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.
One late day after work in July I hopped in the car and headed to Chesnut Park to see if there were any baby deer in the park. It had been drizzling late that day which usually means the park is quiet and the deer come out of the woods with their babies. Of course the sun came out right when I got to there so it was hot and steamy. I noticed this soft shell turtle walking around by a parking lot.
When I got out of the car to take the picture of the turtle, these two downy woodpeckers flew right into the tree in front of my car.
I originally wasn’t going to walk around if I didn’t see any deer since it was so hot but I saw some birds flying around the bridge over the pond so I walked over for a few minutes and caught the above yellow throated warbler.
This young parula was also on the bridge.
As well as the above young great crested flycatcher. I know they nest somewhere around this area of the park but I’ve never been able to find a nest.
In the back of the park I found a lady feeding the deer some apples and carrots. She was telling me how skinny she thought they looked. She said the deer up north where she lives in the winter were much bigger and hefty. I’m assuming she’s looking at mule deer in the winter which probably are bigger than our white tailed deer here in Florida. She had seen a baby deer earlier in the week so there was at least one there but I couldn’t find him on this night. I’ll keep looking.
Different patterns on the mangrove leaves along the boardwalk.
I finally was able to see a few migrating birds coming through in late April. Since the best place to see spring migration was closed (Fort Desoto Park) here in the area, we were thinking we wouldn’t get to see any birds coming through. Since some of the smaller parks were still open I was able to see a few birds. They were very skittish and stayed hidden in the bushes. Above are a hooded warbler, a redstart and an ovenbird (or at least I think it’s an ovenbird. May be a thrush of some type?).
I had not been to McGough Nature Park in Largo in years. It’s a small park that sits on the intercoastal waterway. I had heard there were a few migrating birds there so I headed out not expecting much. I had forgotten that the park has this great turtle pond. There’s a small dock that goes out over the pond and benches all around it. Turtles were all along the bank and it was very peaceful watching them hang out.
My Saturday morning “just being outside” shot from the boardwalk.
Right before everything closed I stopped by Horsepower for Kids, the non-profit rescue farm to walk around and just be outside. The weather was still cool. They strictly rely on donations and admission fees to feed the animals and now that they are closed they are hurting for funds.
The turtles in the pond were coming up on the bank to sun themselves.
Funny faces staring back at me.
A capybara taking a dip. These guys are from South American and this one was a pet that someone realized they didn’t want after all and gave up to the farm.
I think these are both a 5 stripe skink. This is the first time I’ve been able to get a shot of one. The top one is a juvenile and the bottom is an adult male.
Tiny critters in the butterfly garden.
My first hummingbird moth sighting. He was tiny and fast. He buzzed in for a few seconds next to a butterfly I was taking a picture of and then he was gone over the bushes. I looked for him for a long time with no luck. At least I got the blurry shots above. These guys are really cool.
Soft shell turtle near the pond.
Turtle on the lily pad.
Juvenile osprey that grew up in a nest on the utility pole. All three were born this past winter and were just starting to fly around.
Not many birds at the gardens in late June. Just the above.
I was out running errands on a recent Saturday and decided to swing by a pond that occasionally had interesting things floating around in it. I got lucky this time with a family of black bellied whistling ducks. I had my camera in the car so I parked and walked over to take a peek. They were all settling down for an afternoon nap. I sat down on the sidewalk for a few minutes when they all popped their heads up and looked surprised. It was because the below had invaded their napping spot.
The soft shell turtle came up and wanted to hang out with the ducks but they wanted no part of him. They all jumped up and looked and him and the poor turtle took a dive back under the water and left.
I realized as he flew off he was banded. I could not make out the numbers on either picture.
Another palm warbler.
Yellow rumped warblers are starting to show up.
Stretching out on the floating pad in the pond.
The cormorants rule the boardwalk.
A tiny turtle soaking up some sun.
Another one on a log.
Blue jay with a nut from a palm tree.
This was the first time I have walked around the trail and boardwalk at Carillon park on a Saturday morning. Since it’s so close to work I usually only go after work in the summer. It’s usually packed with joggers and walkers. It was quiet this morning and weird to be there on a Saturday since it’s surrounded by office buildings. I went looking for an albino coot that had been reported there everyday for a week. Of course, by the time I get there, he’s gone. Maybe he was just close by and will come back over before winter is over.