Starting vacation

The Monday before Thanksgiving I headed to the airport to pick up my sister who was coming to spend the week with us. I had a few minutes before she got off the plane so I snapped the above of this beautiful tree near her concourse. Even though it was a bit early, it still put me in the vacation spirit.

It was beautiful outside so after lunch we headed over to Clearwater beach. It’s always fun being a tourist in my own town when she comes to visit. We ended up at the Clearwater marina later that afternoon and watched the fishing boats come in (it was something we use to do with our parents when we were growing up and came here to visit our grandparents).

We decided to stay for sunset even though the clouds were moving in quickly. The sky looked like it was on fire as the sun went down. While we were there we thought we might as well have dinner on the beach too. A great way to start the week.

My Corner of the World

Backyard birds

A bluebird blending in at my neighbor’s bird bath.

This hawk keeps hanging around our yard. I know he can see my cockatiels through the window. I ran outside and chased him off the tree in front of the window but he’s not easily scared. He just flew one tree over to a pine tree. He stayed there for a while watching me take his picture.

As I was taking pictures of the hawk, this red bellied woodpecker landed right above him.

A palm warbler looking for bugs in my hanging plant.

A chickadee close to the window.

Pine warblers are regulars at the feeder.

I’m not sure what this is. Still trying to figure this out. I found it high up in my neighbor’s tree. I first thought a black throated green warbler with that black on his throat but a it wouldn’t have so much yellow on it’s chest. Any ideas?

Watching a squirrel taking a nap through the window.

All in early November.

From one side of Tampa bay to the other

It was a two waterfront kind of day in late October. I went for a walk along the waterfront on the bay in downtown St. Pete early in the morning and then went to the Dunedin marina on the gulf side for a sunset walk.

I got to the marina late in the day right as the moon was coming up.

Fun boat at the marina.

This little spot is one of my favorites to catch a sunset. I think it’s also a lot of other people’s spot as well because it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.

Maybe it’s because watching the sunset here makes you feel like you are on vacation. Until you drive home and have to cook dinner and do the dishes. Then back to work the next morning.

SkyWatch Friday

The beach at low tide

It’s not often we see whimbrels around here. The pair at Fort Desoto have been very accommodating when you can find them. They were right when you walk out on the beach the morning I found them in late October, feeding along the grass line before the sand.

It was extreme low tide and the buoys were exposed. The ruddy turnstones were picking tiny crabs off of them for breakfast.

This willet also found some breakfast.

The little tiny shorebirds are so cute creeping around in the muck. A snowy plover and a sanderling.

Skimmers cruising by.

Something spooked the birds way out on the sandbar.

There’s something magical about being out on the beach at low tide early in the morning. There aren’t many people out and you can walk forever and feel like you are out in the middle of the gulf.

Dead Australian pine tree graveyard on the beach. The stumps have all been smoothed down by the water and have been bleached out by the sun.

My Corner of the World

Old boats

Now that we live 20 minutes away from Tarpon Springs I have a feeling we’ll be heading up here much more often for meals. There’s so many places to get good Greek food. I noticed some different things on a recent trip up for lunch. I don’t ever remember seeing this sign. It really sums up this little town, north of Tampa.

Some of the sights you see walking down the sidewalk. I think that bike must have been submerged at one time.

All of the old boats and buildings are really the personality of the town, not the sponges. Those boats must have some great stories to tell. Most are still in use, either carrying the divers out to get the sponges (do they really still do that?) or taking tourists out to see the sights.

A mural on the wall heading out of town.

Our World Tuesday Graphic

A chance encounter

Walking around Chesnut Park a few months back, I saw this beautiful buck. He was busy grazing and barely glanced at me.

I then spotted several does nearby. One walked up to the buck and looked like she was going to kiss him? At first the buck kicked at her and she jumped back a little. But then she started grazing near him and kept getting closer.

He let her get pretty close. It was then I realized she had a big sore next to her eye.  It might have been a bot fly sore which is common in deer and squirrels in this park during the summer. He ignored her and she eventually walked off.

As she walked away I saw that she had a big booboo on her knee. She’s having a rough time. Hopefully she will heal.

I hope they are hiding today.

This young turkey greeted me as I drove into my neighborhood.

I’m thinking these are females. I passed them on my walk early one morning and took the above with my phone.

Where the turkeys hangout.

Walking back home after seeing the turkeys, I saw several deer running across the golf course. I quickly pulled my phone out of my pocket and shot the above.

Late one day in late October I was closing the blinds early since I was meeting Brett after work for dinner and we wouldn’t be home until dark and saw this lady staring at me from my yard.

I wonder if they were the same ones I saw on my walk a few days earlier. I watched them peck around for a few minutes and took the above through the window. “Sorry I was late for dinner, dear. I had to take a bunch of pictures of the turkeys in our yard.” was very strange to say.

Hope you are having a Happy Thanksgiving and are not eating Tina and Trudy (my neighborhood turkeys) for dinner.

SkyWatch Friday

Creeping things along the trail

What would you expect to find walking down Marsh Rabbit Run Trail at Circle B Bar Reserve? I rarely see them on this trail but there it was on my walk in late October. As I got closer and he disappeared in the bushes on the side I yelled “Don’t go in there. The alligators will get you” but he didn’t listen.

These guys are always hanging on the side of the trails.

So are these. Marsh Rabbit Run should really be called Creepy Spider Trail.

This is what you see after the trails open back up after being closed for the summer. The sides of the trails are full of spiders. Those tiny dots are spiders in between the trees. That’s why you don’t want to get to close to the sides of the trails (although most of them are pretty high up there are usually a few lower down). I think for the most part these are harmless although I always do a spider check if I feel like I walked through a web.

An eagle cruising far away across the marsh.

My favorite purple clowns were out feeding. These are juvenile purple gallinules that hadn’t gotten their purple feathers in. Soon they will look like the one below. They were eating the tips of the alligator flag plants.

Assuming this is one of the parents.

My Corner of the World

The moon was still up

There’s something magical about being at Circle B Bar Reserve when the sun is coming up. Besides it not being crowded or hot yet, the birds and critters are very active this early in the morning. It was my first time back since April and it felt good to be out on the trails. I usually don’t come during the summer because it is so hot and the main trails are closed due to alligators nesting on them.

Turning around, I could see the moon still up in the sky.

Of course I had to stop and take pictures of my favorite spot before heading down the trails. The last one is with my phone and you can see how big the marsh is on this trail.

The great blue heron was sitting right on the trail. I walked right under him and he didn’t move. I stopped and snapped the 2nd one with my phone so you can see how close he was.

After passing him I turned around to see if he had flown off. Nope, he’s still there watching the sun come up.

A few fly bys. A night heron and a pair of cormorants.

Some of the tiny birds, a common yellowthroat (who looks more like a masked bandit) and some blue gray gnatcatchers.

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