Heartbreak in the backyard

I was watering some hanging plants right before dark in the backyard when I noticed this face peeking out of my neighbor’s dead palm tree.  The house next door had been empty for at least 2 years.  I think the lady that lived there was now in a nursing home. This was the first time I had seen a screech owl in our neighborhood.


Over the next two weeks I was able to catch the above.  He (or she) would stick his head out right before dark. In the last two shots, he woke up earlier during the late afternoon. I would sneak around the backyard and hide behind a short palm tree to get pictures. I didn’t want to scare him away.

After 3 weeks of peeking out the side window right before dark every night, I came home from work and saw that the dead palm tree was gone.  I ran outside and realized my neighbor’s entire backyard had been gutted and cleaned up.  I was heartbroken. After 2 years it gets cleaned up now???  Then I heard a peep and saw the owl sitting in a palm tree that was still standing next door. He was looking at me like “Where’d my bed go?” I would assume he was sleeping when someone came in and started to saw the tree down. He must have flown out in panic. I can only hope he didn’t have eggs in there yet. I had not heard any baby noises yet. I stood there in the backyard crushed that my new friend had lost it’s home. I never saw him again after these shots were taken. I’m sure he moved on. I don’t know if it’s too late to put up a nest box  in our yard.

Other critters in the backyard.

I was able to catch the sunset in the backyard while I was trying to get shots of the owl.  One night I caught this rainbow driving into my neighborhood.

SkyWatch Friday

Random things at a craft show

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All of the above are permanently injured birds that live at McGough Nature Park . They were at the Craft show greeting people so everyone can learn about the birds. The hawk in the first picture was showing off his missing eye.

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I saw this big beautiful dog and was watching him make friends with a much smaller dog. The smaller dog was trying to be a big tough dog and the bigger dog just sniffed him and gave him a kiss. They played together for a few minutes before their owners had to leave.

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I’m not sure what kind of dog this was but there was two of them and the ladies were brushing them and weaving their fur into blankets and scarves. They just sat their and enjoyed the people walking by.

I picked a good day to drive across town and walk around the Largo Botanical Gardens. Next door at the Heritage Village, they were having a Fall festival and craft show. I wandered around for a while and watched the huge crowds of people have fun on a beautiful fall day (even though it was still 86 degrees). I was tempted to get a funnel cake but the line was too long.

More funny faces at the zoo

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An early morning walk at the Lowry Park zoo produced a lot of funny faces. A baby marabou stork all grown up, a screech-owl missing eye that found refuge at the zoo and a loving boat billed heron couple among a few I saw. The caracara in the last picture was shot in the wing. He has a permanent home at the zoo where he can do his hop/fly low on the ground. We don’t really see any caracaras on the coast since they mostly live in central Florida so this is a good chance for kids to get up close and see one.

Backyard birds during the holidays

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In the morning, I saw this great blue heron on my neighbor’s dock.

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Later in the afternoon, he was sleeping on our dock.

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Every once in a while he would look around. I call him Mr. Grumpy Face.

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Back to sleep.

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The neighborhood osprey was back again with lots of annoying visitors.

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A ring billed gull sat across the boat lift from the osprey. Watching his every bite.

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That’s a big fish. I don’t know why he wouldn’t share.

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Then a kingfisher landed on the same side.

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The kingfisher took off after a few minutes when he realized the osprey wasn’t giving up his lunch.

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Then a few minutes later, a little blue heron starts to bother him.

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Not in my backyard but in my in-laws front yard. A screech owl has been sleeping in the roof overhang on the corner of their house. He’s there sporadically. I finally put my camera and long lens in the car on Christmas day and was able to get the above when we pulled into the driveway. I think we’re going to have to name him.

All of the above except for the last picture were taken through the bedroom window during Christmas week.

Check out more pictures at Our World Tuesday Our World Tuesday Graphic