Fall Clean Up and Florida Birds

It was down to 32 degrees last night.  Yesterday was the big chance to get the leaves cleaned up, though there are still a few colorful leaves on trees and shrubs here and there.  I have also included some pictures below to let my minds wander back to warmer days we had not too long ago in Florida.

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With our big trees cut down we had to get some leaves from the neighbors to make our fall compost pile.  We will be able to put our kitchen scraps in the pile most of the winter, if we can reach the pile and it is not too frozen.  We took the picture yesterday while the zinnias were still pretty.  They took their last bow with the frost last night.

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The fothergilla bush is still pretty.

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The brussel sprouts have been small and grown slowly, since we have had little rain this fall.  Maybe they will get a little bigger in the next few weeks before the hard frosts come.

Moving to some warm weather pictures! Here are some glimpses of birds we saw recently in Florida.

Black Skimmer

A black skimmer on the Miami beach.

Royal Tern in Florida

Royal tern facing into the wind on Miami beach.

Female painted bunting

Female painted bunting at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne.

Mangroves at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Mangroves at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.  We went down some beautiful, but very mosquitoey, trails to get to this area where herons were fishing at sunset.  We ran back to our car pretty quickly.

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The next morning we visited the Loxahatchee national wildlife refuge, the northern most part of the everglades.

Boat-tailed grackle

I think this is a boat-tailed grackle with the setting moon.  It was just before Halloween so a fun picture.

Common Egret at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Great Egret at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

Anhinga at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

This Anhinga was making noise about something for a while as we watched.

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In the afternoon we were in the Big Cypress National Preserve, just north of the Everglades, and saw this great blue heron near a pond at the Kirby Storter Roadside Park.  We followed a boardwalk through some wetlands and woods until we got to this pond.

Alligator at Kirby Storter Roadside Park

It took us a while before we spotted the alligator in the pond at the Kirby Storter Roadside Park.  It was a very quite spot, though we could hear the cars driving by not far away.

Green Heron at Oasis Visitor Center

We saw this hunting green heron at the oasis visitors center at the Big Cypress National Preserve.  The canal there seemed to be well stocked with fish, so there were many gators, herons, anhinga, and turtles for easy viewing of those who popped out of their cars to walk the boardwalk.

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We were surprised to see quite a few large green iguanas.  This one was sunning itself just off the road in the Upper Florida Keys.  After a little research I learned that they are not native to Florida, but came to Florida as exotic pets. Now they are well established if I understand correctly.

Beach Entrance Blowing Rocks Preserve

A final shot of the entrance to the beach at Blowing Rocks Preserve, owned by the Nature Conservancy.  There was some type of raptor flying in the sky when I shot this picture.  What a beautiful place!  After that we went and splurged on big ice cream cones and watched some beginning surfers at Jupiter Beach as sunset approached.

Well, back in autumn in the Midwest…  Most of the vegetable plants are cleaned out of the garden and we are just eating collards, kale, brussel sprouts, and cabbage out of the garden until the snow flies….  Time to enjoy the cozy warmth of the house for a while, except for good walks with a jacket and gloves!

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