A beautiful morning out at Fort Desoto. Out on Outback Key, you can see St. Pete beach far off in the distance. That big pink hotel (Don CeSar) really stands out.
Rush hour traffic on the water.
Usual birds around the fishing pier. A ruddy turnstone, loggerhead shrike and a ring billed gull with just a touch of orange around his eye.
TOTO, the banded oystercatcher, was there in his usual spot.
His mate was close by looking for food.
A nice cool morning for a walk on the beach at Fort Desoto in February. Sadly now this is more important than every, just being outside. Yesterday Brett and I went to the beach just to be outside since everything else is closed. Even the zoo is closed (although the keepers will still be there taking care of the animals). I’m working at home for the next few weeks and I’m sure the walls will start closing in. I’m going to try and walk in the neighborhood after work each night to get out. Hope everyone stays sane out there. Thanks for stopping by and let me know how you are coping.
I was leaving Fort Desoto on a recent Saturday morning and I as I was driving out of the parking lot a flock of black hooded parakeets flew into the tree right in front of me. Of course I pulled over and got out and watched these guys eating leaves and bark. They blended into the tree pretty well and if it wasn’t for their loud screaming most people would not have noticed them in the trees if they hadn’t seen them fly in. They were on top of the tree and underneath it, moving around and jumping from branch to branch. I stayed for a few minutes before heading home.
Heading out on the trails, something flushed a flock of ibis across the marsh.
A perfect morning in January, cold and clear.
Morning glories along the trail.
The usual birds.
Crazy face hiding in the bushes.
Right over the trail, this osprey was eating fish.
A typical morning walk at Circle B Bar Reserve.
After a really cold week, I headed over to the TECO (Tampa Electric Co) plant to see the manatees that hang out there in the winter. The warm water coming off the electric plant in the lagoon keeps the manatees warm during the coldest weeks. Years ago, the plant built a manatee viewing center with a big deck that wraps around part of the lagoon. All of those dots in the water are manatees. There were hundreds of them the morning I was there in late January.
The plant says that the smoke coming out of the stack is actually clean steam. It doesn’t feel smoky when you are there and the sky was clear blue.
Part of the deck overlooking the lagoon. This was still early in the day before the big crowds get here. I got here well before they opened at 10am and waiting in line to park and was out before lunch. They can get crazy crowded and parking is a challenge when the manatees are here in large numbers. The news channels report on them when there’s been a prolonged cold spell so everyone heads over including me.
Some of the birds around the plant. White pelicans were flying high, a young night heron flew by the deck and a vulture was sitting on a platform built for an osprey nest.
Down at the very end of the lagoon, it’s roped off so boaters or kayakers cannot follow the manatees into the area. There is no swimming with the manatees here.
There’s usually some stingrays splashing around.
I took a ton of manatee pictures so more to come on those.
Birds you can see up-close at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park include a pair of whooping cranes that are both missing wings. They winter in Florida and were injured at some point and brought here to live. I overheard someone say “They cut off one wing so these birds can’s fly away.” and that is not true. Most of these animals are here due to man made injuries (hit by a car, a parent was hit by a car and now they are orphans, fishing lines, some were shot with a bb gun or arrow). I follow several wildlife rescue groups on facebook and it’s horrifying the things that happens to these animals.
Big animals that live at the park. On a recent episode of “Secrets of the Zoo:Tampa”, a baby bear was brought in to the zoo to be checked out when his mom died getting hit by a car. The zoo was able to secure a home for the cub here.
A snake up close.
Lu was a tv star on Flipper and was given to the park to live out his retirement. Lu is very popular with the kids and he just turned 60 in January.
I really went up to the park in January to see the manatees but there are also a lot of other fun animals to see as well.
It’s not often you get to see white pelicans up close. They usually only spend the winter in central Florida and even then they are usually across a lake. There are a few that live at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park year round, having ended up there with some form of injury.
The pelicans there are all missing a wing or partial wing from injuries, usually that involves fishing line being tangled up around their wings. They nest at the park and their offspring grow up there and then fly off.
The flamingos were spending the morning preening, eating or napping.
I was at Crescent Lake Park recently and saw this guy moving fast. Darting around and popping his head up out of the water at a different place every time. It was dark and cloudy and I could not get a decent picture of him that wasn’t blurry. He only stayed for a few minutes before disappearing under the vegetation and then he was gone for good. He was chomping on something, I’m thinking a turtle. Everyone thinks they are so cute but look at those teeth. Another reason not to let your small dog get near the water in a lake in central Florida (the other is those pesky alligators).
After walking around Crescent Lake Park I stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier on the way home. The above parrots landed right in front of me before I stepped on the pier. They only stopped for a minute before screaming down the street.
It was cold this morning in January but people were out sailing.