I had heard there was a pink bird near the Safety Harbor boardwalk so one late afternoon in September I hopped in the car and headed over. After a quick glance by the boardwalk and not seeing the bird I was looking for I started to check out what else was there. I found the above ibis with a young horseshoe crab in his beak. He didn’t swallow it whole but took it over to the exposed sand and started picking at the insides. I don’t think it was much of a meal.
The water was calm and I could see parts of downtown Tampa far across the bay.
There were a lot of birds out on the sandbar area. Mostly laughing gulls and pelicans but there were a few terns in the mix.
A belted kingfisher flew by.
This was not the pink bird I was looking for but the roseate spoonbill is still pretty. She was feeding with several ibis. The reflections were clear since the water was not moving.
Here is the pink bird I was looking for, an American flamingo. One of the wild ones that got blown up to the Tampa bay area during Hurricane Idalia. She was first seen here just past mid-September so she wasn’t one of the first ones to be seen in the area. She is banded and the only info we have been able to find is that she (or he) was banded in the Yucatan (eastern most part of Mexico). The locals that live in Safety Harbor have named her HarborRita (like a Margarita from the Harbor!). She’s been the most consistent one to see but she’s not there most of the day. She usually shows up early in the morning and is gone by 8:30am and then is sometimes there late in the day.
A few mornings later I stopped by to see if she was there. It was pretty cloudy and I thought that would help since the sun would not be behind her. She was not there this morning and you can barely see Tampa across the bay.
I did find some roseate spoonbills taking a bath.
I took a short walk around the marina and the sun was starting to come out. At this point the spoonbills were preening and starting to settle in for a nap.