I’m continuing with turkey week. Only these aren’t recipes for what to cook for today’s Thanksgiving festivities. These are wild turkeys in my backyard. (Full disclosure – I am not a vegetarian. I’ll probably be eating a little turkey later today, one bought from a store). A Mom with her lone baby was feeding around in our backyard one afternoon. I went outside with my camera and was sitting in the patio chair taking these.
As I was watching baby I could see the older juvenile turkeys across the fairway. They started heading over to our side of the cart path and towards the tree island behind the building next door.
The Mom and baby started to make their way over to where the older turkeys were. I was wondering if the older turkey family would let this baby hang out with them or chase it away. I’m hoping Mom was ready to get her baby out of there but she was heading right for them.
I followed Mom and baby over to the newly formed tiny pond from the recent rain. The adults were feeding in the water, scratching around in the muck. The Mom of the juvenile turkeys was standing close by watching them feed in the water. I didn’t get too close and was taking these with my 400mm lens.
Mom and baby kept their distance. They were watching for a few minutes and then left and headed over back towards my home so I followed them back.
A few minutes later the older ones cruised by my neighbor’s yard and went around the building and left.
I eventually went around to the front yard to look for the older turkey family and saw a yellow crowned night heron and a limpkin in the lake across the street.
I found a pair of kildeer far out in the cow pasture.
A Savannah sparrow posed for me on the fence.
I spotted some turkeys on the far side of the cow pasture.
Critters taking a nap along the pond (these were both cropped up).
This is the first time I have seen a snapping turtle on this trail.
My first ever sighting of a Sherman’s fox squirrel. They are only found in Florida and south Georgia. I have heard of sightings of them farther north of Tampa and had heard there were some seen along this trail but I hadn’t seen them until this morning. There were 2 and they stayed far on the other side of the cow pasture so these are heavily cropped. They are bigger than the abundant gray squirrels we have in our backyard.
A red shoulder hawk had something furry in his talons and when I stopped to get my camera out he turned around to hide his prey. I quickly snapped the above and then left him to his meal.
It was a little chilly in early March (meaning 60 degrees) and I decided to bundle up and go out for a bike ride on my favorite cow pasture trail. There were a few cows near the trail but the almost grown calves were far back.
This time the turkeys were fairly close to the fence. Tom was really showing off for the ladies. The ladies were ignoring him.
A kildeer was cruising along one of the ponds.
This was an interesting grasshopper. Not the usual lubber but I’m not sure what kind.
Blooming along the trail.
I found a big invasive rosary pea plant near the beginning of the trail. Most of the pods had opened up and revealed the bright red seeds. These seeds are highly toxic to humans and many domestic animals but birds can eat them without any problems. I’ve read that one seed can kill a horse or cow and this plant was right along the cow pasture with a horse barn on the other side. I’m surprised they haven’t pulled this out.
I had gone to the grocery store and my neighbor texted me that the turkeys were in my front yard. When I got home they had moved 2 doors down. After putting up the stuff that needed to go in the fridge I ran out with my camera and caught this from my other neighbor’s yard. There were 4 in all but one was hiding on the front porch. They look like turkey unicorns with that small horn on their forehead. I’ve read these are called snoods and females have short ones and the males get longer ones that hang down their face during breeding season.
That lone robin has still been hanging around. One day we got a lot of rain and a small pond formed across the fairway. That afternoon it was full of robins. After the robins left that lone one was still hanging around.
The Carolina wren was looking for nesting material.
In mid-February the hermit thrush was still stopping by the back yard.
This great egret had it’s green breeding face on. It may have a nest nearby.
The pine warblers were still plentiful and not shy at all.
A butterfly finally landed on the hanging lantana plant while I was out filling up the bird bath. I ran in and got my camera and it stayed on the plant for a while.
In early January I looked out the back window and saw some turkeys across the fairway. There were a lot more of them than the usual 7 that often come by. It looked like 2 of them were fighting and their beaks were locked. I’m not sure if these are the young ones from this summer that are all grown up or a different group.
The 2 fighting turkeys kept pushing towards the palm bushes and ended up in the middle of them. All of the other turkeys were standing around watching.
After a few minutes the other turkeys started chasing each other around. I’m assuming the ones with the red down their throats are the males? Is this a territorial fight?
Many of them started running across the fairway towards our building. One of the younger turkeys had it’s head under the wing of an adult. Was it hiding for safety? It was pretty confusing.
A few of them got chased off and flew over our building. I’m assuming those were the interlopers. It was crazy and only lasted a few minutes. I took all of the above through the window with the exception of the last 3. I snuck out at the last minute just as 2 were flying away. I could see my neighbor across the fairway taking pictures as well.
The turkeys were regular visitors to the backyard in early December. One afternoon I saw these 2 looking like they were having a spat. I’m pretty sure they are siblings. Maybe the red head is a male? They were born this spring so they are still pretty young.
Another day I caught them feeding. I think he saw me through the window.
The young doe was also coming by almost every day. She was alone every day until one day I think I saw her with some other females.
One day we had 2 females with a younger deer come by and feed. I was hoping our little Bambi had found some friends.
I heard Harley (our cockatiel) yell his “There’s a hawk in the backyard” scream and I ran over and saw this Cooper’s hawk sitting in the oak tree. I couldn’t get a clear shot of him through the window so I snuck out the back door and was able to get the above. He was not spooked when I walked right up to him. I’m assuming this is the same one that was in our front yard a few months ago.
House finches and pine warblers have been regulars at the feeder and bird bath this winter
I checked in on the neighborhood eagle nest the first week in December. I had been seeing a lone eagle around the neighborhood and this was the first time seeing them both on the nest. I went by right after this and saw a head peak up from the nest but I haven’t seen any other activity. I hope she’s sitting on eggs. I can’t see her from the street so I can’t tell
More shots of the single young doe that’s been hanging around our yard for several weeks. She has lost her spots but still seems so tiny. Several times she takes a break under the big oak tree next door. I even caught her sleeping one afternoon. She usually lays there for about half an hour nibbling on the grass and then moves on.
All of the usual birds stopping by in early November.
This is the first time I’ve seen a bluebird at my feeder. They stop by the bird bath but I’ve never seen them on the feeder. They usually eat at my neighbor’s feeder. He uses mealworms.
Four of the seven turkey family walking across the golf course in the backyard (the other 3 were down in the bushes).
My neighbor’s muhly grass looks beautiful in early November. The native grass blooms pink in the fall. It made me miss the ones we had in our backyard in Tampa. We thought about planting some outside of our new (ish) townhome but there isn’t a good sunny spot to put it.
Sunset in the pond across the street. This was in late October. We haven’t seen orange skies since.
It was late August and I was coming home from the grocery store and saw 2 eagles sitting in the utility tower in my neighborhood. I quickly put the groceries up and grabbed my camera and ran out the door thinking they would be gone but they were still sitting there. They were sitting in different towers that are next to each other. I was glad to see my neighborhood eagles back for the winter (at least I was hoping it was them).
A few of the regulars in the backyard. Bluebirds have been checking out the nest box I put up last year. Hopefully they will nest in it this year. The turkeys come cruising through the backyard every couple of days.
Blooming in the front courtyard.
Fungi in the backyard from all of the rain we had in September.
I saw a hummingbird buzzing by the window in late August so I put the feeder back out. A few hours later there she was, getting a snack. She came to the feeder several times the next day and that was the last I’ve seen of her so far.
Walking by the window I saw the turkeys roaming around the backyard. A few minutes later they had disappeared. Where did they go that fast? Was that one in the tree? I snuck out the back door with my camera and found them all over the big oak tree. They were settling down for an afternoon nap so I quickly snapped these and went back inside.
About an hour later I peeked out the window and they were back on the ground feeding. I took all of these through the window. Some golfers had come by, causing them all to stand at attention for a few seconds but they went back to feeding as the golfers kept going on the cart.
Getting a drink on a hot afternoon.
That’s not a bird sticking his head out of the bird house. I hope this frog doesn’t plan on living in it. Although the birds aren’t using anyway.
On the back door after a storm. I couldn’t help but get out my macro lens and shoot this through the door. I’m not sure what it is but it was cool looking.
Every few days I see an armadillo in the backyard.
I was driving into the neighborhood right before dark and I saw the turkeys out on the golf course. I had my camera in the car so I pulled over to get a few shots. After a couple of shots they all started to fly over my car and up into the trees. I would have never thought of turkeys in trees but apparently they sleep in them. It makes sense since it can keep them away from the coyotes.
I had to take a few shots of the squirrels flirting in the backyard.
A few days after seeing the turkeys in the tree, I saw them crossing the fairway in the backyard. I snapped the above through the window before running outside.
I walked out on the golf course since there wasn’t anyone coming through late that day. I had my 400mm lens so I was still pretty far away but they kept their eye on me. This must be the same family with one adult and 6 babies. I think the adult might be the one with the gray head, always keeping her head up and an eye on the others.