Happy 4th of July!

Brett and I were leaving the house to go out for a drive on Memorial Day. We were heading to the Bay Pines Veterans National Cemetery where my parents are buried for a walk and then to pick up lunch to bring home. Driving out the back way and past some apartments we saw a juvenile eagle sitting on utility box. Of course I yelled for Brett to stop. I had my camera in the car so he pulled over and I was able to get a few shots before the eagle took off. It’s not every day that you have an eagle pooping in your neighborhood.

He circled around over my head and then took off over the tree.

These babies were swimming around below him so he must have been hoping to get one but ended up leaving empty handed. Unless he came back later. There are a lot less babies in this family now.

Every Memorial Day Boy Scout troops put flags on the graves at the cemetery. It’s really impressive (but sad) to drive through and see all of the flags.

The dolphin show is back open.

I wouldn’t want to be walking around down there right now with that big stingray cruising around. It’s time to do the stingray shuffle in the water so they scoot away and you don’t step on them. Although it’s really the little ones you have to worry about because it’s hard to see those little guys half buried in the sand.

There were lots of dolphins swimming around the fishing pier in early May. It’s hard to catch a fish here when the dolphins are chasing after your catch. They usually steal it before the fishermen have had time to reel the fish in.

From the bay pier you can see dog beach. Zooming in, I could see the dogs running in the water. The dogs were probably happy to be back out at the beach again after the park being closed for 8 weeks.

SkyWatch Friday

Lots of birds at the rookery.

There’s something comical about baby anhingas. They were yelling for Mom to feed them and I could hear them from far across the pond.

A great egret waiting for her offspring to arrive.

A little blue heron was still flirting, trying to attract a mate.

Snowy egrets showing off.

Crazy antics at the bird rookery in north Tampa in May.

My Corner of the World

 

A face only a mother could love

Woods storks are listed as an uncommon bird on the All About Birds page and are listed as federally threatened. They are fairly common here in the Tampa bay area. I see them pretty regularly at most of the parks that I visit.  There is a rookery in Tampa that has a large population of them nesting. I love going to see them in the late spring and watch them raising their babies. The babies are just as homely as the parents. These were taken in late April.

Many of the storks were still flirting and building nests,

 

The beach has reopened.

On the trail at Fort Desoto. A butterfly and some kind of fruit that I have never noticed before. The red really stuck out in all of the green right on the trail.

A snowy egret trying to steal a snack from a fisherman.

Some of the birds near the fountain includes a loggerhead shrike, a female summer tanager and an ibis.

Dolphins were swimming around the pier.

Looking across the lagoon, lots of different shorebirds. The  middle shot has black skimmers in the front and the bottom picture shows red knots.

It was the first week in May and the park had just recently opened. I got there early and was leaving before 10am and shot this from the pier. The beach was filling up fast. Time for me to head home.

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A new bird at the turtle pond.

I stopped by my new favorite turtle pond at McGough Nature Park in early May.  I went there looking for birds but had to stop and watch the turtles napping for a few minutes.

I saw this hummingbird go by in a flash and landed on a branch right in front of me on the trail. She only stayed for a few seconds and then took off.

This black and white warbler was looking for bugs.

A redstart in the bushes.

A red eyed vireo high up in the tree.

My first yellow throated vireo. I watched him for a while as he picked up worms and caterpillars in the tree. This beautiful bird was having a feast. Fattening up before he heads north for the summer.  I found him near the closed playground.

My Corner of the World

Parks close to home

A quick early walk at Chesnut Park in early May. The park started to get crowded pretty quickly so I left and headed out to another park close by.

Possum Branch Preserve was void of people but not many birds there either. At least it was a nice walk outside.

A few birds there included a juvenile night heron and a red bellied woodpecker.

I caught this common snapping turtle cruising down the back trail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a snapper out in the wild. This one was pretty small.

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Quackers in my neighborhood.

Beautiful Blondie came by with her babies in early May. Swimming right by our dock.

A mallard family in one of our neighborhood ponds. They came running up to me to see if I had something to give them. I didn’t but someone has been feeding them.

A muscovy mom with her 8 babies in another pond. She started with 13. I’ve been keeping track of her on my walks and she’s now down to 5 babies but they are pretty big so they just might make it.

Walking along the water.

I found a spot close to home that I could get out and go for a walk after work. There were a few parking spots close by and on a weekday night there were spots open. It was already hot in early May and that sun was bright at 6pm. I found some ruddy turnstones hanging out in the rocks next to the sidewalk.

Walking along the causeway, looking first towards Tampa and then towards Clearwater.

From the spot I stopped to turn around, you can barely see the Tampa skyline.

This was a good spot for a couple of weeks when there wasn’t many other places to go or the ones that were open were packed with people. Only a few people on bikes whizzing by. And a few dolphins swimming by.

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