I should have slept in.

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I went looking for a grasshopper sparrow that had been reported at Possum Branch Preserve before heading over to Chesnut Park. This was all I got, trees full of yellow rumped warblers.

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And pigeons flying overhead.

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And fruit that is toxic if you eat it in this state even though it’s pretty.

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Chesnut Park wasn’t much better. Palm warblers. Really? I should have slept in.

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Bees and flowers were still blooming.

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At least the squirrels were cute holding the berries in their tiny hands.

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The usual titmouse were looking for a handout.

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They get pretty close.

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The lake was full of these blooming. Bees were enjoying them.

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View from the end of the dock. You would almost think fall was here. There were a few trees turning red. It was the weekend before Thanksgiving and the high was going to be 80 degrees by noon.

I stopped at the little Possum Branch Preserve to look for the rare (in this area) grasshopper sparrow. There were 3 other birders there looking as well. No luck even though he was sighted the afternoon before. I moved on to Chesnut Park a few miles away. Not a lot of birds there but people were coming in fast. Every picnic shelter was booked and everyone was hauling in food, coolers and decorations. It was a perfect day for a family outing.

I’m going to look for a duck.

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“I’m eating over here.” said the spoonbill.

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I realized as he flew off he was banded. I could not make out the numbers on either picture.

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Another palm warbler.

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Yellow rumped warblers are starting to show up.

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Turtle face.

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Stretching out on the floating pad in the pond.

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The cormorants rule the boardwalk.

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A tiny turtle soaking up some sun.

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Another one on a log.

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Blue jay with a nut from a palm tree.

This was the first time I have walked around the trail and boardwalk at Carillon park on a Saturday morning. Since it’s so close to work I usually only go after work in the summer. It’s usually packed with joggers and walkers. It was quiet this morning and weird to be there on a Saturday since it’s surrounded by office buildings. I went looking for an albino coot that had been reported there everyday for a week. Of course, by the time I get there, he’s gone. Maybe he was just close by and will come back over before winter is over.

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Also, check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention  for 

A new park for me

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I found a sleepy yellow crowned night heron snoozing in a tree along the boardwalk. He was sleeping right next to an empty nest. Hopefully, he’s planning to use it soon. He was looking pretty grumpy.

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Yes, another blue-gray gnatcatcher.

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Female red-winged blackbird in the bush.

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Another one on the ground along the boardwalk.

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Yellow rumped warbler posing for me. Why are these the only ones that like to show off?

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Pretty green feathers on the male mallard. Mating season has begun.

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I found this lone female hooded merganser hanging out with a mallard couple. She was asleep on my first lap around the park. She was just floating along the creek.

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On my 2nd lap around the park, she was awake and watching me.

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She started to dive for food and did not seem to care if I was around.

I’ve been by the golf driving range in Largo a million times. I did not realize there was a park behind it. It’s a small park but has a nice layout. On one side is the driving range. Another side has a small creek with a golf course across from it. The third side is the same creek around the bend with houses across from it. There are several paved paths and a nice boardwalk around a very small pond. It was cold the morning I headed over. Practically freezing here at a chilly 48 degrees! But, the sun was out and it warmed up fast. I had heard there were cedar waxwings hanging around the park. I saw them there but they were far away on the other side of the creek into the sun. I walked two laps around the park and saw them later fly overhead. Off into the yonder. Oh well, I’ll try to head over there again before they leave for spring.

Looking for yet another yellow bird.

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Are you a western tanager?  No, just a yellow rumped warbler.

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Of course, the western tanager would be much higher up in the trees and harder to spot. After two hours, she would not come down from the top of the trees.

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This was the best that I got that morning. She’s now been there for a few weeks so I should go back and see if I can find her again.

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Nice butt shot. There were at least 20 birders looking for this bird. After several hours she was spotted high up and stayed there. This is my western tanager.

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After spotting the tanager in the trees by the parking lot, I headed over to the beach to see what I could find. I’m going with Forester’s tern on this one. He’s got the black “earmuffs” that a common wouldn’t have. Bill is slightly longer.  Seagull Steve, let me know if I’m wrong on this. I followed your comparisons here.

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Wilson’s plovers on the beach.

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Are these semipalmated plovers?  Those orange legs on the one in the back makes me think they are but they don’t have a lot of color in their face. Maybe the back one is a juvenile?

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Stretching after a nap.

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A royal tern staring at me.

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Taking a bath in the salt water.

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What’s this? This isn’t a tern or plover. There was a lone red breasted merganser walking up on the beach. Where were all of her friends? They usually aren’t alone. She preened for a few minutes.

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And then took off down the beach.

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Pelican flying by just as the sun was coming out.

It was a foggy morning at Fort De Soto in mid-January. I went down to the park looking for the western tanager. Anything else I found was going to be a bonus. Not much else at the park except the usual terns and pelicans. I did find the Franklin’s gull on this trip. The sun finally started coming out around lunch time. I was hungry so I headed for home.

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Roosevelt Wetlands

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Yellow rumped warbler with a berry.

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This palm warbler flew right in front of me and started posing.

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This downy seemed to be friendly as well. He flew into the tree right in front of me and was banging away while he kept an eye on me.

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Same downy as above.

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One side of the wetlands has houses across from it. The other side has the garage for the county garbage trucks. They do maintenance on the trucks in big garages. I always see loggerhead shrikes hanging out on the utility wires running in front of the garage. I guess there’s a lot of worms that live there.

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This one had a worm hanging out his beak. He eventually swallowed it.

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There are still a few butterflies hanging around.

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Up close on the flower.

The Roosevelt Wetlands are close to where I work. In the summer when the sun is out late I stop by there after work sometimes. It’s really just a small pond with a path around it. It separates the neighborhood from the waste plant. I hadn’t been in months so I decided to stop by on a Saturday morning before Christmas to see if anything unusual was around. It was very quiet and very few birds.

Shine the Divine

December walk at Honeymoon Island – Skywatch Friday

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A common sight on the nature trail at Honeymoon Island.

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Some of the burnt trees have osprey nests in them. It’s not quite nesting season so they were all empty. All of the osprey were out catching breakfast.

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Another typical sight at Honeymoon Island.

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One of the many yellow rumped warblers. I’ve taken a ton of pictures of them in the last few weeks.

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I don’t see eastern towhees very often. This is my 2nd sighting of a towhee in Florida.

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Not sure what this was up so high. It’s probably a palm warbler.

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The red berries everywhere make the trails look like Christmas. This is a nasty invasive tree, a brazilian pepper tree. They spread like wildfire and take over native plants. Birds eat the berries and disperse them everywhere. It’s now illegal to sell, buy or move them. Many parks have pulled them out. They are pretty when the berries are in full bloom.

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This dog was having fun in the water.

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Ring billed gull guarding a shell.

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Another one in the water.

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Raccoon prints on the beach.

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It was another beautiful morning in Florida during December. It started out cloudy and cold but the sun came out after the first hour I was there and it got hot. I’m glad I brought my bottle of Off. The mosquitos were still there.  We need a week in the 40’s at night to make them fly south. Maybe January.

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