Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quiet morning at Largo Botanical Gardens

I went for a walk at the Largo Botanical Gardens last weekend and didn't see too many birds. In fact, I think the only thing I saw were moorhens. The above picture is of a juvenile moorhen. I didn't see any alligators there and usually they are everywhere. I'm assuming they are hiding under the water. There were tons of butterflies and dragonflies buzzing everywhere. If it wasn't so hot I probably would have spent more time trying to get different pictures. After two hours in the heat I headed home.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Clouds on the causeway

One day last week after work I was coming home late across the Courtney Campbell Causeway. The sun was just coming down. It was so bright but kept trying to hide behind the clouds. I had my camera with me so I stopped off on the access road and parked. There were lots of people out fishing along the causeway. It would have been a nice night out if it hadn't have been so hot. As the sun was getting lower it hit a wall of haze so it lost it's luster. The below juvenile night heron kept me company while I was taking pictures. He just stood there and watched, probably thinking "Why doesn't this fool go home and have dinner in her air conditioned house?".

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Baby ducks and moorhens

Muscovy duck family on the side of the lake.

What a cutie hiding in the reeds.

Big muscovy duck family.

Baby moorhen with mom.

Baby moorhen siblings.
There are still a lot of babies around this summer. A recent trip to Crescent Lake park revealed two families, a muscovy duck family and a moorhen family. It's funny how opposite these babies look. The muscovy babies are so cute when they are babies. They look like wood ducks or mallards as babies. Unfortunately, when they grow up they become one of the least attractive ducks. Moorhens, on the other hand, start out as the funniest looking aliens. Once that red beaks comes in they become pretty. I know, all babies are cute.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Feeding time at the St. Pete Pier

Someone had dropped some crackers on the sidewalk leading to the St. Petersburg pier. I didn't see anyone do it but it must have happened right before I got there. A few laughing gulls were already there starting to eat. A few seconds later they all started to swoop in. A handful of brown cowbirds found the crackers as well. The bottom two pictures are of a mom cowbird feeding her baby crackers. That's really good nutrition for a growing bird. They should be filling up on bugs (Yum).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wild parrots at Crescent Lake

There's a group of wild monk parrots living around the water tower at Crescent Lake Park. They have several nests built into the steps of the water tower like the above picture. There's a baseball field next to the tower and the parrots were hanging out on the fence behind home plate. It was obviously mating season. They were pairing up and preening each other. They were very loud birds. I'm sure the neighbors around that park get tired of hearing that squawking all day. They are beautiful birds though, and very animated. I just stood by the ball park fence for a while and watched them fly back and forth. Every once in a while they would look over at me but did not pay too much attention to me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baby geese all grown up

The first picture was taken back in April at Crescent Lake Park in St. Petersburg. There were 11 baby geese at the park during that time. I think I only got 9 in the first picture. They never seemed to stay in one place to get a picture of all 11. I went back last weekend for a walk around the lake and realized the baby geese had all grown up. They were in the same spot and pretty much stayed together. They are used to being fed and would walk up to anyone that walked off the trail and stopped for a few minutes. They were in the lake when I first saw them and swam towards me. They seemed to say "Do you think she has any food?" There are other geese there as well so the park is going to seem overrun with them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Backyard colors

I went outside to take the garbage out one day last week and the sun was just setting. The sky had these amazing colors in it. Bright pink and orange filled the sky. There were storm clouds on one side of my house and the sun was setting on the other side. I ran back in to get my camera and was able to snap a couple of pictures before the sun went completely away.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waste plant birds

A group of great egrets looking at their reflection.

Four baby moorhens across the ditch. The parents were close by.

The duck snuck up on the spoony and spooked him.

Several families hanging out in the ditches at the waste plant.

Spoonbill watching me take pictures.
One day last week I stopped by the ditches that run along the Pinellas County waste plant. It was a rare day with no rain on the way home. The ditches were full from all of the recent rain and the birds seemed to be enjoying the sun and water. There was one spoonbill hanging out with a lot of other birds and ducks. At first he seemed interested in what I was doing but after a few minutes he went back to looking for food in the water.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kayaking with ducks

Last weekend I went for a quick kayak trip in our neighborhood. It was windy and choppy so I stayed in the canals instead of venturing too far out in the open bay. There weren't too many birds around. There was a momma duck with one baby that showed up and paddled along side of me for a while. They were really cute. I guess they thought I would feed them. I know a lot of the neighbors feed the ducks in the canals. On my way back home I stopped to snap a blue heron that was watching me paddle by. It was the only other bird I saw besides the duck. The above were taken with my old point and shoot.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Injured birds at the St. Pete Pier.

Pelican with one foot missing was hanging around the St. Pete Pier.

I couldn't decide if he was trying to scratch with his leg or just waving at me.

The above great blue heron has fishing line wrapped around his leg. It looks like it's attached somewhere in his chest. It was pretty far away from me, hanging out on the dock posts at the St. Pete Pier and I never even saw the line until I got home and was cropping the pictures later that night. It was very skittish and would fly from post to post if someone walked close by where it was sitting. Eventually it flew off towards the airport near there. I went back the next morning to see if he was still hanging around the Pier. If I could find him I would have called the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary to see if they could help him. There was no sign of him. I did see the one footed pelican again. He must live there. I'm going to try and stop by again after work one day this week.
Fishing should be illegal from all piers, but that's just my opinion. Yes, I know, there's a reason it's called a fishing pier. But they should be called a bird watching pier instead. Although, if there was no fishing on piers then the birds wouldn't hang around them. I can't win.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Critters in my yard.

There is always a little lizard sitting on top of my pelican planter in our front yard. We inherited the planter from the people who lived there before us. I thought for sure my husband would chunk it in the garbage as soon as we moved in but he decided it fit the neighborhood so we left it there. I finally stopped to take a picture of a lizard sitting on it. Later that day my husband was yelling from outside "There's a frog in the kitchen window." I ran outside with my camera and was a little disappointed that the frog was sleeping in between the frame and the screen. I snapped a picture thinking that would be it. Later the frog came out and I was able to get a good look at him.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Zoo Atlanta

New pine cones growing in the summer? No, it's not Tampa. I stopped by Zoo Atlanta for a quick visit while I was visiting my in-laws recently. Hey, anything to get out of the in-law house for an hour, right? The pine cones were bright green and looked pretty against the blue sky. They were in the asian section next to the panda house. The pandas were all sleeping while I was there so that was not fun. Below are some of the animals at the zoo. Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa does not have pandas, gorillas or lions so I was trying to get some pictures of those.

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