It was mid-May and I was hoping the yellow flowers were out at Myakka River State Park. Tickseed is the official Florida state wildflower and blooms naturally in central Florida during May. The park is one of the best places to see it blooming. Huge fields of yellow as far as you can see. I was hoping to see some birds as well since migration was still going on.
I ran into some other birders when I first got there and they were heading into the swamp just off the main road to see some barred owls (you could actually see the owls from the road if you knew where to look through the trees). We couldn’t find the adults but the 2 juveniles were easy to spot. They both still had a little baby fuzz on their heads. The oldest was trying to take an early morning nap until the sun hit his face. The younger one in the bottom shot was wide awake and looking around.
We then found one of the adults. She took off quickly farther into the woods.
The thistle was also blooming.
Some black bellied whistling ducks flew overhead.
There were several limpkins feeding along the bank of the river.
I watched this great blue heron play with his food for 15 minutes before leaving.
I saw a record number for me of alligators on this trip to the park. More on them and the tickseed later.
I headed down to Myakka River State Park in mid-May. It’s about an hour and a half from my home near Tampa. I knew I probably wouldn’t see a lot of birds since the water was low in the lake and spring migration was mostly over but that was okay. I really came to see the fields of yellow. Tickseed (formal name is coreopsis) was named the state wildflower in 1991 and you can see plenty of it here. I got to the open field and got out of the car and used my phone to take the above pano. Yellow as far as the eye can see.
There was also some thistle blooming along the road which added some pink.
I was hoping to see some deer or turkey crossing the field but after waiting an hour all I got was a crow.
The sun coming through the tree.
Along a path near the lake, the thistle was growing so high I couldn’t see over it.
Besides the yellow tickseed in May, this park is known for having a lot of alligators. Looking across a river there were several sunning themselves and one swimming by from the left. The pink buds in front of the tickseed is swamp milkweed.
Before heading out I stopped at this pond and snapped the above with my phone.
The bluebirds must nest here at Chinsegut Wildlife Park since there were some very young ones here the morning I visited in mid-May. The 2nd one looks like a juvenile. There were several behind the ranger’s office so I’m thinking next year I need to go earlier and keep an eye out.
It must have also been chickadee day because there were tons of them along the trail. I counted 10 at one point. Not a wide variety of birds here but there were a lot of the few species that were.
This red headed woodpecker couple were following each other around. I think that top one has a snack so maybe the other one was just trying to get the snack. Or, maybe they were still flirting and would be starting a nest soon.
Butterflies were everywhere along the trail. They loved the thistle.
The weeds were getting high as the heat was setting in.
I love the trees here but if you walk on the lesser traveled trails, you might get a face full of spider web.
I checked out the other backroom before leaving (they have two unisex ones). This one had an eagle and a great blue heron painted on the wall.
I think this may be my new favortie park. It’s quiet and hardly anyone there early on a Saturday morning. It’s about an hour north from my house but a lot of the parks I visit are at least 45 minutes to an hour so it’s not a bad ride (and I don’t have to get on crazy I4). The park is relatively small (compared to Circle B Bar Reserve where you can walk for 6 or 7 miles) but I like the area. The original owners named it Chinsegut which is an Inuit word for “spirit of lost things”. I don’t think I’ll get too lost though since it’s easy to navigate and there are main roads around it if you walk too far.
I found all of the colors of the rainbow while hiking the area behind our hotel in Park City. The trails that zigzag across from one ski slope to another were full of leaves changing colors. Yellow, red and orange were the usual colors to see in fall but many of the bushes were changing to pink. It was amazing to see so many different colors in one place.
All above were taken from our balcony at our hotel in Colorado Springs. As I was taking a picture of the mountain with the fog rolling in a magpie flew on to the balcony above us. I leaned over to get a blurry shot of him with a big bug. I then realized the trees near us also had magpies in them. This was my first timing seeing these. They are in the crow family but are much prettier than our fish crows back home.
I took a quick walk around the property before we headed out for the day and saw all of the above.
I had read that there was lots of wildlife on the hotel property but when I got to the lake there were the same ole birds I see at home. I thought “Really, I flew halfway across the country to see gulls, mallards and cormorants?” I get those in my backyard at home. But I did see a few different things over the week.
What do you do waiting for baby owls to wake up? You start taking pictures of the flowers bugs and weeds around you. There’s plenty of that at Fort Desoto. Eventually, the baby owls woke up and I snapped a few pictures of them as well and then headed home.