Downtown St. Pete parks

You can always find turtles chilling on the trash bumpers at Crescent Lake Park near downtown St. Pete.

I found some cute duckies walking along the sidewalk.

Usual birds around the lake include the loggerhead shrike, a roseate spoonbill and an anhinga drying out.

I found an unusual pair of birds sitting in front of my car, northern rough winged swallows. I’ve seen them in other parks before but they are fairly rare.

A cloudy morning at the park.

The big banyan tree has been fenced in for several years now. They are trying to keep it alive since it’s so old (not sure how old though). It’s taken a beating over the years with people climbing and playing on it.

It looked like it has snowed along the street in front of the park. I realized there were several cottonwood trees in someone’s yard. I had never noticed this before so I must not have been here when they were blooming. I’m sure it’s beautiful when it’s in full bloom but what a mess it was in the street and yard.

After leaving the park I stopped by Rouse park on the bay in St Pete, only a few minutes away. The royal poinciana trees were blooming and the are a lot of them in this small park.

Enjoying an early morning on the bay in late May.

SkyWatch Friday

Friendship Friday at Create With Joy

 

Riding by the cows

Scenes from my bike ride in late May. Pedaling past cow pastures.

I had my camera in my backpack and had to stop for a shot of the cattle egret with the cow. This is where they get their name. Egrets hanging out with the cattle, trying to eat the bugs that the cows stir up as they eat the grass.

I found the meadowlarks again.

I found several juvenile tree swallows sitting on the fence. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen them actually sitting down. They spend most of their time cruising around catching bugs. EDIT: Thanks to Lea’s Menagerie for a correct ID. The above is an eastern kingbird. I’m still learning a lot of the migrating birds. This was late May so it makes sense he could still be hanging around. I think that Florida sun is starting to get to me.

A pond along the cow pasture fence was a busy watering hole.

There are several gopher tortoise holes along the fences but this was the first time I have seen one out of his hole. They are listed as Threatened in Florida and both the tortoise and their burrows are protected by law.

So many baby ducks

Bees took over this owl nest box at Largo Nature Preserve. That’s a lot of bees! I don’t think they’ll stay there forever. I think they eventually move on but will they leave a mess behind?

Nanday parakeets high up in a tree. Maybe they are looking for a place to nest?

A young spoonbill taking a break from feeding along the channel.

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of May. These were taken in mid-April and were the first baby moorhens I’ve seen this year. You know summer is here when the ponds fill up with these babies.

The ponds are full of water hyacinth.

The baby mallards are just too cute to not stop and take a ton of pictures.

My Corner of the World

Flying across the trail

I walked out on the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-March and saw this. Lots of wading birds out in a small pond that had developed from the recent rain.

So many birds feeding in this one spot. Great egrets, snowy egrets, cattle egrets, great blue herons, wood storks, spoonbills and one large sandhill crane.

All of a sudden the sandhill crane took off across the marsh.

Glossy ibis were flying across the trail.

Spoonbills were flying in and out of the pond all morning. At one point one flew so close I couldn’t fit him all in and he was carrying a stick. He must have been heading for a nest.

Typical sight along the trail. A great blue heron in a dead snag.

Far out in the lake, a great egret sits alone.

My Corner of the World

Critters close to home

I was coming home from the grocery store and saw this guy feeding in my neighborhood. I had my camera in the car so I had to make a quick stop and shoot this.

I’ve been keeping an eye out on the towers in the neighborhood and one day I saw this juvenile eagle sitting high up. Several of the towers have nests but I was thinking they were all osprey nests. One of the nests was an eagle’s nest. Maybe this guy was born in the neighborhood last year?

There’s a water reclamation facility close to home and every winter the pond is filled with wintering ducks. I finally stopped to check out what kind of ducks they were. This is a small section of the ducks that were in the pond. The majority of them were redhead ducks but there were a few lesser scaup mixed in. I think this pond has the highest number of wintering ducks in the area.

There were a few hooded mergansers staying away from the other ducks and kept close to the fence.

One morning I was heading to the Oldsmar fishing pier and I caught these guys right before the pier. “A spoonbill, a woodstork and a great egret walk into a bar…..”

I was heading to the fishing pier because I had seen an eagle sitting in the tree in the parking lot there back in October. I hadn’t seen him since until this day. He was cruising around the fishing pier before taking off over the houses nearby.

Spring migration was a bust

McGough Park in Largo is another spring migration hot spot so I stopped there in late April but all I got was turtles. After walking around for an hour and seeing very few birds I left and headed to Largo Nature Preserve.

Not many migrating birds here either but lots of other stuff. I thought the bottom shot was just a weird looking butterfly but then realized it was two butterflies. Not sure if they were mating or feeding on something but they stayed there for a while.

I caught this osprey cruising by me with a really big stick heading to a nest. What is that saying? “Speak softely and carry a big stick”. This is more like “Fly high and carry a big stick”.

A tricolored heron creeping around in the muck.

A big family and almost grown babies in the bottom shot.

This was the first time I’ve seen black bellied whistiling ducks here, much less any where in Pinellas county so I was surprised. They were on the golf course across the canal.

This lone spoonbill was busy feeding and wandering around looking for the best spot.

As I was walking the path something blue whizzed by. Wait, what was that? Finally, a migrating bird. It was a blue grosbeak and when I cropped this shot up I realized there was an immature orchard oriole with him (the yellow one on the right). The oriole took off and I wasn’t able to find him again.

The blue grosbeak had a lady friend with him (the brown one on the top) and they stayed in the area for a few minutes before taking off across the park.

This guy sleeps under the boardwalk. I took this with my phone but I was on the boardwalk at the time.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

A quick walk after work.

At the end of October, before the time changed, I could get out for a quick walk after work before dark. I headed over Safety Harbor hoping to get some lightning shots. I could see the storms south of the causeway but they were heading towards Tampa.

Since it was low tide, there were a few birds walking around in the muck right off the fishing pier, probably eating crabs.

The mangrove crabs are very skittish but I manage to catch a few of them scurrying away.

The big beautiful oak tree in front of the library. There’s usually a lot of people in the tiny park here but I think the threat of storms kept everyone at home.

Walking around by the yacht basin, I saw an eagle sitting on one of the poles. I was able to snap the above before he took off. I know they nest near Philippe Park north of here but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one in the fishing pier area.

Even though lights were showing the way to the boardwalk, it was starting to drizzle so I headed home.

All alone on the beach

Lots of weird things on the beach at low tide at Fort Desoto. The first three look like brains to me but they call it sea pork. Maybe some time of coral.  The bottom one is a moon jellyfish. There’s been some articles in the news about how the beaches in the area are full of them. Thinking one of the last big storms blew them close to the area.

It was very quiet in late September. Hardly anyone on the beach. I walked out to the end of Outback Key and had the place all to myself.

This guy was feeding in a recent rain puddle near the parking lot. I can’t ever pass up taking shots of a spoonbill.

My Corner of the World

A warm walk in January at Circle B Bar Reserve

Birds flying high.

Black bellied whistling ducks hanging low in the grass, trying to avoid the haws and eagles flying overhead.

A blue headed vireo being cute.

An osprey was sitting on a branch that crossed over the trail. I was trying to make sure he didn’t poop on me while I was trying to take his picture. I’m  not sure what type of fish that was but it had a red tint to it.

 A cooper’s hawk hiding in the bushes across the canal.

Butterflies along the trail in January.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

A spoony in my neighborhood

Recently I was talking a walk around my neighborhood late one afternoon and saw the above spoonbill in my neighborhood pond. I think this is the first time I’ve seen one here. I snapped the above with my phone.

The next day I threw my camera in the car and sure enough, he was still there so I stopped and took a few more pictures. These were taken with my 300mm lens.  He stayed for about a week before leaving for good.

The usual ducks were there. My favorite mallard couple.

In late December there was a spotted sandpiper on my neighbor’s seawall. He spent the afternoon picking bugs out of the grass.

A mallard in our backyard.