Color and turtles in October

Yellow and orange from my trip to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo last month.

The large cactus in the front of the gardens had big blooms on them . The details inside the bloom are amazing. The cactus also had this big pink ball which I assume are the blooms before they open up. Or, maybe they are the seed pod after the bloom dies off?

Little critters. Bees had taken over that bird house.

I found another face in the tree along the boardwalk.

I stopped by and said hello to the resident wood ducks.

After leaving the botanical gardens, I stopped at McGough Park to see if there were any fall migrating birds. I didn’t see many birds but the turtle pond was full of turtles taking a sun nap.

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The prettiest ducks in Florida

Wood ducks are common year round at the Florida Botanical Gardens. They nest here and if the timing is right you can see them swimming around with babies in the summer. I found 3 males and one female swimming around the main pond early in May. These guys are usually skittish so I stayed at the other end of the pond behind some trees and they just floated around, bathing and flapping. I wondered if there were other females already sitting on eggs somewhere.

At one point two of the males started arguing. Not sure what started it but one was chasing the other away but then they stopped and continued to float around together again.

Pelicans, wood ducks and swans (Oh my!).

Lake Morton in Lakeland is a good spot to find white pelicans in the winter besides Fort Desoto. There are a lot fewer at Lake Morton but you can usually get closer. They hang out on the brick retaining walls around the lake. Most of the time they are sleeping when I’m there but on a recent trip they were moving around a little. I think two of them were fighting over space on the floating pole.

A coot swimming by.

Wood ducks were napping up in the cypress trees and some were swimming around the lake.

There’s always turtles sitting on the cypress knees.

The city of Lakeland were selling swans in late October. When I was there they were in holding pens on the lake. I felt bad that they were leaving their home but there have been banner crops of babies over the last few years and the lake is over-run with swans. Swans were getting hit by cars and fighting with each other. Hopefully they’ll go to homes that have more room for them. If I had a small pond on my property I would buy a pair. The money goes back into the fund to feed the swans at this lake.

Tiny critters at the botanical gardens.

The big huge milkweed plant at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo was covered in these icky bugs. I didn’t see any caterpillars in early October on the plant which is usually filled with them. I know it’s late for caterpillars but there are usually still a few. It’s warm through December here. I hope they don’t kill the plant.

A few other small critters creeping around the gardens.

There were still lots of swallowtails flying around.

The young wood ducks were starting to get their colors in including that young male hiding behind the big leaf.

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A quick walk around Lake Morton

I found some very young mute swans preening at Lake Morton at the end of July. These young adults were born early this year and were acting like they own the place.

Juvenile male wood ducks. Just starting to get their male colors in.

I also found some female wood ducks.

This cute little limpkin family stole my heart. Both babies were staying close to Mom.

A wood duck convention

I stopped by Lake Morton in Lakeland on the way home from Circle B Bar Reserve in mid-May. I usually see one or two wood duck couples there but on this trip they were all around the lake. Sleeping in the grass, hanging out on the swan fences, chasing each other. They must have been gathering for a baby making convention. I have not made it back over to the lake since then so I’m not sure it there were a lot of babies but I would hope so..

All of the usual suspects were there.

Feeding the fowl is encouraged at the lake although bread is extremely discouraged.  They have feeders that are filled with pellets that you can buy a handful for a quarter. This lady was feeding them cracked corn.

Clouds were rolling in and it was time to go home for lunch.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Flowers and bugs

Color coming out in early April at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. Yes, the gardens were open during the big shut down. I went around 8am and there were very few people there. Most probably thought it was closed. It was nice to walk around in the quiet garden.

Watching these crazy parakeets getting sticks for their nests.

Not many birds in early April. The usual blue jays and wood duck couples. The wood ducks usually have babies here in the summer but they go into hiding and it’s hit or miss seeing them here.

Caterpillars were on the milkweed but those pesky milkweed bugs were taking over.

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