The same things from a different park

I headed down to Fort Desoto early one Saturday morning only to find it was closed for a marathon. So I decided to head to a park I had not been before. Maximo Park sits on the water right next to the interstate and was only minutes away from Fort Desoto. I had not been here before but had not heard much about it. It’s a small park near a marina and the people were lined up at the boat ramp to get their boats in for the day. Across the bay you can see the new bridge near Fort Desoto going up. You can buy bait fish right out of the water (for the lazy people who don’t want to pull their own bait fish up with a net).

It was a quiet day for birds but above are a few that I found including the vulture sunning himself.

Was it starting to look like fall? Looks like poison ivy with those red leaves of 3.

I stopped by Sawgrass Lake Park on the way home for a quick walk and saw this soft shell turtle crossing the parking lot. A man came over and picked him and moved him on his way. It’s rare to see these guys out of the water up close. They are usually pretty skittish.

This is one spoiled duck.

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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