Oh wait, I left out the part about the snow being a goose. My first snow goose sighting happened in early January on a golf course near work. I read that this is only the 3rd recorded sighting of them in Pinellas county ever so they are pretty rare around here. I had heard that they were there a few days before I could get over there. I put my camera in the car and left for work way before sunrise (a fairly common thing anyway) and stopped by the golf course before work. They had been sighted on a small pond right next to a side road and there they were. They were pretty far away across the pond but I was able to snap the above before heading to work. After work I stopped again and they were gone. They could have been some where else on the course but it was almost dark. I have recently read on Ebird that some were sighted at Myakka River State Park so I’m wondering if those are my geese.
Cruising along Clearwater bay looking for dophins. Lots of big buildings going up around the beach including the new expanded Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the movie star dolphin from A Dolphin’s Tale who lost his tail and was given a prosthetic tail.
Anyone want a boat real cheap? An abandoned boat near the marina.
Cruising by some of the big old historic homes along the intercoastal waterway.
Out along Sand Key.
Two osprey taking a bath on a sand spit during low tide.
We stopped at a spoil island near Sand Key and looked for some shells. The ones that were still alive were put back in the water.
The last day my sisters were here visiting we took a 2 hour dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. After living here for almost 18 years it was the first time I had done that. It was fun being out on the water on such a beautiful morning. We finally did see some dolphins coming back to the marina but I didn’t take any pictures. The boat was fairly full and I hung back letting all of the tourists see them from the edge of the boat. It’s fun to see people’s reactions when they see one for the first time out in the wild. Living here we take things for granted. I saw 3 of them coming home from work recently while I was stuck in traffic on the bridge.
Just outside of the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, you can go on a tour to swim with in the river where the manatees hang out. There are many roped off areas that you cannot enter so the manatees can get away from the humans if they want to. There’s a dock inside the park that looks over this area and this is where I spent part of a recent Saturday morning watching the manatees swim by. A young girl was hanging out close to the dock and a manatee swam right up to her.
She wasn’t moving and the manatee came right up to her and bumped her in the face. He definitely wanted a scratch. She would scratch him for a few minutes and he would swim away but then come back again several times. It was pretty amazing to watch and I know she had to be so excited for this encounter.
At one point another manatee started swimming back and forth against her flipper like he was using it as a scratching post.
What a great memory for her.
There are manatee patrols out keeping an eye on things to make sure no one is chasing the manatees or the area doesn’t get too crowded. They are all volunteers and I would think “What a great job” but they probably have to deal with some unsavory people at time. Probably not everyone is as respectful as the girl was with the manatees. I’m not a big fan of people being allowed to swim in the same area with them but it was great even being out on the dock watching the girl and her manatee.
A lone ring billed gull braving the wind on the beach.
A few things on the beach including a large sea sponge in the first shot. The horseshoe crab and starfish were still alive and the tide was coming in fast so they would be gone soon.
A few people were out trying to surf but there really wasn’t any big waves. For a while I watched them sit on their boards. This guy tried once but didn’t stay up long. There just wasn’t enough wind in the gulf.
I came out to Honeymoon Island to walk on the nature trail in the woods but stopped by the beach before leaving. It was drizzling on and off so there were very few people there except for the ones bobbing up and down on their surfboards. Even on a cold windy day it was fun to be out on the beach.
It’s always fun to watch the orangutans playing at the zoo.
These ladies were not loving the paparazzi this morning.
More cute primates.
The elephants were busy eating.
I never see this guy moving around but he was the morning I was there in late December. Must have been the cool weather.
If you have the National Geographic channel, they have been doing a series at the zoo. Secrets of the Zoo:Tampa is now airing. It’s weird to recognize I place I go to so often on tv and it’s fun to see the behind the scenes there.
Heading out of St. Petersburg on the Cross Bay Ferry to Tampa.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge looked like a mirage from the middle of the bay.
A beautiful sunny day on the water in late November.
Coming back from Tampa in the late afternoon.
Waiting for Brett’s family to come over on Christmas day, I looked out the glass sliding door and saw what I thought was a snake in the muhly grass up against the screened-in porch. My phone was close by so I ran out and snapped the above. It was just a small harmless black racer. They are good to have around because they eat any rats (our neighborhood gets fruit rats due to all of the citrus trees). Since he looked like he wasn’t going anywhere I ran inside and got my camera.
A few closeups taken with my 300mm lens.
Taken through the screen.He eventually left that morning.
A few of the plants around the yard. The bottom one is growing in my neighbor’s yard. Not sure what type of fruit that is. I think it’s a papaya.
As I’m taking pictures of the snake, an osprey cruises by.
The wolf moon in January, taken in my driveway when I got home from work.