Sunday, January 31, 2016

Vegetable and herb garden update

We finally got a beautiful weekend, and I took advantage of both days in the garden.  My vegetable / herb garden needed some help; the constant rain has not been good for anything I planted this year.   I pulled out most of the tomato plants and tidy up a bit.
This section of the garden is not getting much sun this winter; all the grown trees in the back garden are hurting the vegetable plants.  When I started planting vegetables in this area, it would get full sun all morning, now only a couple of hours. 


















This week at the DragonFly Garden


I photographed another winter visitor to the garden, a Prairie Warbler.  This little guy spends winters in Florida, the Caribbean and summers in states from Georgia to New England. 
Male















Female 
















This owl nesting box was a Christmas gift from my niece.  We had a screech owl nest on a dead palm tree several years ago, so I’m hoping that it will happen again.  Nesting season starts in March.

These bananas are a total surprise, this plant was in a container for a long time and this summer planted it on the ground.

This coming weekend the garden is hosting my daughter’s baby shower, we expect around 30 guests.  I will be spending more time getting everything ready.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Birding in “The River of Grass” – Part II

Winter in the Everglades (The River of Grass) is a birder's paradise.  I consider myself an amateur birder, new to the sport.  The many visits to this park, turned me on to the sport.  This year the high water level is forcing many of the nesting birds to move to higher grounds and away from the trails, but there are always plenty of birds to photograph. 

Great Blue Heron

















Double-crested Cormorant
Black Skimmer
 Brown Pelican

Turkey Vulture and Black Vulture

Expecting Osprey parents 


 This is the reason we come birding in the Everglades.  There were thousands of American Coot birds swimming in this lagoon, the pictures does not do justice to the sight.



Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hiking “The River of Grass”- Part I

Yesterday I spent the day hiking the trails at the Everglades National Park (The River of Grass)  This is the time when locals like me go to the park for day trips. The park is a bit crowded, but it also has a tremendous amount of wintering birds and you can't beat the weather.

The Anhinga trail is the most popular trail in the park.,  The entire trail is boardwalk over the water, a great place to see alligators and birds.  This year the water level is high because of wet winter we are having and most of the wild life has gone somewhere else in the park looking for dry areas.



















 The only alligator I saw all day.  It wasn't moving, so I wonder if it was prop put there by the park service.  Is not good PR for tourist going away without seen an alligator,
















 The Gumbo Limbo trail, a jungle-like tropical  hardwood hammock.  This trails feels more like a rain forest that the wetlands of the Everglades.



















The Mahogany Hammock trail, a boardwalk on a subtropical tree island


















 Massive mahogany tree, not many left in the wild.

The Pa-hay-okee overlook, a observation tower with a great view of the river of grass.

















Part II coming up and is all about the birds.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Spectacular orchid

This week I had a nice surprise waiting for me as I made the morning rounds in the garden.  This orchid plant has been in the garden for several years and it bloomed for first time ever.  I purchased the single leaf plant in an orchid show several years ago and forgot what it looked like.  An added bonus is the nice aroma coming from the flowers.



This week at the DragonFly garden.

Yesterday I worked in the front garden. I did some pruning, replaced old bromeliads and pressure cleaned the patio bricks.  Saturday is the only time that I have to work in the garden, this year my plans are to do a small space every week.  FYI the sixties are here and gardening is not as easy, as it used to be, these days I need Sunday to recuperate. 
















The starburst trees are in full bloom, my garden is surrounded by three of these trees, one bellows to me and the others to my neighbor.

















I photographed two new birds in the birdfeeder this week.  I am not sure what they are, I consulted my Audubon app in my phone and I am between.  The Orange-crowned Warbler, common in this area during winter and the Olive Sparrow not usually found in these parts.  If anyone has any idea what they are let me know.

Postscript:  These little guys are female Painted bunting, thanks to all the readers for writing in.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

My New Year’s resolution

This year my New Year’s resolution is a simple one; spend more time in the outdoors.  Today I got up early, took my camera and binoculars and headed to the Matheson Hammock nature trail next to Fairchild gardens.  This trail is less than a mile; it has a great tree cover and an excellent variety of tropical plants.  It is consider a great place for bird watching, unfortunate this morning they were nowhere to be seen.  In the coming weeks I will explore other nature trails in the metro area and will write about it in my blog.
























This week at the DragonFly Garden

The next tree to put on a show this winter is the Starburst Tree.


Other flowers in the garden.

















The resident hummingbird keeps visiting the firebush tree.