Michael Rowshan saw a few Sandhill Cranes in the Wesley Chapel area, and just had to snap a photo. Sandhill Cranes are similar in plumage, but they vary in size. ‘Lesser’ Sandhill Cranes breed in the Arctic and are the smallest; the largest form — ‘Greater” Sandhill Crane — breeds in the northern U.S. The non-migratory ‘Florida’ Sandhill Crane and a form that breeds in central Canada are intermediate in size.
Lillian Cucuzza, of Land O’ Lakes, was sitting with her camera in her backyard, waiting for a painted bunting to return to her feeder. She heard multiple high-pitched, but faint, whistles. High up in the Cypress trees out in the preserve east of her property, Cucuzza spotted an ‘earful’ (or flock, or ‘museum’) of Cedar Waxwings sitting in the top of a tree. The sun came out from behind a cloud and lit the birds up, like gold. Cucuzza said we live in an incredible area for the migration of “a lot of really cool birds.”
Champ is a 3 ½-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier. He is 75 pounds and the biggest baby you’ll ever meet. Champ loves his family, is very goofy and truly a gentle giant. In fact, he is so gentle, his best friend is the family’s 4-year-old orange tabby cat. Both were rescued as babies and have grown up together. They are two unusual best friends who enjoy staring out the window at birds, cuddling on the couch and even going on walks together. Anthony and Sarah Lella, of Land O’ Lakes, love their pets and could not imagine a life without them.
Dave Pagni, of Seven Oaks in Wesley Chapel, was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this barred owl, a ‘resident’ at Lettuce Lake Park, off Fletcher Avenue in Tampa. The owl, also known as the hoot owl, roosts quietly in forest trees during the day. It seeks prey by watching from a perch, and also by flying low through forests.
Hero is a 5-year-old Shih Tzu/Havanese terrier mix, adopted from the Hillsborough County shelter. He is named after Big Hero 6, a Disney animated film. Upon adoption, Hero was very sick with a case of pneumonia, and it was thought he would not survive. But, with time, love and medication, he pulled through and has been such a joy. Hero is very smart and house-trained (a bonus), great with children and genuinely loves everyone. Hero lives with his family, Jennifer Cazares and her son, Greyland (in photo), in Carrollwood.
Finn is a 1-year-old Belgian Malinois, and was rescued at 4 months old. He was left tied up at an old apartment complex, and Adelyn Adams of Land O’ Lakes was able to give him a forever home. Finn is the best friend anyone could ask for. He is obsessed with his green ball, and loves to play fetch all of the time. Finn is extremely loyal and very protective.
Mike Ray, of Lutz, came upon this snapping turtle, approximately 30 inches long, crossing Henley Road. Snapping turtles live only in fresh or brackish water. They prefer water with muddy bottoms and lots of vegetation, so that they can hide more easily. Snapping turtles spend almost all their time in water, but do go on land to lay eggs in sandy soil.
Reggie Robinson caught these turkeys ‘gobbling’ along on State Road 54 near Asturia, just west of the Suncoast Parkway. These nine are just a handful of the more than 7 million wild turkeys spread throughout North America (according to TheSpruce.com).