Thankful and Heartbroken

This is a meme that is floating around social media from people in the Tampa Bay area. Maybe it’s a way of saying we have survivor guilt? For days Hurricane Ian was heading right to us and at the last minute it turned and made a direct hit south of us (The same thing happened in 2004 with Hurricane Charley). Total devastation from Fort Myers to Naples. Then massive flooding across central Florida. It was gut wrenching to watch the news. Most of St. Pete lost power but we only had yard debris so we were really lucky.

Sunset on the night of the hurricane, across the street from us.

We had super low  tide the day after as well as the day of. These were taken on Thursday, the day Ian was forecasted to hit Tampa. Later that night the water came back with a surge but nothing like it was south of us.

Early Friday morning I went for a walk at the Dunedin causeway and the tide was still crazy low.

You could see where seagrass had been churned up and left in the low tide.

This is a common sight all over the bay, stranded boats. Many had the anchor come up and floated towards sea walls and bridges. Some got stranded at low tide. (Although these are nothing like the pictures from Fort Myers and south with boats on top of buildings and in peoples homes.).

Here is a video from CNN that shows the aftermath of Ian.

Red Cross Donation site.

SkyWatch Friday

Road trip to central Florida

Bok Tower Gardens was bursting with color this summer.

I struggled to get a decent shot of the hummingbird. The light was bad but I managed to get the above. It was hot and muggy so it makes it harder to wait to get the hummer in those fleeting seconds of feeding.

It’s hard to ignore the cute cottontail bunnies

The bell tower

After leaving the gardens, I headed to a nearby fish camp to see if I could find any birds. It was quiet the morning I was there but I’m sure on the weekends it’s busy.

I did find two sandhill cranes feeding along the drive in.

Looking out over the lake, it was such a beautiful calm scene.  It’s these small hidden places that make Florida special.

Inspire Me Monday

A busy fawn season

These must be the same deer that are being feed  I was walking on the back trail at Chesnut Park and several deer walked right up to me  I took the above with my phone.

I didn’t find the twins again but there were 2 Moms with one baby each.

Mom taking care of the baby.

I walked down one of the side trails and found this big guy resting.

I’m not sure if this was a Mom and grown baby or siblings but they were so cute preening each other.

Not a deer but a female redstart. I guess fall migration had started with a small trickle of birds coming through.

Hurricane Ian

It’s Tuesday morning and Hurricane Ian is on it’s way to pay us a visit. This morning the track is showing a direct hit with a category 3. Our house is just under 20 minutes from the water so we were not too worried about storm surge but we were worried about flooding from a lot of rain and wind damage. Everything is ready to go and now we wait until Thursday morning when it’s due to hit. I decided to get out of the house for a walk to calm my nerves. It was already dark and dreary at the Dunedin marina but it had cooled off. The big boats were still there but most of the little boats that can go on a trailer were gone.

People live on both of these sailboats and their dingys were still there. I hope they get into town by Wednesday morning.

These little boats were still there but I’m sure someone was coming to haul them away or tie them down.

The water was super calm and I could several dolphins swimming out in the water.

I was able to catch this quick video of a dolphin feeding along the rocks right in front of me. I don’t usually see them this close to the marina.

Update – it’s now after lunch on Wednesday and Ian is hitting near the Fort Myers area, much farther south of us. We are still due to get heavy rain and flooding later tonight as the other side of the Hurricane skirts past us.  We are saying prayers for those south of us. They will need a lot of help in the coming days.

SkyWatch Friday

Eagles, owls and deer, Oh my.

 

My first eagle sighting of the season. He was hanging out near the restrooms at Chesnut Park. He didn’t stay long, taking off towards the lake. It was mid-August. I didn’t realize they come back that early.

I had heard there was an owl sitting at the end of the boardwalk so I quickly walked down to the end thinking he would probably be gone by then or I wouldn’t be able to find him. There he was, sitting almost eye level. He sat there for a while as I snapped a ton of pictures. He was checking out critters on the ground and I was hoping he would swoop down and catch something but that didn’t happen.

I was walking on the back boardwalk and came across a Mom and her baby. As the Mom was feeding the baby was walking around and walked over to it’s sibling.

I had found the twins. It was interesting to see them both licking each other.

After walking around for a while I came back to the back boardwalk and one of the babies was still sitting there with the sun coming through the swamp. The other twin and Mom were feeding behind some trees.

Little critters buzzing around

It was early August when I visited Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales. I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of birds there since fall migration hadn’t started yet but I was ready for a road trip. There were a lot of other flying critters though so I had a fun morning torturing myself trying to get pictures of little things buzzing around.

I found this spiny orb weaver with a bee in his web.

Inspire Me Monday

The backyard in early August

On the back door after a storm. I couldn’t help but get out my macro lens and shoot this through the door. I’m not sure what it is but it was cool looking.

Every few days I see an armadillo in the backyard.

I was driving into the neighborhood right before dark and I saw the turkeys out on the golf course. I had my camera in the car so I pulled over to get a few shots. After a couple of shots they all started to fly over my car and up into the trees. I would have never thought of turkeys in trees but apparently they sleep in them. It makes sense since it can keep them away from the coyotes.

I had to take a few shots of the squirrels flirting in the backyard.

A few days after seeing the turkeys in the tree, I saw them crossing the fairway in the backyard. I snapped the above through the window before running outside.

I walked out on the golf course since there wasn’t anyone coming through late that day. I had my 400mm lens so I was still pretty far away but they kept their eye on me. This must be the same family with one adult and 6 babies. I think the adult might be the one with the gray head, always keeping her head up and an eye on the others.

Sunset walk

A sunset walk on the Dunedin causeway in early August.

It had been raining most nights so it was nice to see the sun for a while (although the rain is usually good in the summer since it cools down the heat). The causeway was packed for a Wednesday night so I was trying to get some shots in without so many people. Here it almost looks like I had the place to myself but that wasn’t the case.

Almost the end.

Turning around, the rain was coming from the mainland quickly but the sun cast a glow on the clouds.

One last look before heading home.

SkyWatch Friday

All grown up

I stopped by Lake Morton in Lakeland in early August on my way back from Bok Tower Gardens. I wasn’t expecting to see much since it was August and hot. Right away I found some of the young swans that were born earlier in the spring.

They were busy preening and ignored me.

There were several adult gray swans (I’ve heard they are kids of the mute and black swans).

There were also some juvenile wood ducks swimming close by.

Bathing beauties!