Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bird action at Circle B Bar Reserve

Great blue heron standing funny in the reeds. I have never seen one stand like that. I guess it was drying it's wings.

Immature blue heron fly-by.


This anhinga had caught a tiny fish. He was popping them down like popcorn shrimp.

The opsrey had a big fish. There are a lot of osprey at the park.

The limpkin was trying to hide his apple snail snack. Sounds like something Kellogg's would make.

Above is what the limpkins eat. I saw several limpkins at the park. More than usual. It must be a banner snail year. Someone must have lined the empty apple snails up on the side of the bank.

More pictures from my first fall trip to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland. Mostly just the usual birds there. But they all seemed pretty busy getting food. I'm going to try and get back there before Thanksgiving. Hopefully, the white pelicans will have migrated in by then.

PS.  Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Busy Sunday morning in my backyard.

My story starts last Sunday with waking up to a chattering noise outside my window. I nudge my half-asleep husband "Do you hear that? I think our kingfisher is back." I hadn't seen him since early last spring. He hangs out in our channel every winter. I got up and looked out the window and there he was, sitting on our dock.

I ran and got my camera and open the blinds. He flew over to our neighbor's dock. I didn't notice the hawk sitting behind him until a few minutes later. After I took the above picture he took off down the channel. I thought I had scared him in the window but then noticed the below flying down the channel towards our house.

Our resident osprey was back with breakfast and landed on our neighbor's sailboat mast.

I went out the side door to try and get some outside pictures and the above red bellied woodpecker was sitting in our tree on the side of our house. He didn't stay long when he saw me.

I walked around to the backyard and noticed the immature blue heron that's been hanging around lately. He was on our neighbor's dock and looking at something strange.

That's when I noticed the red shouldered hawk had moved to the dock as well. He and the little blue heron were sitting on the same dock.

The hawk saw something in the grass and flew down to get it. I think it was a small lizard. He's got something hanging out of his mouth.

When the hawk flew back on the dock it scared the heron and off he went across the channel.

While heading back into the house the above blue jay was in our orange tree.

When I got back inside the hawk flew across our yard and landed on our neighbor's lanai. He watched a squirrel for a few minutes, then took off. I took the above from the dining room window.

All of the above happened before I had even had my Cheerios. Then all of a sudden everyone was gone. So we packed up and headed to Fort Desoto for the day. More on that later.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sunset on the causeway - Skywatch Friday

It hasn't rained in weeks.  Which makes for a beautiful sunset every night but the grass and trees are started to get crispy. I took the above driving home from work recently. In another 2 weeks the time changes and I'll be driving home in the dark so I'm trying to stop and get pictures at least once a week.

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This blue heron was digging up some seaweed. There must have been something good in it.

There was a handful of shorebirds on the causeway.

Something in the water startled this great blue heron. Might have been a stingray.

There's always lots of skimmers flying around the causeway before dark.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

First fall trip to Circle B Bar Reserve

I'm thinking this is a palm warbler. 

I'm thinking this is a pine warbler but I could be way off. There's a ton of little birds that look like this. Any ID would be great.  It was so tiny and flew by quickly. This is extremely cropped.

Black bellied whistling ducks. It's great to hear them go whistling by.

Pied grebe above. Recently I've been seeing them everywhere. They duck under water so quick.

Snowy egret taking off.

I hadn't been out to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland since May. It's just been too hot to hike around an inland park. In the beginning of October we had a cold snap (meaning 80 degrees) and I had to go. I got there around 9am, which is late for birders but I really needed to sleep in. It was already hot. There weren't a lot of birds there but I did manage to catch a few tiny ones. I think I was just a little early for the big birding season there. Any id's on the first 2 little birds would be great. I looked them up but they all look alike. I'm planning on many visits there between now and spring.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Storms around the causeway - My World Tuesday

Storms were moving into the Tampa area a few weeks ago.

I took this on my way home from work from a parking deck on Rocky Point island.

Typical of Florida, it was raining across the bay but not where I was.

Skimmers were hanging out in the parking lot on Rocky Point island.

Looks like these laughing gulls were settling in for the night.
Just a few weeks ago we were getting storms every day late in the afternoon. Even in late September.  I had my camera in the car and was ready to go to a park after work but the storms looked bad. On my way home though, it looked like it might clear up. I stopped on the Courtney Campbell causeway and shot a few pictures before the sun went down. This was the last big storm since then.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wild city parrots at Kapok Park

As I was leaving Kapok Park last week, I heard some wild parrots screaming. They are very loud and I could hear them across the lake. Well, back I went across the park to see if I could find them. They had flown into the trees of a neighborhood nearby.  I walked to the edge of the park and was able to get the above pictures. It was getting late and I wanted to get out of the park before dark so I was only able to get the above before they flew off. They didn't stay in that spot long.  It was great to see a flash of green high overhead.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Anhinga's having dinner.

I stopped by Kapok Park one day last week after work for a long walk. I was standing on the boardwalk looking around thinking the night was going to be a bust when I saw the anhinga with a fish. I was standing into the sun but knew if I tried to walk around the lake so the sun would be behind me that fish would have long been eaten. So I snapped off a handful of pictures hoping for the best. The below are not great pictures.  He seemed to struggle with the fish but he finally got it down. It all happened in about a minute. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Travels To The Edge roadtrip - Skywatch Friday

My trip began this past Friday night. I left work and picked up my husband in Lakeland and we headed across the state on Highway 60. It's a two lane road of cow pastures. Along the way we saw 2 kingfishers, a hawk, tons of osprey, 2 bald eagles flying along side of the road, 3 different sandhill crane families, horses, cows and a handful of road kill. Oh, and lots of vultures. We were headed to West Palm Beach. Hubby had wanted to go visit his aunt and cousin and I found an all day photography seminar happening there on Saturday so off we went. The Florida turnpike has these big electrical poles running along side of it for a while.  They looked cool at first but they went on forever.

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One of my favorite shows on tv is Travels To The Edge which runs on PBS. Above is Art Wolf, who is the star of the show. He is a nature/travel photographer that travels to exotic locations and talks about taking pictures there.  He had an all day seminar in West Palm Beach so I had to go. He talked about inspiration, composition, difference between an okay picture and a great picture, etc. It was a great seminar and his pictures are amazing.  

Art's website -

The trip back to Tampa looked like the above most of the way home. Small old buildings on a two lane road that forks into nowhere. It was fun to see old Florida though. On the way home we saw 2 eagles sitting in a tree close to the road. Hubby turned around and pulled off the side of the road so I could take the below pictures. It was almost dark and I only had my small point and shoot camera with me. Below is what happens when you try to zoom in too much on one of those. Too much grain and noise in the picture. It was so great to see them I had to post these anyway.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Early birds at the North Beach Marsh

Oystercatchers trying to sleep.


Marbled godwits trying to sleep.

Another "willet scratching" shot. These guys seem to do this a lot.

Snowy egret hanging on.


Little sanderlings looking for food.

Actually it wasn't that early. It was just before noon a couple of weeks ago at Fort Desoto. I was hoping to catch all of the shore birds doing something cute or eating but most of them were just trying to sleep.  You can always find sanderlings running along the beach looking for food. They dig their little beaks into the sand. I'm not sure what they are finding. I never do see them actually eat anything. They run really fast on those little legs. Since it was a quiet day I grabbed lunch and the beach chair and sat down to read for a while.