Parks close to home

A quick early walk at Chesnut Park in early May. The park started to get crowded pretty quickly so I left and headed out to another park close by.

Possum Branch Preserve was void of people but not many birds there either. At least it was a nice walk outside.

A few birds there included a juvenile night heron and a red bellied woodpecker.

I caught this common snapping turtle cruising down the back trail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snapper out in the wild. This one was pretty small.

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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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Critters in the backyard in early April.

Taken through the bedroom window, the doves were eating seed on the ground and taking baths.

The house sparrows are back in the yard, eating from the feeder.

That squirrel thinks I can’t see him through the window.

I grabbed my camera and ran outside for the above green heron that was on our dock.

A rare spotted oleander moth was on our side fence and then flew to the plant. In 16 years of living in our house this is only the 2nd one I’ve seen.

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Pretty things in early April

Blooming things at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

Critters at the gardens.

Baby moorhens are popping up everywhere now.

Yes, the botanical gardens were open during the “Stay At Home” phase. Lucky for me most people must have thought they were closed because there was only a few other people there. Lots of space to move around in.

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It’s baby owl season.

Some shots of the parent high up in the tree.

Mom was sitting low in the nest.

In late February I stopped by a park nearby to see if any baby owls were born.  I could see the mom in the nest and I had heard there was at least one baby but I couldn’t see anything. Finally, right before leaving, the baby popped it’s head up for a few minutes. Maybe a week old at this point.

I stopped by the nest for a quick peak a few days later and the baby was sitting up higher in the nest and looked much older at this point. For the last several years this couple has had 2 babies. Not sure why this is an only child this year.

Nearby this squirrel was hiding in a hole in a tree. I wonder if he’s building a nest in there.

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A quiet morning at Lettuce Lake Park

Things up in the trees along the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Park.

You can usually find several night herons in the swamp.

The view from the tower above, taken with my phone. It always makes me feel like I’m somewhere else other than close to downtown Tampa when I’m standing up here.

Looking into the swamp from the boardwalk. There’s gators hiding in there somewhere.

At the end of the boardwalk, the HIllsborough river floats by and turns the corner.

Under the trees along the trail, it was quiet early in the morning. I had the trail all to  myself

SkyWatch Friday

Along the trail.

Color on the trail.

Crawling critters including that tiny alligator right on the trail.

Small birds along the trail. A green heron, a house wren making a face at me and then chirping and a blue headed vireo.

Having a snack.

A perfect start to a day at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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