A new park for me

For years I have heard about Chinsegut Wildlife Area about an hour north of Tampa but had never made the drive until recently. In mid-April I wanted to go somewhere different so I finally made the trip up north. I got there right when the nature center opened the gates at 8am and was the only person there. For the first hour I had the whole place to myself. I walked over to the dock first and realized that the lake was choking with vegetation. There was only a little water across the lake. The only bird I saw was a hawk cruising around and then landing in the middle on the other side.I had read this small lake was full of water birds this time of year but that must have been old information. Even the little bit of water I could see across the lake didn’t have birds there.

After a quick walk around one of the short trails, I headed over to the nature center to see what birds where hanging around the feeders behind it. The first one I saw was a chipping sparrow.

The usual birds were at the feeder. House finches, doves and cardinals were the only ones. They usually get a lot of migrating birds through here but maybe I picked an off day.

Several red bellied woodpeckers came to the suet.

A lone chickadee.

Looking behind the feeders, I saw a bluebird peeking out at me.

It was a really nice park with tons of trails but I didn’t walk to much since my hip was bothering me. I sat on a bench behind the center for a while and just enjoyed the morning out. I will definately get back in the winter when I can walk a little farther.

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The same things from a different park

I headed down to Fort Desoto early one Saturday morning only to find it was closed for a marathon. So I decided to head to a park I had not been before. Maximo Park sits on the water right next to the interstate and was only minutes away from Fort Desoto. I had not been here before but had not heard much about it. It’s a small park near a marina and the people were lined up at the boat ramp to get their boats in for the day. Across the bay you can see the new bridge near Fort Desoto going up. You can buy bait fish right out of the water (for the lazy people who don’t want to pull their own bait fish up with a net).

It was a quiet day for birds but above are a few that I found including the vulture sunning himself.

Was it starting to look like fall? Looks like poison ivy with those red leaves of 3.

I stopped by Sawgrass Lake Park on the way home for a quick walk and saw this soft shell turtle crossing the parking lot. A man came over and picked him and moved him on his way. It’s rare to see these guys out of the water up close. They are usually pretty skittish.

This is one spoiled duck.

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Backyard visitors in October

Some of the birds visiting my feeder in the backyard. I usually only get house sparrows and blue jays but the woodpecker was fun to see.

The common ground dove was waiting his turn for the feeder. I’ve since redone that hanging plant with mums.

Once in a while I get a cardinal as well.

Other bigger birds cruising by were a little blue heron, a white ibis on my neighbor’s broken dock and a great blue heron. All of the above were taken through the bedroom window.

When I saw the osprey on my neighbor’s sailboat mast, I ran out and took the picture from the backyard. For years there was an osprey that slept on the mast every night but she hadn’t been doing do that for about 2 years. Just recently one has been stopping by for a while during the day. I wonder if it’s the same bird.

Things growing in the yard including the pink muhly grass in front of our screened porch.

Sunset in the back yard.

A hot morning at Bok Tower Gardens

I love the flowers at Bok Tower Gardens. For some reason they look so pretty here.

I didn’t see many birds on this walk. Above is a juvenile red bellied woodpecker and close by was a parent. The little brown one is a young fuzzy Carolina wren hiding in a palm tree.

The sun coming through the lizard’s throat.

There were several eastern tiger swallowtails flying around.

The view of the top of the carillon tower from the vegetable garden.

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Pretty things at a quiet place

Pretty things at Bok Tower Gardens in June.

Boring birds at the feeder but not lacking in color!

A quiet place to reflect.

Heading home from Bok Tower Gardens in June, I stopped on a dirt road to get some shots of the swallow tail kite that was cruising over a cow pasture. I’m sure those cows were thinking “What is that girl doing?”.

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Breakfast on the trail.

Everyone was eating breakfast along the trail.

Some of the birds were eating the seeds from the bitter melon (or balsom pear).

A few usuals along the trail.

A scruffy looking pine warbler trying to hide in the bushes.

A snail kite across the marsh. He had been diving down getting snails to eat but he was so far away I couldn’t get a clear shot of him moving.

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In the backyard in June.

Starlings took over our backyard a long time ago but this is the first time I noticed them nesting. My neighbor has a dead palm tree that sits up against our fence and for weeks I kept seeing this starling popping her head out of a hole in the side facing our kitchen window. There was also one sitting on the top of the stump most of the time. I never saw any babies poking out but weeks later I saw an adult feeding several young ones in our neighbor’s yard.

It’s that time of the year when mama ducks are cruising the channels with babies.

One morning I saw the above woodpecker in a hole higher up in the dead tree. The woodpecker spent all morning cleaning out this hole so I thought we’d have babies at some point but I think she ended up not staying. A few days later I saw a starling going in the same hole and I haven’t seen the woodpecker since.

We have 2 Bismark palms in our backyard that are about 5 years old and this is the first time I’ve seen something blooming inside of them. It’s weird that they are suppose to be the same tree but the blooms look completely different.

Hibiscus on the side of the yard.

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The usual things at my usual park.

The deer where feeding at my usual parking spot.

The squirrels being their usual cute self.

The usual birds hanging around the boardwalks.

A usual big fat gator on the bank of the pond. He was well camouflaged at first.

The usual wintering belted kingfisher up in a tree.

A quiet morning at Chesnut Park.

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In the backyard in January

Birds in our backyard, They are all regular visitor’s. A great blue heron, an anhinga drying his wings with some seaweed on his beak and a red bellied woodpecker.

Arriving home one day I saw a Cooper’s hawk eating something in my neighbor’s yard. Then later we had a red shoulder hawk on my neighbor’s sailboat mast.

We have a hooded merganser couple that hangs our in our channel during the winter. Every so often he comes close to our dock.

Plants inĀ  the backyard.

The sea fog had rolled in one Sunday morning.

One of the big moon events recently. Taken in the driveway.

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