Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bird variety at Kapok Park

Mallard swimming around. I love the colors on these guys - orange feet, yellow beak, green head.
American coot taking a bath.

This osprey looked strange. He doesn't seem to have as much brown on his head. It makes him look like a ghost bird.

Great blue heron eating with turtle friend.

Busy getting a snack!

Mockingbird sitting pretty.
The last couple of visits to Kapok Park had not been too exciting. I went this past weekend and there were more signs of life at the park. There were at least 3 opsrey flying over the lake trying to get lunch. Lots of ducks there. Soon there will be lots of baby ducks swimming around. Two specific things I was looking for but did not find were otters and owls. I have only seen the otters from far away and was not able to get any good pictures. I had heard the owls were back at the park but did not see them this past weekend. I also saw a picture of a bobcat that people say lives there. I'm going to be on the lookout for him as well for my next trip.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bundaleer's death

I heard sad news this week. On Tuesday night Lowry Park Zoo posted on their facebook page that Bundaleer, the koala bear who came to the zoo this past summer, has died. He was 10 years old. He came to Lowry Park from the San Diego Zoo. The zoo said he had a recurring infection that they had been treating since October. I am so sad. He was so cute even if he was sleeping most of the time. I think I caught him awake twice in the 10 times I have been to the zoo since he arrived. Below are some pictures I was lucky enough to take.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Honeymoon Island

Lots of osprey flying around.

Stay away from my fish!

Two osprey sitting near their nest.

First time I have ever seen a tortoise there. He was sitting right on the Opsrey Trail.

I was admiring these pretty red leaves that were growing everywhere and someone told me they were poison ivy. Glad I didn't get too close.

It's starting to get very busy at Honeymoon Island with all of the opsrey setting up house. There are a ton of osprey nests along the trail. Many of them already have at least one osprey sitting on them. Soon there will be baby osprey crying everywhere. The best time to go is early in the morning (early to me is 9 or 10am). They are flying around with sticks and fish. Lots of activity before lunch. I did see a lot of other birds and animals as well. There were 2 armadillo walking along the trail.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eagle babies

Parent landing on the nest while the other parent watches.

Feeding one of the babies.

My husband thinks the baby looks like a tiny horse.

Proud parent sitting in a tree close by the nest.
This Saturday I had a productive visit to Honeymoon Island. I had not been out there for a while and it seemed to look different. They had been doing a lot of controlled burning so part of the back trail looked black. The rain from Friday had most of the northern back trail flooded, up to knee deep in some areas. I decided to stay off those trails since there could be snakes swimming around in there. I got there around 9:30am and headed straight back to the eagle's nest. When I got there only one adult was sitting on the nest. A few minutes later another one came flying in with a fish. Immediately the baby's head popped up. There are 2 babies but you could mostly only see one. For a few minutes when the adult was feeding the one you couldn't see you could catch a glimpse of the beak. After that fish was eaten the adult took off and went and got another fish within a few minutes. At one point both parents had left the nest alone but not for long. I stayed for at least an hour at which time the eagles were settling down for a while so I decided to continue walking around the rest of the trails.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lots of critters in the neighborhood

I was cleaning up the yard Saturday afternoon and found this bee sitting on an orange. It looks like he's missing a wing.

This kingfisher was flying around the channel and he landed on my neighbor's dock. There was already an ibis sitting there. They sat there together for a while eyeing each other. Taken from my bedroom window.

I think this shorebird is lost. He was standing on my neighbor's dock. I think he's a lesser
yellowlegs. We usually don't see shorebirds in the channels. Update from Andrea - it's a spotted sandpiper in non-breeding colors.

The question is how did a dead fish get on my dock? There's been a ton of dead fish floating in the channel from the freeze. I'm assuming a bird, maybe the osprey that hangs out in the channel, picked it up and then just happened to drop it there. Did he leave it there as a present?

Saturday night right before dark the osprey landed on my neighbor's sailboat mast. He usually sleeps there at night.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baby primates at the zoo

Baby red tailed guenon hanging upside down on mom.

Baby mandrill watching the older one.

Baby angolan colobus hanging around.

Baby siamang gibbon with mom.

Baby orangutan giving mom a look.
Such cute babies at the zoo! Some with a face only a mother could love. I stopped by Lowry Park Zoo this weekend and was surprised by all of the baby primates out playing around. When the weather cools off here the animals come out to play. It's not like in the heat of summer when they are all sleeping in the back. There must have been a lot of "monkey business" going on this past summer and fall to have such an abundance of babies this winter. If you get a chance to check them out go early in the morning before they take their naps.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hooded merganser

Driving home I pass by a small pond near my neighborhood. This weekend I noticed a handful of new ducks in it. As I was sitting at the red light I could see that big white spot on one of the duck's head and knew it was a hooded merganser. Since these ducks are only here for a few shorts months during the winter I wanted to get a picture. I pulled off the side of the road and got out and snapped. I noticed there were 3 of them, 2 males and a female. I wonder if these were the same 3 in the channel behind our house a few weeks ago. They were there for a few weeks and have been gone for about 2 weeks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wild birds at the zoo

Ibis flying into the fish pond.

Ibis flying into the fish pond.

Snowy egret eating lunch.

Stork has a big fish.

Sparrow taking a bath in the sand.
Saturday it looked like it was going to rain so I headed to the zoo. You can always find wild birds at the zoo looking for an easy bite. The fish pond at the cheetah exhibit had a large group of birds eating the fish. There were storks, egrets, ibis and a great blue heron. The cheetahs didn't seem to mind. They slept through lunch. I got lucky with the weather, the rain did not come until later in the day.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Drive home from work

Dead fish liter the beach on Courtney Campbell Causeway.

No coats, gloves or hats for these guys.

Found this duck swimming close by. Not sure what type. He looks like a lesser scaup or ring neck but I don't think he's either one. Can anyone ID?

Sun went behind the clouds before sunset.

It was a sad drive home on Friday. I was able to leave work a little early and had my camera with me. It was the first time all week I had left work before dark. I had heard about all of the dead fish floating in the bay from being "cold stunned" but had not seen anything. I was thinking I would stop off on Courtney Campbell Causeway and take some pictures of shorebirds along the way and maybe get a sunset picture. Instead all I found was dead fish. They were floating in the water and washed up on the rocks and beach. The freezing temperatures we've had last week really hurt the wildlife here. They are not made to be in water below 40 degrees. I've heard all of the zoos, aquariums and wildlife centers are full of turtles and manatees that were suffering from the cold. It's warmed up this weekend. Hopefully it won't get that cold again. I did manage to find a duck floating around close by the beach.

Update - I just went out into the backyard and there are tons of fish floating in the channel behind our house. There wasn't any there Saturday morning. I guess the storms last night brought them in. Surprisingly it doesn't smell. Thanks Andrea for the ID on the duck. It's a female lesser scaup.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My first owl sighting

Baby great horned owl peeking out from the nest.
Same baby owl about a month later sitting on a branch.
One of the parents of above baby owl.

Screech owl in Christina's backyard. (Picture taken by Christina Button).

I recently watched a great movie on the Disney channel called Hoot. It's about a boy who moves to south Florida and meets new friends and tries to save owls from losing their homes to development. It made me think of the first time I saw an owl out in the wild. It was this past spring at a small park not far from work. I was walking around taking pictures and someone stopped me and said "Have you seen the baby owl?". They showed me where it was and I was hooked. The parents were close by in another tree. I went back to that park every other week during the spring and got pictures of the baby growing up. My friend Christina was telling me she gets screech owls in her backyard. She sent me the above picture to show how cute they are. I'm going back to that park often this spring hoping to see a new baby.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wildlife at work

It's finally sunny and not freezing here in the Tampa bay area. I went out yesterday to get something to eat for lunch. As I was parking my car in the parking lot at work I looked over and saw a great blue heron hiding on the edge of one of the ponds on the property. I pulled out my camera and walked over and took a picture. Walking into the building I saw a little baby bunny heading under the stairs outside the building. He looked really tiny. I'm sure he's glad it's not so cold today. I hadn't seen any bunnies in a couple of months so I was surprised to see this little guy hopping around so close to the building. Maybe he was trying to hide from the cold hungry alligators. There are currently 7 on the property.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birds of prey in the neighborhood

Osprey looking at his lunch.

Osprey flying off with his catch.

Red shoulder hawk sitting on the lamp post in the drizzle.

Belted kingfisher warming up in the sun on my neighbor's dock.

This weekend was really cold. By Florida standards anyway. Saturday it rained most of the day and never got over 36 degrees. Sunday was sunny but never got over 43 degrees. Some areas an hour west of Tampa got snow early Saturday morning. Needless to say I stayed in most of the weekend which I needed to do anyway to catch up on chores and have my water heater replaced. I did manage to take a few pictures of some birds that came to visit my neighborhood. The resident osprey came both days to each lunch on top of my neighbor's sailboat. Saturday I was looking out my kitchen window and saw the hawk sitting on the corner lamp post in the rain. I ran and got my camera and manage to take the above before he took off. Late Sunday afternoon the kingfisher came to visit. All pictures were taken through a window.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Baby shoebill stork at zoo

I'm going to try and get to Lowry Park zoo this weekend. Even though the high for both days will barely reach 40 degrees. A Christmas miracle has happened. The zoo just announced that on Christmas day a African shoebill stork baby was born. These birds are very rare and this is the first chick that has been born in North American and the 2nd in the world in captivity. Hopefully I can get a picture of it. Besides with this cold weather here it feels like all of the wild birds have flown even further south, maybe they all headed to the Keys. Normally there are always birds (egrets, moorhens and osprey) in the 3 ponds outside my window at work. This week I haven't seen any birds.

Attached is a picture of the baby shoebill with it's parents from

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Life of a spoony

Dirty beak.

Really digging hard for food.

What do you want!

Time for a nap.
I came across this roseate spoonbill this weekend and stopped and took a few pictures. I pulled off the side of the road and got out of my car with my camera. He just kept foraging and looking for food. He was making his way towards me but I don't think he noticed me at first. These birds are not very skittish birds. Finally after about 10 minutes he stopped and looked up at me like "What do you want?". Then he continued looking for food. A few minutes later he stopped and tucked his head in for a nap. I decided I needed one of those as well so I packed up and left.