North Shore Park

Far out in the bay, it was rush hour traffic on a Saturday morning. Lots of boat activity on this beautiful morning.

I found another great blue heron/ great egret hybrid at the small beach near downtown St. Pete.

After a quick walk around North Shore park, I was heading back to my car and saw the above flying into the trees in the parking lot.

All of a sudden, the tree was full of nanday parakeets. Even at the end of summer, they were in pairs and flirting. Maybe they are like humans and flirt all year round instead of just nesting season. Although due to the warm weather most of the year here, nesting season could still be going on. This couple was very affectionate.

The next tree over had monk parakeets in them. This one kept chewing on a branch.

Then his mate flew in and they started preening each other.

There were so many parakeets here on this particular morning that the sound was deafening. The wild parakeets in the area have really taken over. They are very comical to watch and are not skittish at all.

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Baby boom at the lake

On my walk around Crescent Lake park in mid-August, I saw the above muscovy duck with babies. One was all yellow. It’s not uncommon for them to have all yellow ducks but usually as they grow up they start to get a lot of brown feathers in.  This one was old enough to have brown feathers. He was really pretty.

The babies were resting in the grass.

Later on the other side of the lake I saw a family all sleeping huddled together under a tree. They were close to the sidewalk but the foot traffic was not disturbing them.

Another section of the lake had babies trying to cross the road. It was funny to watch them jump off the curb one by one. That seemed like such a big jump to them.

Of course they got right in the middle of the street and the babies plopped down on the road. Someone walked over and shooed them to the sidewalk since cars tend to go fast around this curve.

They all made it over to the sidewalk. Even in late summer, it’s a baby boom at the lake.

A beautiful morning out

Bees and berries at Crescent Lake Park.

I found the otter again but this time he was very elusive. I got a quick peek and then he disappeared for good.

This gull should have been over at the beach. Somehow he managed to snag a small fish at the lake.

I was standing under some trees looking for the otter and heard some noise over my head. I looked up and found two juvenile anhingas looking down at me. They must be late babies. There was a tiny nest that they had outgrown but they were still too young to fly yet. Mom was sitting high up in the next tree.

After leaving Crescent Lake Park, I made the quick drive over to North Shore beach near downtown St. Pete. Someone had recently painted the small concrete pier.

Another beautiful day at the bay.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sister Debbie!

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A quick walk around Lake Morton

I found some very young mute swans preening at Lake Morton at the end of July. These young adults were born early this year and were acting like they own the place.

Juvenile male wood ducks. Just starting to get their male colors in.

I also found some female wood ducks.

This cute little limpkin family stole my heart. Both babies were staying close to Mom.

A hot morning at Bok Tower Gardens

I love the flowers at Bok Tower Gardens. For some reason they look so pretty here.

I didn’t see many birds on this walk. Above is a juvenile red bellied woodpecker and close by was a parent. The little brown one is a young fuzzy Carolina wren hiding in a palm tree.

The sun coming through the lizard’s throat.

There were several eastern tiger swallowtails flying around.

The view of the top of the carillon tower from the vegetable garden.

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Lots of little birdies on the beach

There were a few marbled godwits at Fort Desoto Park.

Least terns

I think this is a juvenile sandpiper.

Lots of plovers running around including the Wilson’s plover in the first picture and piping plovers with orange legs.

Sleeping sanderlings

Soon the skimmers will be gone. They are rare to see in the winter at the park.

Tiny pink dots

I had heard there were spoonbills at Fort Desoto but I wasn’t expecting to find them. You can find one or two occasionally at the park but it’s rare to see a flock of them. As I walked out on north beach and headed out to Outback Key, I could see some tiny pink dots out on the spit.

I got about halfway to the spit area and took the above with my 400mm lens. Looks like they were sleeping so maybe they would still be there when I got out that far.

By the time I walked out there, stopping along the way to take pictures of shorebirds and chat with some photography friends, they were awake and moving around. People were starting to walk out ahead of me and jet skis were landing on the back side of the spit so the birds were awake. There were many pale young ones in the group and it was fun to watch them stretching and going to the water for a drink. All of the above were taken with my 400mm lens and cropped up so I was still pretty far out.

A while later they all flew off over to the other side of the park where no one could get to them to spend the afternoon.

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A snowy egret convention?

If you walk down the fishing pier at Fort Desoto, you may see all of these snowy egrets lined up on the railings. Is there an egret convention going on?  No, they are waiting for a boat to come close to the pier to pull up bait fish. They must have seen the boat below coming close to the pier and were hoping for a handout.

A few of the egrets immediately fly down and land on the motor or the boat. They squabble over the best spot on the boat (don’t humans do that too?). They wait for the guys on the boat to haul up a net full of bait fish and then hope to get any of the fish that fall out of the net onto the boat.

Some of them are brave enough to steal some out of the bait bucket if they guys aren’t watching closely. This one above got a free handout.

A common sight on boats around the fishing pier. They usually fly off once the boat takes off.

Busy beach in August.

The royal terns were having a feeding frenzy at Fort Desoto in early August. The parents were busy trying to keep the juvenile ones fed.

I found another Harry the hybrid (great blue heron and great egret) at the north beach lagoon. I had heard there were two hybrids at the park but I had only seen one at the fishing pier. This one has more beige and grey than the one at the pier which is more white.

Birds cruising by at the north spit. You can see the boats far off at the tip of the spit already anchoring to party for the day.

Flowers near the parking lot.

Lots of activity going on around the park. It was going to be a busy afternoon.

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