Craving open spaces

Our new home is surrounded by trees and I don’t really get to see much of the sky unless I walk to the end of the driveway or out on the golf course. In our old house I could look out the sliding doors and see the big sky so now I’m craving wide open spaces. I found it about 10 minutes away walking down my street. If I walk the other direction I end up here. A big open field where the utlity towers line up. Part of the field has a small wooden fence around it and they mow it regulary. Neighbors bring their dogs here to run around. It’s a nice place to walk to see the sun go down after work (although now it’s dark after work).

I stayed right before the sun went down.

Turning around looking in the other direction, there’s lots of lines. A sign of progress?

Parts of the field were covered in these yellow flowers.

SkyWatch Friday

A hidden gem

I had heard about a small park not too far from my home that had a community vegetable garden and a butterfly garden so I thought I would stop by on the way home from Chesnut Park. As I got out of my car I saw two swallow tail kites cruising right over the park. I thought that was a good sign. One of the kites had what looked like a frog in his talons but he cruised over the trees before I could get a second look.

It was right before lunch and the sun was straight up and hot so there weren’t many butterflies around although the small garden was very pretty.

I saw a juvenile brown thrasher high up in a tree but he was gone in a flash.

A lot of yellow was blooming this morning. It was quiet and hot so I’m thinking I’ll come back when the weather cools off, maybe during fall migration.

Looks like a perfect log to take family pictures or take a break.

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On the trail in early November

The yellow flowers were out in full force in early November at Circle B Bar Reserve.

Usual birds along the trail. That anhinga has something stuck on his beak. Hopefully he was able to scrap it off. He would be really hard to catch since his is flying and was on a stump in a lake full of alligators.

An eagle flew over my head along the trail.

Later I saw a young eagle sitting on a tree far off the trail close to the lake.

This one was close to the trail. Probably waiting for foot traffic to stop so he could cross.

A tree next to the lake was full of cormorants.

Scenes from the trail on this beautiful morning.

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Long walk on the trails

Looks like a good morning for a walk.

Still a little bit of yellow along the trail.

I found these young juvenile purple gallinules feeding along the trail. One was almost completely purple and the other hadn’t quite got his bright purple feathers in yet.

Views from the trail including that small alligator cruising along the lake.

The long walk around. I took the long way around Eagle’s Roost Trail to avoid the crowds later in the morning. I had the trail all to myself. This was right before my hip started hurting so I’ve only made a short trip back since then and stayed close to the parking lot area,

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“Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam, Where the deer and the antelope play.”

Zooming in on the bison at Antelope Island.

We briefly saw pronghorn sheep from far away.

Views along the drive. You can barely see some bison in that last picture. They were far out in the dried lake.

A few shots from the working farm on the island.

Antelope Island is a state park that sits on the Great Salt Lake.

Antelope Island

The weather called for rain during our trip to Utah but we got lucky. We only saw rain on one day. The morning we went to Antelope Island, just after getting off the plane, was a perfect day even though it was a little warm and the bugs were more annoying than ones in Florida. The ride on the causeway out to the island was amazing. We pulled over several times.

Far across the lake I could see hundreds of avocets. Avocets are fairly rare in my area and I’ve only seen one. I was bummed they were so far away but the water levels were extremely low due to a long drought in Salt Lake City.

Across the island a coyote was running for the trees. He stopped for a brief second as if to say “Take a picture quick lady cause I’m outta here.”

The roads were lined with yellow flowers.

Stopping along the way to take pictures of the bison.

The horses were on a historic farm on the island. Even they were getting annoyed with the bugs.

We loved Antelope Island. Since it’s so close to Salt Lake City, we stopped by twice. The bugs were vicious and the birding was slow but the landscape was amazing.

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Summer critters on summer flowers

Lots of little critters buzzing around at Lettuce Lake in August.

Not many birds but I did see a juvenile northern parula and a red-eyed vireo.

This was the last time I saw the swallow-tail kites, in mid-August. One was flying over the boardwalk. They all left town to head south for the winter.

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Blending in

The yellow flowers were blooming again. From across the lake, I could see the alligator swimming around.

I’m not sure what was going on with these 2. The great egret let the alligator get pretty close. The alligator looked like he was ready to take a bite. He finally slid back down under the water and left the egret alone.

I caught this great blue heron with a fish in the bushes along the lake.

It looks like all of the alligators were trying to blend in.

A fun morning walk at Circle B Bar Reserve.

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Backyard botanical gardens

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My Mom loved dogwood flowers. We had several in our yard when I was growing up.

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Bright yellow everywhere.

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Getting a bite.  My sister had just fed her fish in the koi pond in her backyard.

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Beautiful pine trees along the edge of the yard.

My sister and her husband have spent a lot of time working in their back yard.  We were there in late March and the spring blooms were just starting to come out. Their yard looks like a botanical gardens, with flowers, bushes, benches, bird feeders, bird houses and two fish ponds. The thing I noticed the most was the dogwood trees. We don’t have them here in central Florida and I hadn’t seen any during my quick trip to Birmingham. She had several in her yard and it made me think of my Mom.