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The Daily Bucket is a regular series from the Backyard Science group. Here we talk about Mother Nature in all her glory, especially the parts that live nearby. So let us know (as close as you are comfortable) where you are and what's going on around you. What's the weather like? Seen any interesting plants, bugs or critters? Are there birds at your feeders? Deer, foxes or peahens in your yard? Seen any cool rocks or geological features? Post your observations and notes here. And photos. We like lots of photos.  :)
Busch Gardens, in Tampa, Florida, is one of the largest amusement parks in Florida, with a huge exhibit of African animals.  But it also one of the largest open areas in Tampa, and not all of its animal residents were invited there. A number of native Floridians have decided to move in and make themselves at home. Here are a few I've seen:


The Plains of Africa area is a favorite place for native wildlife to gather. This is the Flamingo Pond, which attracts a number of shorebirds.


A group of Shoveller Ducks has made their home in the Flamingo Pond.


Some Moorhens share the pond with the Shovellers.


Redhead Duck. There were a gaggle of them hanging around.


Another pond contains Mallard Ducks, Red-Bellied Turtles, and Chicken Turtles. The turtles are native, and probably wandered in on their own.


Another popular spot is the Hippo tank, which is filled with cichlid fish from Africa. For the local waterbirds, it's like an all-you-can-eat fish bar. This Great Egret was hoping for a catch. . .


And this Anhinga also dropped by for lunch.


A Snowy Egret.


A Cattle Egret.


A flock of White Ibis begging food from the tourists.


Ibis helping themselves to the feeder trays.


A Laughing Gull perched next to one of the plastic owls intended to keep them away.


A network of wires intended to keep the Gulls out.  If you look close, you can see a Laughing Gull perched at the apex of the roof, waiting for the chance to swoop down and grab something.


A Crow on cleanup duty.


A pair of Doves at one of the ponds.



Little brown birds that scooped up bits and pieces from the sidewalks. I think they may be House Sparrows.

And now it's your turn--let us know what's going on in your neck of the woods.  :)

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