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.

A new tourist attraction

For my Sunday night walk in late July, I decided to go to the new Pier in downtown St. Pete. Brett went with me since he wanted to see it as well. We parked far away behind the Vinoy hotel and tried to stay away from the crowds as we walked around the yacht basin. It was a beautiful night to be out and everyone had the same idea.

The netting over an open field before the pier changes color at night.

Looking down at the pier from the elevated platform. We didn’t walk past this point since the pier building at the end looked very crowded.  There are restaurants at the end but you had to have a reservation to go in and masks were required. We thought we would save that for another time.

A pano of the area taken with my phone.

There’s a small public beach right next to the pier.

Looking back at downtown St. Pete, the sun was just starting to go down.

Some of the artwork around the pier area. It was a fun walk and I plan to get back there during the week after work hoping it won’t be so crowded.

SkyWatch Friday

 

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.

My Corner of the World

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.

Surfing USA 🎵

I went to Sand Key Park in late July looking for baby birds but all I saw were surfers. There was a storm coming in from the gulf which created rare surf waves so the local surfers took advantage of a few small waves. The waves were pretty small so most of them spent more time falling than actually up on boards but it looked like they were having fun. It’s not often I get the chance to take action surfing shots on the gulf side of the state.

The beach was pretty quiet. I didn’t stay too long. The storm clouds were starting to show up out in the water so I headed home.

SkyWatch Fridayhttp://skyley.blogspot.com/

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

No baby deer yet

One late day after work in July I hopped in the car and headed to Chesnut Park to see if there were any baby deer in the park. It had been drizzling late that day which usually means the park is quiet and the deer come out of the woods with their babies. Of course the sun came out right when I got to there so it was hot and steamy. I noticed this soft shell turtle walking around by a  parking lot.

When I got out of the car to take the picture of the turtle, these two downy woodpeckers flew right into the tree in front of my car.

I originally wasn’t going to walk around if I didn’t see any deer since it was so hot but I saw some birds flying around the bridge over the pond so I walked over for a few minutes and caught the above yellow throated warbler.

This young parula was also on the bridge.

As well as the above young great crested flycatcher. I know they nest somewhere around this area of the park but I’ve never been able to find a nest.

In the back of the park I found a lady feeding the deer some apples and carrots. She was telling me how skinny she thought they looked. She said the deer up north where she lives in the winter were much bigger and hefty. I’m assuming she’s looking at mule deer in the winter which probably are bigger than our white tailed deer here in Florida. She had seen a baby deer earlier in the week so there was at least one there but I couldn’t find him on this night. I’ll keep looking.

Summer at the beach

I got to Fort Desoto Park early on a Saturday morning in late July.  The clouds were starting to roll in before the people got here.

I could see it raining over to the far left and was debating on how far to walk out on the Outback Key spit. I had my umbrella in my backpack but wouldn’t want to have to walk back half an hour with lightning.

I walked out a little ways but the storm was moving in quick.

I stopped in the little lagoon near the parking lot to get pictures of a spoonbill. It was drizzling on me but the sun was behind my back and I could see a faint rainbow.

Minutes later the storm had moved away and I headed over to the bird sanctuary.

SkyWatch Friday