Pretty faces on the boardwalk.

Above are both great egrets. The first one an adult and the 2nd is almost grown up.

The snowy egrets were strutting around and flirting.

A tricolored heron sitting on a nest.

Other tricolored herons were still strutting around.

The beautiful face of a male anhinga.

A catbird was posing for everyone while he was eating the berries.

Lots of pretty wild birds on the boardwalk at Gatorland. Nesting season was in full swing. Many great egret babies and many eggs from snowy egrets and tricolored egrets. This was mid April so most of the babies are grown up and gone by now.

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Wild and resident animals at the zoo

The trees are full of wild ibis all over the zoo.

The wild blue herons and tricolored herons were just starting to build their nests over the alligator exhibit.

A zoo resident stork was sitting on a nest. By nature, she’s covered in flies. When she moved, they would buzz around.

A resident flamingo splashing around.

Two “head banger” birds in the aviary.

Up close with manatees at the manatee hospital pool there. These are all injured manatees that are in rehab at the zoo. Most of them get released when they recover. (taken through the glass with my phone).

Fun at the Lowry Park Zoo in late March.

Red things in the water at Fort Desoto

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It’s always fun to see Red breasted mergansers swimming around near the shore line at Fort Desoto. They are always bobbing for fish and stay busy preening themselves.  There were several swimming around in a shallow lagoon near the north beach.

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Then the reddish egret photo bombed my shot of the red breasted mergansers diving. He was strutting around like “Hey why are you taking pictures of those ducks when you could be taking pictures of me?”

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Then I started taking pictures of the reddish egret.

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And a tricolored heron photo bombed my last shot of the reddish egret.

Annual spring fashion show at Gatorland

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Cattle egrets have their flirting makeup on.

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The tricolored herons were showing off as well.

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The snowy egrets were still in the early flirting stage.

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The storks across the lake already had their babies.

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This great blue heron was too busy stuffing his face to care about nesting.

I love the way the birds all change colors during the nesting season. Their feathers and faces get brighter. I didn’t make it to Gatorland in Orlando this year until early May. This was my 7th spring to visit the bird rookery there over the alligator lake. The great egrets nest first and most of those babies were already grown. Cattle egrets and snowy egrets were just having their babies.  Tricolored herons were sitting on nests but didn’t have any babies yet. It’s always fun to see the birds all interacting together.  And yes, I took a ton of pictures that morning so there’s more to come.

A walk after work

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Sitting up on the bell tower, the osprey are nesting here again this season.

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Mr “Yellow Big Feet” walking by.

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The grackles get no respect but they are pretty when the sun shines on them.

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So much for the “Squirrel Proof” feeder.

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A tricolored heron was nesting close to the boardwalk. It looks like she has at least one egg.

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This turtle was near the boardwalk and when I cropped up the picture at home, I noticed weird things coming out of his shell just over his head.  I wonder if that’s some sort of growth?

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Another turtle close by.

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Lots of soft shell turtles in the lake.

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The usual alligators near the boardwalks.

The usual things at Carillon Park near my office. Soon it will feel to hot to walk around even after work. Although, it’s nice to miss the traffic.

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Reflections

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I walked up to the north beach marsh at Fort Desoto in late March. Up ahead, I could see at least 9 photographers on the ground taking pictures of something.  As I closer, I realized it was the above spoonbill. The only bird on the beach, besides a few gulls.

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I left everyone and headed to the roped off sanctuary farther south and found a few birds there. The ibis above was gulping down tiny crabs.

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The tricolored heron was downing a few minnows.

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I didn’t see the snowy egrets get anything. They just kept creeping around.

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The little blue heron was catching a lot of fish.

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It was a perfect morning but almost no birds. Several of the photographers had come from up north and were struggling to find birds to take pictures of. To sort-of quote Forest Gump “Fort Desoto is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”  To quote a local birder “You won’t know if you don’t go”. Sometimes it’s just nice being out.

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A roadtrip to see floating cows – Skywatch Friday

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Statue of a manatee at the entrance to the Manatee Viewing Center.

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Manatees kissing?

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A night heron cruising around the manatee area.

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Coming up for air. What a nose!

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This one was floating on his back.

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He started floating towards the boardwalk. I was hoping he would float under us.

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Just as he got to the boardwalk he turned over.

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Tricolored heron flying by.

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Warm water coming out of the electric plant.

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The viewing center is across from the TECO (Tampa Electric Co) plant. It was not a nice day. Cloudy and muggy but it was still fun being out and seeing all of the manatees congregate around the warm water coming from the electric plant. I should have taken pictures of all of the people. This was the day after Christmas and the boardwalk was wall to wall people.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday