No one around at Sawgrass Lake Park.

Green herons are everywhere.

This guy was too cute not to stop and snap a picture.

Wondering what this white fuzz is growing on the tree? Some kind of fungus?

I found some bushes that were covered in grasshoppers. The invasion has begun.

There are several endangered gopher tortoises living in the park.

More “just being outside” shots from a quiet corner of Sawgrass Lake Park in late April.

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My first copperhead? I don’t think so.

All of the above are baby anhingas at different ages. Seen from the boardwalk tower, the nests are right over the water at Sawgrass Lake Park. There were many nests along the lake and luckily there a few close to the tower.

One of the Mom’s sitting close to the overcrowded nests.

Not many other birds around during my walk after work in late May. A few green herons were close to the tower.

Other critters at the park. Someone told me that the snake is a copperhead which is a first for me. He’s one of the 6 venomous snakes in Florida. His head shape doesn’t look like a copperhead on line so I’m not sure if it was one. He slid back under the boardwalk quickly so I didn’t get a shot of his body. Any confirmed ID?

Big pile of marshmallow babies

I stopped by a park near work recently and found these babies on the boardwalk. The above are anhinga babies, almost grown up. There were three of them on a teeny tiny nest.

On the other side of the boardwalk was the above.  Mom was sitting on top of her babies.  You could just barely see the featherless skin underneath her.


Another nest had 3 older babies sleeping in a pile.  A little while later, Dad came to feed them right before dark.  I don’t know how far down that baby has to reach to get the fish out of Dad’s throat.  Dad seemed to be very patient.

After work walk at Sawgrass Lake Park

Little critters.

Swimming critters.

A scarlet tanager high up in a tree with a snack and a pair of doves that were flirting.

A squirrel eating a branch.

Stopped by Sawgrass Lake park after work in late May for a quick walk before heading home. I didn’t expect to find too much but the scarlet tanager was nice.

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Looking for migrants

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I started the morning out at Sawgrass Lake park. I had heard there were different warblers moving through there on their way south for the winter. When I got to the parking lot, there were already several other birders there looking high up in the trees with binoculars. There were a few tiny birds up there but getting a picture was almost impossible. They were high up in the tops of the trees and didn’t sit still for a minute. I was pretty excited to get the above but then realized it was a just a blue-gray gnatcatcher. Oh well.

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I think everyone was saying this was a blackburnian warbler. Not a first for me but not very common. Most of my shots were turning out this way. Blurry shots of a bird partial behind leaves. We get so spoiled at Fort Desoto in the spring. The birds come down within eye level and will stay in place eating for a few seconds.

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I saw this juvenile red bellied woodpecker. He was just starting to get his red feathers.

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There were a few butterflies close by.

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I left Sawgrass Lake Park and stopped by Crescent Lake Park. The first thing I saw was this hawk flying into the tree. He seemed to stalking the ibis. I can’t tell whether this is a juvenile red shoulder hawk or a cooper’s hawk.

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The palm trees around the lake had these orange spikes growing out.

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Most of the geese were across the street sleeping in someone’s yard.

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This one was checking me out. Probably hoping I had food.

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I guess the neighbors are used to having their yard full of goose poop.

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The same hawk kept flying around the trees. He would swoop down close the ibis but I never saw him catch anything. I think he needs to stick to lizards and squirrels.

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Berries on an old tree.

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This is all one big banyan tree (taken with my phone since I didn’t have my wide-angle lens). It’s fenced off to protect it from people trying to climb it. It’s about to fall apart. I think this is the largest one I’ve seen in the Tampa Bay area. There’s a big one in Sarasota on the Ringling Museum grounds as well. The largest banyan tree in Florida is in Fort Myers in the yard of Thomas Edison’s house. It was brought over from India where banyan trees are originally from and planted in 1925. The one above is pretty amazing. I would love to have that shade over my house. The branches facing the lake were full of ibis napping.

Little critters at Sawgrass Lake Park

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Yellow butterfly in the shade.

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Standard bee on a leaf shot.

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Small alligator swimming down the river.

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A spider hanging over my head on the boardwalk. Their bite is like getting a mosquito bite. Just annoying for a day.

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Dragonflies are everywhere.

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Another yellow butterfly.

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I’m also seeing bunnies everywhere lately.

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This butterfly has had a rough life. He was still flying around though.

Birds are scarce, tiny critters are everywhere so this is what I’m coming home with after my long hot walks.

Shine the Divine

Sawgrass Lake after work

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Pretty tricolored heron in the setting sun light.

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Tiny gator trying to hide.

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Pre-Easter bunny.

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Red bellied woodpecker

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Climbing up the tree.

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As I was taking pictures of the woodpecker, I heard a hoot behind me. I turned around and looked up and saw this staring at me. A great horned owl.

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The other owl was a few branches over and much higher up.

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Ghost owl baby! I realized there was a nest next to Mom. It was high up in the tree. I could just barely make out the pair of eyes looking down at me. It was just starting to get dark so this was a tough one to get.

I went to Sawgrass Lake Park after work to look for the swallow-tailed kites that had been seen there recently.  When I first got there I quickly walked around looking for the owls that hang out around the nature center during the spring. I couldn’t find them right away so I headed for the boardwalk and did a lap around the park. I was heading to my car to leave since the sun had gone down behind the trees and it was getting dark. I saw the woodpecker on a tree right in front of my car so I stopped to snap a shot when I heard the owl. Both owls hooted a couple of times. They were straight up in the trees. I could barely make out one baby on the nest. I’m not sure if there were more. I think those owls have nested there for years. The nest is so high up, it’s not something you would notice right away.

I’ll have to keep looking for those swallow-tail kites.

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Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for 

Friends hanging out at Sawgrass Lake Park

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Spoonbill with a drip.

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Another spoonbill close by. He’s preening.

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A white ibis stops by.

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As I sat on the sidewalk and watched them, they were just cruising around feeding next to each other.

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They hung out together for a while.

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The sun was going down behind the trees and the spoonbill decided to go to sleep.

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He was joined by more friends. They were all preening and getting ready for bed.

I stopped by Sawgrass Lake Park after work recently to see if I could find the swallow tail kites that have been sighted there. No luck on those but the usual stuff was there. The little river that runs through the park had some spoonbills and ibis feeding right before dark. I walked all of the boardwalk trails and saw no birds. I did find the great horned owls there in the parking lot. More on those later.

Linking up to Saturday’s Critters

Sawgrass Lake after work.

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The usual anhinga drying off in the sun.

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Dragonfly shining in the sun.

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Juvenile red shoulder hawk hiding in the trees. He was right over my car in the parking lot.

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Finally, after several trips to Sawgrass Lake Park I see a swallow-tail kite flying over the park.

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Looks like he’s eating something as he’s flying.

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It’s funny they way they fly and eat and the same time. Yes, I know, kind of like us driving and eating at the same time.

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He soared over the trees and I didn’t see him again. I stared at the big tree that is supposed to have the nest in it but I couldn’t see anything. I heard it was back in the tree behind the leaves. Unless I saw the parent flying right in, I was not going to find it. It was far away across the little river that runs through the park.

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I hears a big crunch noise and looked over the boardwalk. I saw this alligator eating a turtle. I took this with my iphone since all I had was my 300mm lens with me.

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Mushrooms were everywhere since we had a lot of rain in June.

I had a nice walk around Sawgrass Lake park after work in the middle of June. The highlight was seeing the swallow-tail kite after several trips there and not spotting them. The other highlight was the alligator eating a turtle. He chomped a few times then just stopped. He sat there for a long time with the turtle in his mouth without moving. I finally left. It was started to get dark and I was hungry too.

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