This park should be called “Turtle Park”.

Different patterns on the mangrove leaves along the boardwalk.

I finally was able to see a few migrating birds coming through in late April. Since the best place to see spring migration was closed (Fort Desoto Park) here in the area, we were thinking we wouldn’t get to see any birds coming through. Since some of the smaller parks were still open I was able to see a few birds. They were very skittish and stayed hidden in the bushes. Above are a hooded warbler, a redstart and an ovenbird (or at least I think it’s an ovenbird. May be a thrush of some type?).

 

I had not been to McGough Nature Park in Largo in years. It’s a small park that sits on the intercoastal waterway. I had heard there were a few migrating birds there so I headed out not expecting much. I had forgotten that the park has this great turtle pond. There’s a small dock that goes out over the pond and benches all around it. Turtles were all along the bank and it was very peaceful watching them hang out.

My Saturday morning “just being outside” shot from the boardwalk.

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A walk after work

Baby ducks were everywhere on my walk around Carillon Park after work in late April. It looks like those baby moorhens were sitting on cotton in the first picture but that is some kind of algae growing in the lake.

There was also a limpkin trying to feed 2 little babies.

A few of the other birds on my walk. A yellowlegs, a parrot eating something high in a tree and an anhinga with a snack.

Other critters at the lake.

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Visiting Brett’s aunt and the ducks.

Every other Sunday, Brett and I visit his aunt at the nursing home in St. Pete. The weather has been so nice that we spend the time with her hanging out at the duck pond in the parking lot. On a recent Sunday, a little lady came over and fed the ducks while we were there. It looked like seed and cracked corn. All of the birds and ducks came in close and we sat and watched them having their snack.

It was fun watching the duck drama going on.

Later, we moved to another bench and this wood stork walked right up to us. He was hoping we had something to feed him. He watched us for a few minutes and then left. I only had my phone with me so all of the above were taken with that.

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Zoo baby explosion

Zooming in on the marabou stork babies at Zoo Tampa (formerly Lowry Park Zoo). They are born looking like old birds. Reminds me of the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where Benjamin ages in reverse and is born an old person and then turns young. Only these birds look old their entire lives.

A new baby out in the African exhibit staying close to Mom.

The fuzzy white thing is a  baby Colobus monkey. So cute and easy to spot. The keeper said that the entire group helps raise the baby so the baby was comfortable moving around with all of them.

A wild baby tricolored heron waiting for Mom to feed it.

Little blue herons that were born weeks earlier over the alligator exhibit.

Wild baby mallards playing in one of the exhibits.

And just for fun, a turtle train.

So many babies born this early spring at Zoo Tampa. It’s fun to watch the kids get excited seeing all of the baby animals.

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A walk after work

Lots of turtles at Carillon Park. The ponds have sunning boards for the turtles to hang out on.

Magnolias along the boardwalk.

An ibis taking a bath. It was so hot I wanted to jump in with him.

A few bunnies along the trail.

Colors in the fountain.

 

I haven’t seen a lesser yellowlegs in a long time much less at this park.

A quick walk around a park nearby work before heading home in early May.

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Aldridge Gardens

Just a few of the beautiful flowers we found at Aldridge Gardens in Birmingham during my visit with my sister. The weather was too beautiful to do anything indoors so we did a quick walk around the gardens before heading to lunch.

They had bee hives with glass sides. It was really cool to see inside the hive, watching the thousands of bees working.

Some of the critters around the lake. More to come on the gardens.

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A turtle convention at the Botanical Gardens

Turtles of all sizes were out basking in the sun in early March.

A beautiful swallowtail posing for me on a blade of grass.

A snowy egret was shuffling his feet trying to scare up a snack while anhingas, both male and females,  were posing all of the gardens.

A young juvenile eagle was flying high up over my head.

Lots of critters at the Florida Botanical Gardens in early March.

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Two lakes in downtown.

One of the black necked swans.

A black swan working on a nest.

A young mute swan.

A young and an old wood stork.

One of the shelducks at Lake Mirror.

A pied grebe hiding in the reeds,

Cormorants and anhingas drying off in the sun. The first bird in the top picture is an anhinga. The rest are cormorants. Anhingas have a straight beak and spear their fish. Cormorants have a curved beak and hook their fish.

Threes a crowd.

All taken at Lake Morton and Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. The small lakes are just a few minutes apart so it’s easy to do quick walks around both before heading home.

Behind thick glass

Aquarium creatures in the manatee exhibit building.

Turtles swimming around in the manatee exhibit.

Watching pelicans being fed from behind the glass at the under water viewing area at the manatee hospital. It was strange watching from this perspective. Their little feet were going a mile a minute.

It’s not often you get to see a hooded merganser this close. He was swimming close to the window of the under water viewing window.

The Lowry Park Zoo is getting a new water filtration system for the manatee hospital so there are currently no manatees at the zoo. Any injured manatees are now being sent to other manatee rehabbers until their new system is in. Normally you can go underneath and see the injured manatees that are being cared for at the hospital which is part of the zoo.. It’s unfortunate that any people visiting the area are not able to see these big guys up close but the zoo really needed to update its water system. And, it unfortunate that soon it will be installed and there will be new injured manatees swimming around there again. You can read about the hospital here.