Waiting for eagles to wake up.

I spent many mornings standing under a bottle brush tree along a fence waiting for the eagles in my neighborhood to wake up. I would go for a long walk and then ride my bike over to the nest with my camera and wait for the parents to bring in food. I saw a lot of other birds there as well. A kestral was there on the wires every time I came to take pictures. In the beginning he was very skittish and would fly away when I walked up but after a month he started getting a little closer. One morning I caught him eating a cricket.

A phoebe hung out in the reeds along the utility area beyond the fence. He was there most of February and March.

One morning a hawk landed in a tree nearby. I thought he was going to catch something when he flew to the ground but he took off empty handed.

The moon was still up early one morning.

Early in April on a cloudy morning there were two swallow tail kites that flew far up overhead.

One morning a turkey cruised by.

The usual annoying birds were always there, mockinbirds and blue jays.

A mallard flew by.

I was out there right before sundown one day and got to watch the beautiful sunset. That’s a bat box on the stick. Sometimes I could hear them sqweaking in there.

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Things in the backyard

Some of the birds in the yard in late January and early February. I’m always looking out the window when I’m at home. I noticed the great egret creeping around the tree but he went behind the bushes when he caught the lizard.

I’ve seen several random turkeys roaming around the neighbhorhood and was wondering if they were all the same turkey. These were across the fairway from our house. The top one had a gray head (maybe the juvenile from this past summer) and the bottom shot has a red head. These were taken the same week.

The usual bigger birds in the backyard include a cardinal, blue jay and a crow that’s been hanging around for a few weeks.

There’s always a Carolina wren in the backyard. Sometimes we have two.

Other occasional birds at the feeder are titmouse and woodpeckers.

We had several bluebirds bouncing around the backyard one afternoon. They would catch some caterpillars on the ground and fly up to the top of the bird feeder to eat them.

We’ve had parulas up in our trees for a while now. I hear their shrill all day long. I was able to catch the male (top shot) in a lower branch singing away one afternoon. The bottom shot is either a juvenile or maybe the female. She came down to the bird bath.

A few other things in the yard. That spider looks like he has a smiley face on his back. The gardenia bush outside our front door has been blooming and it smells so nice when you walk out the door. I went out and got these with my macro lens. All other pictures where taken through the windows.

Fun morning at the farm.

I hadn’t been to Horsepower For Kids (sanctuary/farm) in a long time so I stopped by for a visit at the end of December. All of the baby geese that had grown up in early 2020 were still there making the duck pond a busy place.

They had 2 new canadian geese at the pond. They swam close to the dock and I noticed they both had angel wings. Angel wings is a nutritional deficiency caused by improper diet. It means someone was feeding these geese too much bread when they were young and their wings didn’t grow properly. It can keep them from flying well and that’s probably why they are living here now. At least they have a great home to live in now. That’s why it’s so important not to feed the wildlife bread.

It’s fun seeing all of the different crazy “fowl” running around here.

Some of the other residents.

I was admiring this salad. These guys eat better than I do.

Butterflies are seen all year long here.

I hope they are hiding today.

This young turkey greeted me as I drove into my neighborhood.

I’m thinking these are females. I passed them on my walk early one morning and took the above with my phone.

Where the turkeys hangout.

Walking back home after seeing the turkeys, I saw several deer running across the golf course. I quickly pulled my phone out of my pocket and shot the above.

Late one day in late October I was closing the blinds early since I was meeting Brett after work for dinner and we wouldn’t be home until dark and saw this lady staring at me from my yard.

I wonder if they were the same ones I saw on my walk a few days earlier. I watched them peck around for a few minutes and took the above through the window. “Sorry I was late for dinner, dear. I had to take a bunch of pictures of the turkeys in our yard.” was very strange to say.

Hope you are having a Happy Thanksgiving and are not eating Tina and Trudy (my neighborhood turkeys) for dinner.

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Fun on a farm

I love going to see the sunflowers at Sweetfield Farms in the spring. Not just because there are fields of flowers but there’s also farm animals. They had baby goats when I visited in mid-May. They were so cute They would come right up to the fence and you could feed them hay. The kids were going crazy over them.

It’s always fun seeing the male turkey showing off when the female walked by.

And you know I love chickens.

They also have vegatables that you could pick. I think the zucchini blooms those yellow flowers.

A grasshopper on a leaf. I’m sure it’s not a good thing to have a grasshopper on your farm. Assuming a lot of them would eat through your plants.

I found a bluebird near the edge of the farm.

So many sunflowers. These were some of the smaller ones. More to come on those.

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Lake Morton and Circle B Bar Reserve

I do have sad news. Morty, the wild turkey that had been living at Lake Morton for a few months was found dead in the lake. He made it long past Thanksgiving and Christmas. I haven’t heard what had caused it but that’s a tough lake to live on. So many aggressive swans and muscovy ducks there. No one ever said where he came from, he just showed up at the lake and stayed for a while.  I had taken the above in early December.

Ducks were already getting frisky in early December even though we still had a cold spell to get through.

This morning it was dark and cloudy and I was standing at the lake watching the ducks when an eagle fly by. Since the lake was quiet, I left and headed over to Circle B Bar Reserve.

It was a quiet morning. A swamp sparrow came out from the bushes and the trail was full of blue gray gnatcatchers as usual.

Nothing new on the trail this morning. It wasn’t until a visit in late January that I saw a new bird but more on that later.

I did see this mom and her two almost grown kids just walking down the trail. They would stop and sniff into the bushes but then pop back out on the trail and continue to cruise. Raccoon butts are so cute! They stayed in front of me on the trail for a while.

Even though it was quiet it was still a good walk.  I didn’t stay too long, in by 8am and out by 10am.

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Hanging out with some funny faces

I found some new friends at Horsepower for Kids Sanctuary in late November. The toucan is a fairly new resident and was very friendly (he was surrendered by his owner).

You don’t often see white turkeys.

The ducks were being their usual cute selves in the big pond.

Roosters have a run of the sanctuary. Some are skittish and stay in the bushes and some will walk right up to you.

The big shells were enjoying their breakfast.

This guy was showing off.

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Meet Morton

Since mid-October there’s been a wild turkey hanging out at Lake Morton near downtown Lakeland. At least everyone thinks she’s wild. There’s a few parks and preserves close by so she could have wandered far off her path and ended up here. The neighborhood did a naming poll and the name Morton stuck. She seemed pretty domesticated to me. I found her as I was walking around the lake and she came pretty close to me. People have probably been feeding her. All of the turkeys I’ve seen out in the woods are very skittish and run away pretty quickly. She better be hiding this week.

She was strutting around like she owned the lake. There are brick retaining walls in a few places around the lake and the white pelicans along with the ducks like to nap there. She walked up to the pelicans which are much bigger than her and chased them off the wall.

She then strutted over to another wall and chased the ducks away. The pelicans had moved on and were climbing up onto another wall and she went over and chased them again. She was causing a lot of chaos this morning. It will be interesting to see how long she’s there.

Hot morning at Horsepower for Kids.

The ducks were cooling off with a bath at Horsepower for Kids Animal Sanctuary in late June. It made me want to jump in with them and go for a swim.

I decided not to jump in the pond since the geese own the pond and they are aggressive.

Even the tricolored heron was cooling off in the water.

I’m not sure if this white pigeon was a resident or just a visitor. He wasn’t in a cage. 

Some of the chickens hanging around.

Jealous of this guy sleeping (maybe not in the dirt though).

Close ups of the faces at the petting zoo.

A Saturday morning walk around the petting zoo.

 

Other animals at the reserve

This turkey made it through Thanksgiving weekend. He seemed a little skittish when I saw him just off the trail in early November.

I saw  Oreo (resident black and white feral hog) in the swamp near the nature center.

Other critters along the trail. It was interesting to see the squirrel eating a big mushroom.

A few tiny critters at Circle B Bar Reserve in early November.

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