We were heading into the hot summer so I went for a quick walk at Folly Farms in Safety Harbor. I can sometimes find good shade and a bench to sit on in front of the flowers in the butterfly garden.
I saw a bluebird who had some kind of bee in his beak. He was so cute, posing for me.
I noticed later that there was a bluebird nest box under some small trees in the middle of the butterfly garden. Dad was bringing bugs into the babies. I could hear them peeping inside but couldn’t see them. Dad was going all the way into the box to feed them.
Then I saw a tufted titmouse with something in his beak. It looked like a leaf at first but I think it was a caterpillar that was crunched up.
I saw an adult brown thrasher on a pole near the parking area and when I walked over I also saw a young juvenile on the ground below the adult.
A minute later the adult hopped down on the ground, grabbed a bug and fed his young one while I was standing there. They were not skittish at all.
There’s a lot of eclectic artwork around the gardens and someone had drawn a face on a Mr. Potato Head and stuck it in the ground(I didn’t say it was fine art). A lizard was lounging on his head.
The new 17 foot tall gnome that was being built at the farm. He’s almost finished. It’s hard to get a good shot of him since he sits in the shade.
In late April I made a quick stop at Chesnut Park to see if there were any migrating birds hanging around. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of warblers come through here during migration but the only thing I found was the usual titmouse. They come really close because people feed them here. They come down close to the boardwalk to see if you have snacks. Once they realize you aren’t carrying they head back up to the tops of the trees.
The squirrels are also being fed here so they check you out as well.
I came home and it was still to early for lunch so I hopped on my bike and went for a quick pedal around the neighborhood. The first thing I saw was a bunny. A brown thrasher flew in front of me as I was taking a picture of the bunny. Was he posing for me?
I found a limpkin in the pond down the street from our house in the same spot the limpkin babies were last year. The water was much lower this year and at first I only saw the adult. He was calling to another limpkin that was farther down the creek.
I left my bike in the bushes and followed the creek along the golf course (no one was playing at the time) and saw another adult limpkin far in the woods. I could just barely make out a baby in the sticks. They stayed pretty hidden and eventually worked their way down behind the houses so I couldn’t follow them any farther. I’m assuming they were farther back since the water was a little higher there.
And, a random alligator that I saw in the neighborhood. This was taken with my 300mm lens and cropped so he was pretty far away.
It was mid-May and the backyard was blooming. The hanging shrimp plant really made the backyard pop. Bees were always visiting it but one day I was out with my camera and caught the tiny moth on the underside of the petals.
The titmouse was watching the big ants inside the hummingbird feeder. He was trying to understand why he couldn’t get to them (I have since changed to a bigger hummingbird feeder and the ants don’t seem to get on the new one as much).
The juvenile titmouse were usually on the feeder but this morning I saw them bouncing around the small palm tree up against our house.
We still had northern parulas in late May.
Mom Carolina wren was calling her young ones to follow her. She was sitting on our garage roof and I could see her through the kitchen window.
Her two almost grown babies were playing around in the small tree in front of our kitchen window. One came close to the window and stared at me. I can still see a little baby yellow around the beak.
I’m always looking out the back window to see if any critters are cruising by and one day I saw a turtle walking down the fairway. He eventually made it over to the pond. I could see the silhouette of a bluebird behind him.
An almost cloudless sunset. We’ve gotten a little rain since May but not much.
I was sitting at the pool reading and looked up and saw the sun halo.
I headed up north to Chinsegut Wildlife Area, north of Tampa, in late March. They have a great deck on the back of the nature center with lots of bird feeders off the deck. I was able to catch a few red headed woodpeckers on the way to the deck. The woods here are full of them and I usually see them when I visit.
The first birds I saw high up in the trees were these pale yellow ones. As I zoomed in on them I realized they were goldfinches.
I sat really still for a while and they came down to the feeders. I get one or two at my feeder at home in the winter but this was the most I had seen at one time.
I was hoping to see some different birds than the ones I already get in my backyard. Spring migration was just starting but the ones here were all of the usual wintering birds. There were lots of pine warblers, chipping sparrows, bluebirds, chickadees, titmouse and house sparrows.
A fuzzy caterpillar on the wall next to my seat.
And, they have tons of squirrels being cute, just like back home.
It was a beautiful morning and nice to sit out on that back deck and watch all of the usual birds flying in and out. Another trip in late April is in the plan.
It was early March and I was sitting on a bench in the butterfly garden at Folly Farms in Safety Harbor hoping to see hummingbirds (it was probably a little early for them though). No hummingbirds yet but I did see some usual birds. Titmouse are common here and parulas were everywhere in early spring. Both have distinct calls.
The giant milkweed was full of caterpillars.
Little critters in the garden. The yellow butterfly looks like she was laying eggs.
I’m not sure what this plant is but I’ve seen it at several botanical gardens. It’s really cool and the flowering part is huge.
Not an April Fools with this couple. I was looking out the front window and caught this squirrel couple getting frisky. I ran upstairs as they crossed the roof and got an eyeful as they were frisky on the peak of the garage roof.
We already have so many squirrels in the backyard and now I saw this Mom with her young one. At least I think it was a young one. The one on the right was half the size of the one on the left.
They have been hanging out on our back porch chair for a while.
White ibis eating around our bushes in late February.
The pine warblers, catbirds and titmouse were still visiting the backyard but now the pine, palms and yellow rumped warblers as well as the catbirds are all gone. The titmouse are here all year long.
The butterflies really like the lantana plant in the backyard.
I can’t believe it’s April 1st. We really didn’t get a good spring although we got a quick cold spell for a few days in mid-March. It’s now in the mid to high 80’s every day until forever (okay at least till November but it will feel like forever) but the humidity isn’t too bad yet. Today is my brother-in-law’s birthday. Debbie, tell Dave I said Happy Birthday!
The blooms in my hanging Christmas cactus started to disappear and I finally realized why. They are also eating my marigolds. Ugh. I know I created this problem myself with the haven for squirrels in the backyard. We have tons of them. We don’t have dogs and they love the bird bath and hang around for fallen bird seed so they also eat the flowers.
Usual visitors to the backyard in early February include palm warblers, pine warblers, chickadees, titmouse, woodpeckers and a yellow throated warbler.
This lone robin has been in the backyard for weeks now. Then one day we got some rain and he had friends show up. They were picking out bugs in the water soaked grass. The next day his friends were gone and he was still there.
I was sitting in the backyard with my camera when this short tailed hawk made a quick fly over. I only got this blurry shot before he flew over the trees but it was cool to see him while I was in the backyard.
Usual visitors to the backyard including a Carolina wren, a titmouse, a chickadee and a very young bluebird.
I caught a great crested flycatcher getting a drink at the bird bath. You can see a little bit of orange in her tail feathers in the bottom picture.
Brett yelled from upstairs (I was in the kitchen) “Look out the back window.” I grabbed my camera and ran outside to get a shot of this guy on the fairway. Even though my camera was in my backpack in the closet, as soon as I ran outside the lens fogged up. I stood there for a few minutes and then this was the only shot I got before some golfers came through and he took off.
Caution – beetle porn. I saw these 2 on the window sill and had to go out and get a shot. The green beetles are native to Florida and are harmless.
My jaw dropped when I saw this out of the back window. I took this shot from inside as they cruised across our little backyard.
As they were leaving the yard I ran outside and got the above. They made their way down the back of our townhomes, towards the woods at the end. What a treat to have 5 baby turkeys in your backyard