Hanging around the fishing pier

The views from both the bay and gulf piers. In the bottom picture, they are putting in a new utility tower that sits off the fishing pier. It’s weird to see the men tied off on top of that platform. I guess they didn’t want to risk a big splash in the water. It’s actually much higher up than it looks from the pier. They will eventually add the top part and the birds will be able to nest and hang out on it since the old one broke off years ago.

Color on the dunes.

Birds around the pier.

Several dolphins were coming up insanely close to the pier. They would pop right up along the pier as I was looking down so I could only fit in half of their bodies. There were at least 2 with one of them having a zig zag pattern near the blow hole.

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Across the bay

The view of downtown Tampa from Ballast Point Park. It wasn’t that early in the morning in the beginning of August when I stopped by. I had been out running errands and had my camera in the car so I stopped for a quick walk on the fishing pier. The park sits down in south Tampa and from the pier you can see across to downtown.

There wasn’t many birds around the pier but I caught this scruffy young grackle with a snack left over from some bait fish.

I caught this “fever’ of stingrays cruising by the pier.

The views from across the bay include the Tampa port, the electric plant over in Apollo Beach, the downtown skyline and some buildings going up on Bayshore Boulevard.

I caught this squirrel with a snack in the parking lot next to my car.

One last snap of Tampa through the trees (this was taken with my phone so you can see how far away I was).

SkyWatch Friday

Pulling off in a ditch

I was heading home on a quiet road that was being widened when I saw the bright pink spots in the ditch. The ditch was full of water from the storms and was more like a river at this point. Of course, since I had my camera in the car, I turned around and came back to the spot, pulling of the road. It’s not often you see this many spoonbills hanging out together, even if it was noon and the sun was straight up.

The angle of the bright light was bad and it felt like being in a swamp but I was still determined to spend some time watching these beautiful spoonies going about their lunch. A tricolored heron walked up and the spoonies ignored him as he cruised right through their party.

The spoonies were busy sleeping, preening, feeding or yawning or really just chilling on this hot day.

I looked down and this fiddler crab was not happy I was there, shaking his claw at me as he was trying to hide in the muck.

Almost grown duckies

I went out for a quick walk around the neighborhood pond early one morning before work in July. There wasn’t many ducks in the pond and I was thinking “Where did they go?” when I turned around and saw Blondie walking across the street with her babies and heading for the pond.

I was excited to see all 6 of her babies were doing well and were almost grown up. They hopped in the pond and swam around looking for food and preening.

I also saw another creme colored duck that was a little darker. I have to wonder if she’s one of Blondie’s babies from previous years.

My Corner of the World

Working from home

More storms were coming in mid-July. It had been raining for days and Thunderstorm Elsa was about to hit the Tampa bay area in the middle of the night. Earlier in the afternoon, it had been upgraded to a Hurricane 1 but we got lucky and the storm fell apart right before it hit and we only got rain. Two days before, the city was getting ready for the storms and moved all of the cranes working along the Howard Frankland bridge closer into the bay. They tied them all together to create one big crane raft. It was weird to see driving across the bridge. I crossed this bridge everyday for 18 years going to work but now I rarely do since I’ve been working from home.

With all of the rain we had, mushrooms were popping up everywhere around the  neighborhood. The orange ones were in our mulch.

This guy was squirming his way across the driveway.

One morning before work I went for a quick walk in the neighborhood. I saw this muscovy duck sitting high up in a tree. I’ve seen them in trees before but not usually that high up. Then I saw the egg sitting right where the branches split off. Sadly it probably fell at some point.

Back at my house, we had 4 ducks hanging out in our backyard for several days. I think they were looking for fallen bird seed. The doves usually eat that pretty quick so there isn’t much left for the ducks.

While sitting at my desk in the bedroom I had been seeing this lizard walking across the screen almost every day for a week. She has that same short tail so I knew it was the same one. She kept me company for a while. Of course one day I had to stand up and snap a picture.

Then one day I saw this. I guess she found a boyfriend. After this I didn’t see her again. I miss that short tailed lizard.

At lunch I can usually catch squirrels chasing each other across our screened porch. While it’s cute, long term they can do damage to the screens so I try and chase them off but it doesn’t always work.

I’m still working from home. We were suppose to go back in the office, at least part time, in the middle of this month but it has been pushed out to early 2022. I don’t miss sitting in traffic, especially crossing that bridge for 45 minutes every night. If it was crawling, I would look for dolphins or count the osprey eating fish on the light posts (22 was the highest count several years ago). I don’t miss seeing my co-workers since we have video calls on Teams several times a day.

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Grabbing my camera

I was peeking out the bedroom window to see if it was raining and saw this green heron hop up on the dock with a fish. I ran and grabbed my camera and snapped these through the window. I knew if I walked outside he would get spooked and fly off.

A few days later I saw a butt sticking up and was able to catch this little blue heron eating a crab off the dock.It seems like there’s lots of good seafood in our channel. I should be charging them a la carte.

Of course when I see baby ducks heading down the channel I grab my camera and run outside. This family was in front of our dock in late July. The babies were trying to eat the mangrove leaf.

As I was sitting at my desk in the bedroom working, I was watching this slug cruising across the pane. I grabbed my camera and took this wih my macro lens. Cool to see the other side.

Little critters at Chesnut Park

Little critters at Chesnut Park.

You can always find cardinals on the boardwalk here. That first one is a very young one. He was hopping around from branch to branch but I don’t think he could fly far yet.

A very young northern parula with a snack.

A cormorant preening on the side of the lake.

Lots of titmouse coming to see if I have a handout for them.

The sun hadn’t made it over the trees yet when I was ready to go home in July. After an early quick walk it was too hot to hang around much longer.

My Corner of the World

More little quackers

I’m a sucker for baby ducks, even annoying muscovy ducks. I came home from running errands in late July and saw a family in the neighborhood pond so I ran home and got my camera. They were hanging around the sidewalk when I got back so I plopped down and watched them running around for a few minutes.

They eventually wandered over to the bushes so I said goodbye and left.

This one is an older juvenile. He was following me around. He has what is called “angel wings” from poor nutrition. Some of his wings grew outwards. Even too many carbs is bad for the ducks.  He probably grew up with one of the neighbors feeding him only bread. He should be eating bugs and getting protein. One other duck had it on one side. They can’t fly with their wings like this and it can’t be fixed at their age. It will be interesting to see how long he’s at our pond, although he could move on to other ponds in the area as well.

Rain in the bay

The rain was moving in but I wasn’t ready to go home. I was hoping for either lightning pictures or at least a rainbow. I got neither but it was still fun being out. I headed over to tiny park on the other side of the St. Pete Pier. I could see the heavy rain out in the bay towards Tampa.

A pano of the Pier (on the left) to the small private airport tower (on the right). Typical Florida summer day, rain on the left, blue sky on the right.

Turning around I could see the downtown St. Pete skyline.

One sailboat was heading out for the bay. I hope they dodged that storm coming in. It was suppose to rain all day so I was surprised to see them going out.

Across the yacht basin, I could see the big model airplane. A tribute to the first commercial airline that started here.

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