Are they red or knot?

It’s rare to see red knots in their bright red breeding colors here in central Florida in mid-May. About a third of them were already in breeding feathers. They usually stop over somewhere in Florida to rest during migration. They fly from the tip of Argentina to the Canadian arctic and then back again each year. They have one of the longest journeys of all migrating birds. We’re lucky to see them here at Fort Desoto although this was the first time I had caught them in several years.

Some were napping early in the morning and some were feeding along the shoreline

Although there wasn’t many people near the area, something kept spooking them and causing them to flush. It could have been an eagle that was cruising the area. These guys really need their rest so it’s important that kids or dogs don’t chase after them.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

Growing old quickly

The young wood storks have such interesting faces. They lose that hint of blue and pink in their beaks when they get older. It’s a shame they look so old so fast. There were a lot of young ones at the rookery in north Tampa back in early June. Many were practicing their wing flaps.

This young one was eating something gunky. That orange gunk doesn’t look like regurgitated fish.

The adults were busy going about their day. The one in the bottom picture looks like he has paint across his back. Maybe he brushed up against something. He seemed okay.

Tampa across the bay.

A fever of stingrays came by just as I walked out on the Safety Harbor fishing pier. They must call a group of stingrays a fever because you’re going to get a fever if you step on one. I’ve seen grown men cry from getting stuck with a barb from one after not doing the stingray shuffle. It’s supposed to be very painful. Luckily I don’t know that personally. Brett and I saw a man get stuck in the ankle at the beach a few years back. He could barely talk and was turning blue. It was a big barb. I helped his wife pack up their stuff and 2 sons and Brett helped him walk back to their car.  We told them to stop at the ranger station on the way out to get some relief. The rangers would have put his foot and ankle in a big bucket with the hottest water he could stand to help stop the pain along with pain relievers.

Standing at the end of the fishing pier, I could see Tampa. Zooming in I could make out the airport and the football stadium. It was hot and hazy in early June.

Not many people on the pier.

I found some osprey taking a break in the water in the shallow area and one flew right over my head.

People have started putting locks on one end of the boardwalk. What they may not know is that so many people were putting love locks on the bridge in Paris that part of the bridge collapsed. They have since removed all of the locks in Paris but now people are putting them everywhere. This is symbolic of “locking” in your love for someone. Eventually the rangers will take them down so the rail of the boardwalk doesn’t collapse and cause injury to someone. And those locks are going to rust quickly in the salt air.

A small mangrove growing along the water.

Grasshoppers are everywhere.

SkyWatch Friday

 

Baby birds growing up

I made it to the rookery in north Tampa in early June for my last trip of the nesting season. I wasn’t sure if there would still be any babies at this point or would they all be grown up by now. The first thing I saw at the edge of the pond was this tiny gator trying to hide in the vegetation. Even though he was small I still kept my eye on him while I was there.

This cattle egret looks like he has a boo boo on his face.  Hopefully it’s just superficial and heals. Maybe he got it in a fight with another egret?

The baby anhingas were already fully grown.

There were still a few little blue herons flirting so there may still be some babies later.

A baby night heron emerged from deep in the bushes.

These flowers were growing all over the rookery as well as along the woods next to street. The ants seemed to be enjoying them.

My Corner of the World

Backyard macro

My husband had just come home from work and his car was covered in love bugs in late May. They were also all over the plants along the driveway. Of course I ran inside and grabbed my camera and macro lens.

While I had my camera out, I walked around the yard snapping flowers and plants.

I found this tiny damselfly in the yard. It looked like it was praying.

The bark on one of our palm trees started to peel off and at first I though there were worms in the base of the tree but then I realized it was the roots of the tree coming out. Something common in small palm trees.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Blondie pays a visit

On June 1st, Blondie brought her 10 kids around in front of our dock. They were busy trying to pick bugs off the sea wall. I wondered if those lighter ones would also grow up to be light mallards but I didn’t get a chance to see.

Two weeks later she came back by but only had 3 babies with her. The three were scattered so I only got a shot of the one. They were all of the darker brown ones. It’s sad to think of all of those lost babies but there are a lot of hawks, owls and even an eagle hanging out in the neighborhood.

Funky town

I went for a walk on a late Sunday afternoon around Safety Harbor with just my phone. I was getting tired of walking around in my neighborhood and Safety Harbor is not too far away. It’s a cute little town that sits on the water in upper Tampa Bay and though it’s small in size, it has a huge personality. Although I’ve never been inside any of the buildings, the Art and Music Center looks like a lot of fun.

You can rent kayaks in front of the fishing pier and if you are lucky, will get to float around with the manatees. I almost always see them here at the pier.

This abandoned sailboat has been sitting here in front of the pier for years. Someone has been painting the outside but the inside had plants growing inside of it.

A great place to hang out and enjoy the view but don’t tell anyone else. We wouldn’t want it to get too crowded.

SkyWatch Friday

Lots of babies at the lake

I ran into cuteness overload at Lake Morton in mid-May with two baby swans.They were staying close to the parents. They grow up in a big fenced-in pen right on the lake so the babies have a better chance of surviving at the lake and then are let out once they are big enough to take care of themselves. Ducks, other swans, hawks, eagles, alligators and snakes are just a few of the dangers there.

Two juveniles black swans were about to be released.

Older baby wood ducks were taking a nap.

Safety in numbers. These muscovy babies were all huddled together.

Mom was watching over these babies.

My Corner of the World

The backyard in June

There’s a duck couple that’s been spending afternoons sleeping under our tree in the backyard. Sometimes I peek out the bedroom window to check on them but they are very skittish. They can see me barely move the blinds.

A few of the birds that have been visiting the bird feeder.

I looked out the window and saw something moving in the channel. I grabbed my camera and ran out to the dock to catch 2 manatees rolling around at the end of the channel. After I snapped the above they started heading out to the bay.

Some of the critters in the yard including this juvenile black racer that was climbing up the wall next to the front door.

A faint rainbow in the backyard. It’s the beginning of rainbow season with the summer rains starting in June.

An osprey on my neighbor’s sailboat mast just after the rain.

The sun was trying to peek out.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

 

More purple clowns

It’s not unusual to see purple gallinules in the marsh at the start of the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve. They usually feed off the alligator flag plants there.

But now they were right on the trails. After being closed for 2 months, I guess they got use to be on the trails and feeding off the plants there. I passed several of them as I walked down Marsh Rabbit Run Trail and they didn’t even bother stopping or acting scared and running. They just kept eating while I walked past them. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Maybe as the park got more crowded later in the day they went into hiding but early in the morning they were out.