For the past several years we’ve had hooded mergansers spend part of the winter swimming around a small pond in my neighborhood. The pond is fresh water but they also cruise up and down the salt water canals occasionally while they are here. Coming home from running errands in late November I saw them and ran home and got my camera. I parked a little ways down the street and snuck up behind a tree. They are very skittish but didn’t seem to mind me as long as I didn’t get to close. There were 2 males and one female. They kept swimming around diving for food but I didn’t see them get anything. They were still there through late January. Hoping they return next year.
I think this tricolored heron was wondering what I was doing there.
Everyone was eating breakfast at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late October.
A great blue heron off in the distance.
A young purple gallinule showing off his big feet.
A kingfisher sitting still. I took this from the car since I knew the second I opened that door he would be gone.
A tricolored heron guarding the sign.
A few of the smaller gators along the drive. I never seem to see the really big ones there.
More along the drive. I was having hip pain in late October so I decided to head over to the wildlife drive in Apopka and stay off me feet for a while. I ended up with hip bursitis which has slowed me down for a while in early November. It was taking forever to heal since I can’t seem to sit still very long.
I pulled into the parking lot at Largo Nature Preserve and these guys were hanging out in the tree right over my car. If your choice in Florida is parking in the shade and risking bird poop on your car or parking in the sun, you park in the shade.
The tricolored heron was flitting around the boardwalk. I think he was trying to catch dragonflies.
I don’t see red ones often.
This guy was sleeping in the tree but woke up to scratch an itch.
I was excited to see the fuzzy baby limpkin.
Mom was feeding him apple snails. Mom would pull the meat out of the snail with the end of her beak and give to the baby. By the time I found them it was almost noon and the sun was harsh. I didn’t stay long. It was time for me to head home for lunch as well.
My first trip back to Circle B Bar Reserve since mid-March. It has been closed all of that time and had just re-opened the week before I went in late May. I was there very early and headed out to the trails. This red shoulder hawk was welcoming me back.
Not many people there at 7:15 and it was good to be back on the trails.
Not many birds either. Just the usual suspects posing along the trail.
Talk about feeling like you are being watched. The alligators were close to the trails. They were use to having them all to themselves for 2 months.
The clouds were rolling in but I didn’t care.
So much for the social distancing thing. This group came by and instead of walking by on one side of the trail in a single file, they crowded the trail. I stepped off to let them go by but I couldn’t go too far off without stepping into the marsh and getting eaten by a gator. It was time to head back to the car at this point.
Not before stopping to catch this pretty cattle egret.
In early March I hurt my back and ended up with a compression fracture. I had to take it easy for a while and after two weeks without long walks in a park I decided to take a road trip across central Florida to look for the whooping cranes. I figured it was easy to sit in a car and I’ve been saying I was going to go over there but just never took the time. This was also right before the big lock down. On the way home I decided to stop at Circle B Bar Reserve for a quick walk even if it was just a few minute in the parking lot. I felt pretty good (was wearing a back brace around my waist) so I walked a little ways down the main trail. It felt good to be out. I’m glad I made the effort because they closed the reserve down the next week for a while. I found the whooping cranes, more on those later. Above are sandhill cranes that were right up on the trail.
Lots of the usual birds there including the great blue heron yelling at an intruder.
It must have been soft shell turtle day because I saw three different ones on my short walk. They were up on the trail. They are usually skittish but one stopped for a pose.
I’m going to miss the tree twins.
A small part of the marsh at Circle B Bar Reserve on a beautiful day.
I ran into Blondie on my walk around the neighborhood pond.
Later I came back with my camera (really to shoot the hoodies below and she just happen to be there).
It’s not often I see hooded mergansers in my own duck pond. Usually we just have mallards and muscovy ducks. I was heading home one Saturday afternoon and saw the big white circle on his head out of the corner of my eye and turned around. Luckily I had my camera in the car and was able to hide behind a tree for a few minutes when they swam by. They are very skittish.
The tricolored heron standing near the old fountain (that’s never turned on anymore) was looking at me like I was crazy.