Out and about one afternoon

I headed out to Fort Desoto late in the afternoon in early November. There wasn’t a lot of birds around later in the day but it was a beautiful afternoon.

Way out in the bay,

The sun was started to get lower at my favorite spot.

I drove over to the gulf pier before leaving.

Looking back at the old smoke stack.

Silhouettes of birds flying near the pier.

The sun still had a ways to go and I had to get home so I quickly snapped the above.

SkyWatch Friday

Things at the marina

Trying to stay off my legs (due to hip bursitis) but not wanting to stay at home, I headed out for the Dunedin marina and fishing pier early one morning in mid-November. I spent the morning just hanging out, sitting on benches watching the activity around the marina. From the shots above, it was pretty quiet that morning.

I did see a manatee cruising around the boats in the marina.

This anhinga was having fish for breakfast.

Some of the birds also hanging around the marina, a green heron and lots of pelicans.

A spotted sandpiper was digging around the exposed muck at the boat ramp.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Pelicans, wood ducks and swans (Oh my!).

Lake Morton in Lakeland is a good spot to find white pelicans in the winter besides Fort Desoto. There are a lot fewer at Lake Morton but you can usually get closer. They hang out on the brick retaining walls around the lake. Most of the time they are sleeping when I’m there but on a recent trip they were moving around a little. I think two of them were fighting over space on the floating pole.

A coot swimming by.

Wood ducks were napping up in the cypress trees and some were swimming around the lake.

There’s always turtles sitting on the cypress knees.

The city of Lakeland were selling swans in late October. When I was there they were in holding pens on the lake. I felt bad that they were leaving their home but there have been banner crops of babies over the last few years and the lake is over-run with swans. Swans were getting hit by cars and fighting with each other. Hopefully they’ll go to homes that have more room for them. If I had a small pond on my property I would buy a pair. The money goes back into the fund to feed the swans at this lake.

Just catching sunrise.

I use to set my alarm to get up early on the weekends but lately my internal alarm has been going off early and I got out of bed one Saturday morning in November and headed to Circle B Bar Reserve. Although, not that early since the sun was just peaking out as I hit the trails. It’s the perfect time to be there, quiet and not many people there yet. You can hear the birds starting to talk and the whistling ducks were starting to fly back and forth.

One of my favorite views in the morning.

There wasn’t a lot of different birds out. The usuals were there (moorhens, whistlers, herons, egrets, cormorants) but I didn’t see many uncommon birds. The above are fairly common in the winter (female common yellowthroat, house wren and the purple gallinules) but sometimes a little bit harder to find.

Some of the smaller critters along the trail.

The eagle’s nest is pretty far away but I could still see both eagles on the nest. Maybe she’s looking at her eggs in the nest?  Might have been a little early but soon.

SkyWatch Friday

A beautiful sight.

The first time I went out to find the rare whooping cranes last winter they were so far away they looked like tiny white dots across a cow pasture. I stopped by again while I was over in the area and this time they were closer to the fence (although still pretty far out, these were all with my 400mm lens and cropped). They are the tallest bird in north America and one of the rarest birds. We have a couple that hide out in central Florida during the winter. They were hanging out with the cows this morning.

It was a warm morning and the cows were sitting under the shade just chilling out.

One of the cranes started slowly walking across the pasture towards a pond near the road. The other crane just stood there for a while.

Finally he took off across the field and joined the other one. I was so excited as he started to fly by, not caring that I was shooting straight into the sun. He landed and the couple started walking towards the orange trees and farther away. It was great to see them moving around as I stood by my car on the dirt road.

My Corner of the World

Little hummers and other things

My second ever rufous hummingbird sighting. This one and the one before were both at Bok Tower Gardens. Rufous hummingbirds are fairly rare around this area. This is only the 2nd time of hearing about one and I was happy to have seen it even briefly. I caught him high up on a tree taking a break. When he went to feed, he would go deep in the bushes or the other side making it impossible to get feeding shots. At one point I could barely see him feeding deep in the firebush.

Ruby throated hummingbirds are pretty common. I caught this male feeding near the carillon tower.

He buzzed off and disappeared. I stood under a pine tree for a long time waiting for him to come back. At one point I looked up and he was sitting right over my head.

Birds with yellow. The top one is an easy one, a yellow throated warbler. The 2nd I think is a red eyed vireo with a bug. The last is a a female common yellowthroat.

An ovenbird and blue gray gnatcatcher.

A usual sight, a harmless black racer crosses the sidewalk in front of me.

A bee house in the garden. Used by mason or other solitary bees, they lay their eggs in the holes.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Not that early for sunrise

Sunrise at East Beach at Fort Desoto. No, I wasn’t up that early. This was in late October before the time changed so it was right before 7:30. There was a small cloud right above the bridge that kept the sun from being clear but it was still a great sky.

As I stood there watching the sun come up, I could see the frigatebirds starting to circle high up in the sky. They were coming from across the bay and then ended up right over my head.

Once the sun was up it was time to go hang out with the white pelicans.

SkyWatch Friday

Shorebirds at the beach

These birds are not social distancing even outside. There were so many crammed into this tiny spit at low tide. Mostly terns and gulls in the front but all of the brown in the far back were red knots.

There were lots of different shorebirds early in November at Fort Desoto. Several times something spooked them and most of them took off.

I turned around and saw these marbled godwits fighting.

Willets and dowitchers on the shoreline on Outback Key.

A great egret came in for a landing right in front of me.

One of my favorite spots at the north beach.

A storm was moving in so it was time to go home.

My Corner of the World

A drive along the lake

Everyone was eating breakfast at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive in late October.

A great blue heron off in the distance.

A young purple gallinule showing off his big feet.

A kingfisher sitting still. I took this from the car since I knew the second I opened that door he would be gone.

A tricolored heron guarding the sign.

A few of the smaller gators along the drive. I never seem to see the really big ones there.

More along the drive. I was having hip pain in late October so I decided to head over to the wildlife drive in Apopka and stay off me feet for a while. I ended up with hip bursitis which has slowed me down for a while in early November. It was taking forever to heal since I can’t seem to sit still very long.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Deer in the woods

I was cutting through the woods at Chesnut Park to get to the big lake and caught movement off to the side. I stopped and saw a big family of deer feeding along the small pond. They checked me out for a few seconds but then kept eating. I stood for a few minutes just watching them, glad no one else was around to spook them for the little time I was trying to take some pictures.

I caught this phoebe in the bushes with a bug in his beak.

Another phoebe out in the open.

Little flying critters. I don’t see red ones often.

I think I woke this guy up. A harmless black racer was sleeping near the trail.

It was starting to look like fall in late November. You could see a glimpse of red.