That small orange dot in the sky

I don’t get out for sunrise very often. During the week I’m busy with work and on the weekends I’m either heading out to a park to walk to look for birds or sleeping in. In early September I was up on a Saturday with no plans (and sunrise isn’t that early this time of year) so I packed up and headed to Safety Harbor.

You could barely see the sliver of moon high up in the sky. The line between the water and land was turning bright orange.

People were starting to show up to the fishing pier and boats were heading out.

It was such a nice morning out. Birds were cruising back and forth across the pier.

Here it comes! A small orange dot off in the distance. I walked around the park for a while and will post those pictures later.

SkyWatch Friday

Tales from the Crypt?

I had heard about a cool old Italian cemetary (L’Unione Italiana Cemetary) in Tampa that I had to go check out. I’m half Italian (although I knew none of my relatives would be buried here). I’m one of those weird people who likes to walk around old cemetaries and check out the dates. And, think about who were those people were so long ago. I headed out early in the morning in early September before it got too hot. The first thing I noticed about this cemetary was all of the beautiful crypts. Most of them were not that old, from the 30’s to the 60’s.

I was able to find some information on the first crypt.  Gaetano Spicola was an Italian immigrant from Sicily, born in 1871, coming to American in his early teens. He worked his way down to Tampa and eventually opened the Ybor City Bottling Works. He later opened a hardware store with his son that was open for 66 years. He had a very colorful life that can be read about here.

It was a very crowded cemetary with lots of big ornate headstones. The interesting thing about this cemetary was so many of the headstones had pictures of the people on them. Almost like they were watching you. It almost made the cemetary come to life.

There were several with tall statues over them.

This was the entrance to the oldest part of the cemetary.

Many of the graves were from the early 1900’s to the late 20’s. I noticed that there were a lot of them with tiles on the headstone and many had the tile wreaths on them.

It was a very interesting part of Tampa history. Next door was the older Centro Espanol Cemetary and of course I walked through there as well. More on that later.

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Our World Tuesday Graphic

More summer skies from the yard

The skies from my front and back yard in late summer are insane. Some nights right when the sun hits after the rain has moved out, it looks like the sky is on fire. These were all taken in late August and early September.

The above was snapped with my phone through the glass door and the screened porch. The smaller ones before this were too close to be outside. The next day I found out it hit my neighbor’s house. It fried his fuse box and burned one side of his house. It took several days for an electrician to come out and fix everything so you really don’t know when it’s going to hit.

Lightning on the side of the house (I was standing in the garage). It’s weird the way the 2nd one was brighter in the middle.

Most nights if the sun peaks out in the backyard after a storm, I get this in the front yard.

SkyWatch Friday

A peek at a new park.

I found a park on the other side of Tampa that I had never been before. Veterans Memorial Park is on the other side of downtown Tampa from me and I had read about it on a walking club site. There are several other parks in the area called Veterans Memorial Park but this one is different. It recognizes all the wars starting with the Spanish War. There are many monuments and there’s a museum although it was closed when I was there in late August.

I think one of my favorite monuments is the World War 1 statue.

Big army tanks are always cool to see up close.

Many of the displays honor Hillsborough county residents.

It was a quiet morning with not many people here. I felt like I almost had the place to myself. I walked around under the trees for a while and took a ton of pictures. More to come on those.

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Heading into sunrise

I was running late but it was just as well since there was that small cloud bank right at the earth’s surface. I was trying to get to Fort Desoto for sunrise, although since they don’t open until 7am I would have gotten it already risen anyway. Since there was no one else around, I stopped for a few seconds and shot this out the window with my phone at the top of the bridge before going into the park. I hadn’t been down to the park in 3 months due to red tide so I was pretty excited to be here early.

Stopping right before the entrance, the clouds were making the sun a little hazy.

The color was soft at the East Beach turnaround, looking towards the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

Half an hour later the sun was already high up. I headed over for a quick walk at the bay pier. Seeing the bait shop, it always makes me think it would be a great house to live in out on this pier. To wake up and peek out the window at the sunrise over the water every morning would be pretty cool.

Big boats on the water. It was a beautiful morning out and the dolphins were pretty close to the pier (more on those later).

SkyWatch Friday

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

Summer crowing

In early August I decided to make my annual summer early walk around Ybor City in Tampa to look for baby chicks. Chickens and roosters roam wild in the area and you can usually find a few cute babies in the summer. I like to go early before the tourists and lunch crowds descend on the little neighborhood just outside of downtown Tampa.

Centennial Park, across from the Ybor City Museum, is where most of the chickens hang out. Although, you can find them hanging around houses and front porches all around the area.

The roosters were crowing even though it wasn’t that early in the morning. They were busy running around, looking for bugs in the dirt or bathing in the dirt.

I converted one of my pictures of the rooster into a cartoon since they do look like cartoon characters.

The trolley was just starting to do it’s test run for the day. It was nice being out before 9am here, especially in the summer. Just me, a few joggers and the street cleaners (cleaning the areas around the bars and restaurants). And the chickens of course. I did find some baby chicks but I’ll save them for a later post.

My Corner of the World

Those crazy Florida skies in August

As August starts to roll around, the summer rains come in. Usually in the late afternoons (although some days the rain can start in the morning and continue all day).Most nights the sun would peek out right before it set which makes for amazing colors through the clouds. I am constantly running outside to check the skies and take pictures. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy. All of the above were taken from my yard with my phone.

I was running errands and caught this tiny lightning bolt walking back to my car. It’s better to run errands on a day like this in August. It’s cooler and less people are out. Although you have to be okay with getting wet if a super soaker happens that even an umbrella won’t help.

Catching a storm coming in at Davis Islands.

While out running errands, I stopped at a fishing pier in the northern part of Tampa bay. This lesser known pier is a great spot to catch the storms rolling in. There wasn’t any lightning from the clouds or else I would not have been out here on the pier. I headed back to my car long before the rain hit.

SkyWatch Friday

Crazy summer skies

I was thinking it might rain but I wanted to get out of the house for a short walk so I headed over to the Courtney Campbell Causeway nearby in late June. The rain held off for a while and I was able to catch the rainbow going across the causeway. You can see a faint 2nd one above it.

There were pockets of rain all across the bay. It looked like it was coming right for me so I headed back to my car after snapping the above.

Instead of going straight home I stopped at a nearby parking deck to see what the sky looked like from higher up.

Making a pano with my phone, the rain was on the left side and the sun was coming out on the right. Another typical Florida summer shot.

When I got home, the clouds were rolling into my neighborhood.

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Going somewhere

Getting to the fishing pier at Fort Desoto Park early on a Saturday morning in June, I caught this cargo ship going into port.

It’s always fun standing on the pier watching the ships go back and forth. Wondering what they are carrying and where they are going. Being out at sea for weeks at a time. (Makes me sea sick just thinking about it). I wonder if this Del Monte ship is really carrying Del Monte canned vegetables?

Heading out.

It was beginning to look like rush hour traffic around the pier. Lots of sailboats and fishing boats going by.

The guys on this boat pulled up to the pier and caught some bait fish. I just keep thinking about what Dory said in “Finding Nemo”.  “Just keep swimming.”

The bridge in the middle of the morning with the sun sparkling on the water.

Turning around, another ship goes behind the dog beach as it turns the corner past the park.

SkyWatch Friday