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