Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nature Abounds in Our Backyard and Here in Sarasota/Bradenton

Sparky loves it when it rains hard. All the birds come out to play in the little lakes and streams formed right by the golf course. The land is fast draining, so the birds are only there for a short time. They are right back along the edge of our lanai. We've seen flocks of cranes come in…And always the ibis….They feed so fast they are like little jackhammers, and they move along quickly!
Those ibis are so funny to watch! Sparky watched one butt another one out of the way while they were eating, more than once. Like there weren't enough bugs to go around after all the rain!? They look a little bedraggled, don't they?
They squawk at each other, just little squawks….

We had a fox come through at the same time, it's not the first time he's been seen….He rolled around and around on the grass after the rains, just thoroughly enjoying himself until Sparky showed up with her camera, then off he trotted. See ya, Mr. Fox!
And immediately after the ibis strolled quickly through our backyard, along came a pair of black bellied whistling ducks.

Sparky has been over to the Celery Fields in Sarasota, near Sun 'n' Fun,  a couple of weeks ago… The fields are the county's primary storm water collection. A 300+ acre site of wetlands, grasslands, two boardwalks and an observation hill is there to climb where you can get a beautiful view of the surrounding habitats. It exists for everyone's pleasure, particularly birders. Over 100 acres of wetlands has been restored with over 20,000 plants established. The Audubon Society is really amping up the place for better bird viewing. A new visitor center is going to be built there, they are adding restrooms and the big hill has had lots and lots of trees and palms planted for the more than 200 bird species that have been spotted in the wetlands and grassy fields of the former celery fields.

Sparky likes to walk the boardwalks or sit at the gazebo and see what's happening…Today, a lot! She spotted a female limp kin with a nest of babies! Four babies to be exact, but here you can only see two.
Sparky watched for quite awhile….And chatted with some serious birders who had some amazing camera equipment. But Sparky is satisfied with her little Canon powershot.
It's always amazing to see the little babies doing what they need to do instinctively.
The mother was out a little ways from the nest, but not too far. She seemed to be keeping an eye on the little ones as she fed.

Purple gallinules were in sight….at least one, anyway…
A tri color heron was watching and waiting for fish….

And, there was a family of ducks. The babies appeared just about to be grown. They were having a ball sloshing through some serious muck. You could hear them slopping through the mud and they had no trouble finding enough to eat, with their little ducktail fannies repeatedly bobbing up and down as they ate.
When Sparky got closer to the action, the mom moved away from the babies to distract, and posed in the late afternoon sun…..Looks like a mallard?
The last thing Sparky saw was a good sized black snake…ugh!
But, that's a part of nature….Just not Sparky's favorite thing to see! Sparky stamped on the ground and it boogied out of there. Good thing it did, or Sparky would have boogied….It was getting late, time for one more last shot, the mom limp kin hopped up onto the boardwalk railing and made sure we weren't bothering her little chicks on the other side.
Sparky will definitely be back to the Celery Fields again soon!  Bye for now…..


  1. Boy I'm impressed with your backyard and with the celery fields. When we were there last year, we didn't see one single thing and I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. Great pictures!

  2. It is so much fun watching all that wildlife, great pictures.