three all feeding nearby. The first is a Savannah with that bit of yellow above the eye. The second is a Swamp (he was hiding in the bushes so it was hard to get him) with that dark brown streak over his head and orange tinted wings. The last two are grasshopper sparrows. There is a Florida subspecies which I thought this one was based on the white tips on the feathers and darker back feathers but after researching their habitat I don’t think it is. They are only found in the middle of the state and are very rare and endangered.
This one is the reason I was taking so many pictures of sparrows. It’s a vesper sparrow and my first one. It’s not rare for him to be here in central Florida but this was the first I’ve heard of one being in the Tampa bay area and he’s been hanging out at the cow pasture for a few weeks.
A phone shot of the cow pasture and one of the many ponds. These are the perfect Florida winter days, sunny and 70 degrees.