Friday, April 30, 2010

Mating season on the beach

The signs are up. The big nesting areas are roped off. Fort Desoto has roped off a good portion of the north beach for nesting birds this year. The tons of locals who frequent that beach aren't going to be happy.

Sandwich terns doing a mating dance.

Sandwich terns getting busy.

The terns bring fish to entice the mate. It looks like the one on the right wasn't impressed.

Laughing gulls mating. She looks at me like "I'm going to need a cigarette."

It's mating season on Fort Desoto beach. The beach was full of gulls and terns getting down to business. Soon they will be hiding out nesting and fighting off the blackbirds and bigger gulls who will try and steal the eggs. Please, if you are visiting any Florida beaches, stay out of the roped off areas. It's easy to not see a nest and step on one or scare the parent into abandoning the nests.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Injured manatee - caution

Below is a picture of an injured manatee that is recuperating at the Manatee Hospital at Lowry Park zoo. There were 2 injured manatees floating in this pool. Both had deep cuts to their backs. The update board said both had broken ribs and injured lungs which keeps them from being able to stay under water which is why they were both floating on top. It also stated that with a long rest period and no infections they should both be okay and eventually be released back in the wild. This is from someone going to fast in their boat through a no wake or slow wake zone. I won't get on my soapbox about this here. The pictures below speak for themselves. They weren't the only injured ones there, just ones I could get upclose pictures of (and summer hasn't even started yet).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eagle Lake Park

Baby mallard swimming around.

More babies.

The usual red winged blackbird.
Green heron hiding in the bushes.
There's a new park in town and it's called Eagle Lake Park. It's in Largo and it was the original home of the Taylor family who started one of the first citrus packing plants in Florida. Largo was original known as "Citrus City" back in the early 1900's. The park is beautifully landscaped with great bike paths, walking paths, boardwalks over the lakes and playgrounds. The original house built by the Taylor family in 1929 still stands there but I did not have a chance to check it out while I was there after work one day last week. There were a ton of people there and not too many birds. I walked halfway through the park thinking I wouldn't even take my camera out of my backpack. I found a handful of baby ducks in one of the lakes. Right before I was leaving I saw the above green heron hiding in the bushes. I'll try and check out the park later in the summer after the newness dies down. There is suppose to be several eagle nests in the park but I did not see any nests in the trees.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Northern flicker

I had my first Northern Flicker sighting on a recent trip to Kapok Park. They are a type of woodpecker. They are the only type that sometimes feeds on the ground. I first saw a bird banging hard on something on the ground. When I got closer I thought it was weird to see a woodpecker sitting on the grass banging on something. They are pretty birds with the red stripe on the back of their heads and polka dots on their stomachs. Northern Flickers are one of the few woodpeckers who migrate so this little guy might be leaving my park soon to go up north for the summer.

Friday, April 23, 2010

New babies at the zoo

Baby orangutan playing.

Momma duck with her new babies.

New baby white rhino in the African section of the zoo being very curious. Yum!

New baby zebra nursing.

Baby siamang gibbon learning to swing.
There are lots of babies at the Lowry Park zoo right now. While I was there recently, they were all running around playing since it was still a little cool out in the morning. Soon it will be so hot that all of the animals will be sleeping most of the day. There were already several baby duck groups. The pond in the elephant exhibit had a duck with several babies. I guess they don't mind swimming with the elephants. The above picture of the ducks were taken in one of the primate ponds. Soon the zoo will be full of baby ducks. The wild birds were starting to nest in the area around the alligator exhibit. Little blue herons were sitting on nests. There were already baby great egrets high up in the trees. Caution note - keep an eye out in the trees on the boardwalk there. You could get pooped on by the wild birds who live up in those trees.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kapok Park - turtles and birds.

Turtle basking in the sun.

Small turtle swimming in the lake.

White ibis up close.

Mockingbird hiding in a tree.

Limpkin up close.

Limpkin posing on one of the park signs.

There are lots of animals at Kapok Park right now. I went there before the weekend to see how the baby owl was doing. There was no sign of it. I didn't think it was old enough to start flying yet. I spent an hour looking for him and the parents. They were all a no-show. Maybe they all went out for dinner that night. I'm going to check back in before this weekend to see if they came back. Hopefully they haven't left yet for the summer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Update on shoebill stork baby

The baby stork has gotten big.

One of the parents.

The african shoebill stork that was born on Christmas day at Lowry Park zoo is now almost 4 months old. It now looks almost like an adult. His (or her) feathers are darker than the parent's and the beak looks clean compared to the adult's marked up beak. It stood up for a few minutes while I was there and then sat back down again. This is 2nd baby shoebill to be born in captivity and the first in the US. It looks like it's going to be a great stork. Hopefully the parents can do this again next year. While I was leaving the zoo a flock of white pelicans were flying high up in the sky. I was able to snap the below picture as the birds were probably flying up north (maybe Canada) for the summer.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Atlanta Part 3 - Zoo's otters

On a recent trip to Atlanta, I stopped by the zoo. I happened to walk by the river otter exhibit when the otters woke up and started to play. Usually you pass by these guys and they are sleeping in a bundle. They were so cute. They had a big crowd watching and the kids were going crazy. Above are some of my favorite pictures.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Roosevelt Wetlands

Beautiful glossy ibis. We don't see these very often in Pinellas county. This one looks like it's in full breeding colors.

Blue winged teal duck. We don't see these very often as well. I love the spots on his wing and the bold white stripe on his face.

Red winged blackbird making a lot of noise.

A belted kingfisher from very far away. These birds are very skittish. This picture was extremely cropped. This was the first time I had seen a kingfisher at this park.

The usual alligator.

The usual alligator snack food. Rabbits are showing up everywhere.

I made a quick stop at Roosevelt Wetlands after work one day last week. I needed to get out and walk around after sitting at my desk all day. This place is really a preserve instead of a park. There are no restrooms, playgrounds or real parking. There are houses sitting around half of the lake. You can usually find some different birds there. There were a lot of ducks hanging around the lake. I got my first decent picture of a blue winged teal above. There were several of them there and they stayed close together out in the middle of the lake. I plan to make a lot of stops at the wetlands now that it's still light after work and it's close by.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tricolored Herons at Gatorland

Tricolored herons are starting to fly in and breed at the Gatorland bird rookery. I shot these pictures in mid-March there during a Flickr meetup. There were only great egret babies at the time but the tricoloreds where starting to show up. The blue around their beaks get much deeper blue and their eyes get redder during breeding season. They develop that feather tail that sticks out of the back of their heads. They really are pretty birds. I'm going to try and get back to Gatorland in early May to see if they have had their babies yet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Atlanta Part 2 - Bugs & Bees

On a recent trip to Atlanta, I noticed a lot of bugs and bees were starting to come around now that the weather was warming up a bit there. I had some time to kill one afternoon while visiting the in-laws and was trying to practice taking pictures of up close bugs. I did manage to get one bee in flight, which is really hard. I was trying to get close enough with my shorter lens but they would start to buzz around my head. I'm not sure what type of bug that is in the middle picture. He was very tiny. I know, I need to get a macro lens (it's on my wish list).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Atlanta Part 1 - Spring flowers

Atlanta in the spring is amazing. It's like being in Oz. My hubby and I went last weekend to visit his family. It was still cold with highs being in low 50's but the spring blooms were out in full force. Tulips, daffodils, pansies, cherry blossoms and those stinky bradford pear trees were everywhere. My only regret is the dogwood trees and azalea bushes were not blooming yet. If you ever get a chance to visit Atlanta, go in early spring. Fall is nice too.