Friday, November 27, 2015

Sawgrass Lake Park in the fall

 At Sawgrass Lake Park, I spied a mother and 5 baby alligators busily swimming around her. They were too scattered to get a picture of the entire family. Getting very brave, aren"t they?

Closeup of baby alligator at Sawgrass Lake Park
Baby alligator at Sawgrass Lake Park

I also saw a pair of frisky raccoons searching for food. Here is one who thinks he is hidden and another who is looking up at me..

Raccoon at Sawgrass  Lake Park
Raccoon looking up at Sawgrass Lake Park
Here is my posing squirrel all grown up. 

Gray Squirrel at Sawgrass Lake Park
There was a little blue heron by the bridge at the entrance to the park.

Little blue heron at Sawgrass Lake Park
Sawgrass Lake Park is known for its majestic, old live oaks that line the entrance road. 

Live Oaks at Sawgrass Lake Park

Pinellas County Parks are great for sunsets.

According to Governor Rick Scott,  Florida State Parks are the only state in the US to win  the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in the management of state park systems three times! Actually, no other state has even won the award twice. Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island, Anclote Key Preserve, and the Skyway Fishing Pier are the only state parks in Pinellas County.

Pinellas County Parks are no exception in their excellence, and must be seen to be appreciated. Sunset is a perfect time to take  pictures. These were taken between 4:30 and 5:30 pm.

Seminole Lake Park

Dodging the evening rush hour traffic, then joggers heading for the trails in the parking lot, I walked around the southeastern shores of Seminole Lake, which are the part that can be accessed from the park. 

Sunset at Seminole Lake Park, FL

There were still ducks and a little blue heron on the lake at sunset. Near the boatramp an Anhinga, bathed in light, was perched in a tree, cleaning his feathers. Benches near huge palms, also had a golden glow.

Pair of coots at Seminole Lake Park
Mallard at Seminole Lake Park

Little blue heron at Seminole Lake Park
Anhinga at Seminole Lake Park

Sunset near the boat ramp at Seminole Lake Park 

November is a great month to visit Largo Central Nature Preserve

Tri-colored heron at Largo Central NP
Fall is a good time to visit the parks. There are not as many snowbirds and vacationers, so you sometimes have the parks to yourself. Some of the male birds are coming into their breeding plumage. You can see how much the awkward looking babies from this spring have grown.

Young osprey at Largo Central NP
Young night heron sleeping at Largo Central  NP

It has been a warmer fall then usual, so the alligators are more active. I spotted two alligators at Largo Central Nature Preserve on the same day.

Huge Alligator at Largo Central Nature Preserve
 One alligator, approximately 12 ft. long, was in middle of the pond. He leaped in the air and quickly swam away in response to a group of  noisy teenagers. A group of nervous moorhens nearby, probably sighed in relief. A smaller alligator rested on the opposite side of the boardwalk. Usually I only see the larger alligator, who would probably be lying motionless on the edge of the pond, soaking up the sun. 

I rarely see snakes in the parks, especailly in November, but along the edge of the pond in some aquatic plants I photographed a young water moccasin. I felt very thankful for the boardwalks that day!

Young Water Moccasin at Largo Central Nature Preserve

Everyone was not shopping on Black Friday. Dylan DeSio, a Seminole, FL resident home from college this weekend, caught a nice 2 lb. bass in the recently stocked pond at Largo Central Nature Preserve. 

Dylan DeSio with a 2 lb bass  caught in Largo Central NP
 Early November, there did not seem to be as many birds at Largo Central and elsewhere.  There are always moorhens, great white egrets, cormorants, pied-billed grebes, anhingas, ibis, yellow-crowned night heron, tricolored and little blue herons, but not the sheer numbers all at once.  I did not see the great blue herons, roseate spoonbills, shovelers, etc. The mallards were in a flock across the canal at the East Bay Golf Course. The fish and otter was jumping out of the water, but the turtles were not sunning themselves.

Great White Egret at Largo Central NP
Cormorants at Largo Central NP

A bow-legged Ibis at Largo Central NP

Anhinga, wings drying, at Largo Central NP
Limpkin at Largo Central NP

Pied-billed Grebe at Largo Central NP
Brown anole on boardwalk at Largo Central NP