Hanging around the fishing pier

The views from both the bay and gulf piers. In the bottom picture, they are putting in a new utility tower that sits off the fishing pier. It’s weird to see the men tied off on top of that platform. I guess they didn’t want to risk a big splash in the water. It’s actually much higher up than it looks from the pier. They will eventually add the top part and the birds will be able to nest and hang out on it since the old one broke off years ago.

Color on the dunes.

Birds around the pier.

Several dolphins were coming up insanely close to the pier. They would pop right up along the pier as I was looking down so I could only fit in half of their bodies. There were at least 2 with one of them having a zig zag pattern near the blow hole.

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A babe in the woods.

The welcoming committee at Chesnut Park. Driving into the entrance I saw these ladies and quickly snapped this with my phone since I hadn’t pulled my camera out yet.

Some of the ladies were already taking their early morning break, resting right along the parking lots.

They always have itches.

I leaned on my car and just watched them for a while, going about their day. It was a treat to see a stag. They usually only show up briefly for mating season here in this park. Most of the older males stay at preserves farther away from town so I rarely see them.

As I was walking down the back trail, I saw this lady cautiously peeking out from the bushes. I stepped back down the trail and saw that she had a baby behind her. They crossed the trail and headed back into the woods.

This was a trip in late August. When it’s crazy hot out and there are few birds around, it’s always fun to see the baby deer.

Across the bay

The view of downtown Tampa from Ballast Point Park. It wasn’t that early in the morning in the beginning of August when I stopped by. I had been out running errands and had my camera in the car so I stopped for a quick walk on the fishing pier. The park sits down in south Tampa and from the pier you can see across to downtown.

There wasn’t many birds around the pier but I caught this scruffy young grackle with a snack left over from some bait fish.

I caught this “fever’ of stingrays cruising by the pier.

The views from across the bay include the Tampa port, the electric plant over in Apollo Beach, the downtown skyline and some buildings going up on Bayshore Boulevard.

I caught this squirrel with a snack in the parking lot next to my car.

One last snap of Tampa through the trees (this was taken with my phone so you can see how far away I was).

SkyWatch Friday

Summer crowing

In early August I decided to make my annual summer early walk around Ybor City in Tampa to look for baby chicks. Chickens and roosters roam wild in the area and you can usually find a few cute babies in the summer. I like to go early before the tourists and lunch crowds descend on the little neighborhood just outside of downtown Tampa.

Centennial Park, across from the Ybor City Museum, is where most of the chickens hang out. Although, you can find them hanging around houses and front porches all around the area.

The roosters were crowing even though it wasn’t that early in the morning. They were busy running around, looking for bugs in the dirt or bathing in the dirt.

I converted one of my pictures of the rooster into a cartoon since they do look like cartoon characters.

The trolley was just starting to do it’s test run for the day. It was nice being out before 9am here, especially in the summer. Just me, a few joggers and the street cleaners (cleaning the areas around the bars and restaurants). And the chickens of course. I did find some baby chicks but I’ll save them for a later post.

My Corner of the World

Color in the neighborhood

With the scorching heat in August I was taking quick walks around the neighborhood early in the morning before work instead of after work. Plus it’s usually raining after work so at least I’ve gotten my walk in. Walking with just my phone, I can’t help but stop and take pictures of all of the blooming things along the sidewalks. I realized there are a lot of magnolia trees here and they all had bright red seed pods on them. I’m assuming the critters will eat them so I’ll have to keep an eye for them

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Pulling off in a ditch

I was heading home on a quiet road that was being widened when I saw the bright pink spots in the ditch. The ditch was full of water from the storms and was more like a river at this point. Of course, since I had my camera in the car, I turned around and came back to the spot, pulling of the road. It’s not often you see this many spoonbills hanging out together, even if it was noon and the sun was straight up.

The angle of the bright light was bad and it felt like being in a swamp but I was still determined to spend some time watching these beautiful spoonies going about their lunch. A tricolored heron walked up and the spoonies ignored him as he cruised right through their party.

The spoonies were busy sleeping, preening, feeding or yawning or really just chilling on this hot day.

I looked down and this fiddler crab was not happy I was there, shaking his claw at me as he was trying to hide in the muck.

Those crazy Florida skies in August

As August starts to roll around, the summer rains come in. Usually in the late afternoons (although some days the rain can start in the morning and continue all day).Most nights the sun would peek out right before it set which makes for amazing colors through the clouds. I am constantly running outside to check the skies and take pictures. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy. All of the above were taken from my yard with my phone.

I was running errands and caught this tiny lightning bolt walking back to my car. It’s better to run errands on a day like this in August. It’s cooler and less people are out. Although you have to be okay with getting wet if a super soaker happens that even an umbrella won’t help.

Catching a storm coming in at Davis Islands.

While out running errands, I stopped at a fishing pier in the northern part of Tampa bay. This lesser known pier is a great spot to catch the storms rolling in. There wasn’t any lightning from the clouds or else I would not have been out here on the pier. I headed back to my car long before the rain hit.

SkyWatch Friday

Almost grown duckies

I went out for a quick walk around the neighborhood pond early one morning before work in July. There wasn’t many ducks in the pond and I was thinking “Where did they go?” when I turned around and saw Blondie walking across the street with her babies and heading for the pond.

I was excited to see all 6 of her babies were doing well and were almost grown up. They hopped in the pond and swam around looking for food and preening.

I also saw another creme colored duck that was a little darker. I have to wonder if she’s one of Blondie’s babies from previous years.

My Corner of the World

Working from home

More storms were coming in mid-July. It had been raining for days and Thunderstorm Elsa was about to hit the Tampa bay area in the middle of the night. Earlier in the afternoon, it had been upgraded to a Hurricane 1 but we got lucky and the storm fell apart right before it hit and we only got rain. Two days before, the city was getting ready for the storms and moved all of the cranes working along the Howard Frankland bridge closer into the bay. They tied them all together to create one big crane raft. It was weird to see driving across the bridge. I crossed this bridge everyday for 18 years going to work but now I rarely do since I’ve been working from home.

With all of the rain we had, mushrooms were popping up everywhere around theĀ  neighborhood. The orange ones were in our mulch.

This guy was squirming his way across the driveway.

One morning before work I went for a quick walk in the neighborhood. I saw this muscovy duck sitting high up in a tree. I’ve seen them in trees before but not usually that high up. Then I saw the egg sitting right where the branches split off. Sadly it probably fell at some point.

Back at my house, we had 4 ducks hanging out in our backyard for several days. I think they were looking for fallen bird seed. The doves usually eat that pretty quick so there isn’t much left for the ducks.

While sitting at my desk in the bedroom I had been seeing this lizard walking across the screen almost every day for a week. She has that same short tail so I knew it was the same one. She kept me company for a while. Of course one day I had to stand up and snap a picture.

Then one day I saw this. I guess she found a boyfriend. After this I didn’t see her again. I miss that short tailed lizard.

At lunch I can usually catch squirrels chasing each other across our screened porch. While it’s cute, long term they can do damage to the screens so I try and chase them off but it doesn’t always work.

I’m still working from home. We were suppose to go back in the office, at least part time, in the middle of this month but it has been pushed out to early 2022. I don’t miss sitting in traffic, especially crossing that bridge for 45 minutes every night. If it was crawling, I would look for dolphins or count the osprey eating fish on the light posts (22 was the highest count several years ago). I don’t miss seeing my co-workers since we have video calls on Teams several times a day.

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Grabbing my camera

I was peeking out the bedroom window to see if it was raining and saw this green heron hop up on the dock with a fish. I ran and grabbed my camera and snapped these through the window. I knew if I walked outside he would get spooked and fly off.

A few days later I saw a butt sticking up and was able to catch this little blue heron eating a crab off the dock.It seems like there’s lots of good seafood in our channel. I should be charging them a la carte.

Of course when I see baby ducks heading down the channel I grab my camera and run outside. This family was in front of our dock in late July. The babies were trying to eat the mangrove leaf.

As I was sitting at my desk in the bedroom working, I was watching this slug cruising across the pane. I grabbed my camera and took this wih my macro lens. Cool to see the other side.