Finally out with my camera

In late November I was finally out with my camera since having my shoulder surgery in early October, I could still only pick up 3lbs so I had my older smaller camera on my lightest lens. All together they were at 3.5 lbs so I was cheating a little but kept the camera in my left hand for most of the time. It felt good to be out walking around with it but I had an old 300mm lens and didn’t have much reach. I headed to the Dunedin marina for a long walk and then pulled the camera out of the car and walked around by the boats for a short while.

There were a few shorebirds at the tiny beach in front of the marina. Willets and ruddy turnstones are always there.

Something spooked these semi-palmated plovers several times.

One of the resident osprey sitting on a sailboat mast. They have a nest right in the parking lot here so I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on the babies this year.

An anhinga resting on the old abandoned boat.

A phone shot, this old sailboat got wedge up against the channel marker during Hurricane Nicole in early November and has been stuck there ever since. It’s a great place for the birds to rest.

A great egret posing nicely.

Pelicans around the marina.

A manatee was right up against the sea wall. This was taken with my phone. The shadows of the railing were a little tough though.

I was on the way home and stopped at a red light when I saw a ton of white pelicans flying high coming towards me. I pulled over into the shopping center and was able to snap the above. This was only a small portion of them. There were at least 4 more of these cruising around the area. It was amazing to watch them swooping around and cruising.

Too early for fall migration

It was mid-September and I headed out for a quick walk around Roosevelt Wetlands. I didn’t expect to find too much since fall migration was still just a trickle but anything is possible this time of year. The wetlands was packed with dragonflies.

A female red-winged blackbird isn’t very exciting but she posed so nicely for me that I had to take a shot.

The same with this female anhinga, sitting high up in a tree.

I was starting to see palm warblers. That’s a sure sign winter is coming.

I was surprised to see black bellied whistling ducks here. There was an adult with three juveniles. I wonder if they grew up here or just stopped over on their way somewhere else.

“Make room for me” said the great egret to the moorhens. They scooted out of his way.

It was a quiet morning and the only sign of fall was the single palm warlber. It was still a little early for migration though.

More crazy birds at the rookery

A juvenile night heron sits alone at the front of the rookery. He’s been there on my last 2 visits. They nest deep in the bushes so I can’t see them as little babies.

A snowy egret still flirting.

The cormorants and anhingas nest high up inthe cypress trees so it’s a little harder to see those young babies. As they get older the bigger babies end up down on the rookery and Mom feeds them there. The top one is a cormorant. They have orange curved beaks and hook their fish. The middle shot are both anhingas (male on the left in all black and the female on the right has a brown chest and neck). They have pointed beaks and stab their fish. The juveniles with the great egret in the bottom shot are both anhingas.

A female grackle getting some bugs. They also nest deep in the bushes.

A wood stork getting a drink in the pond.

I saw a tricolored heron fly over to the top of a tree away from the rookery. She’s got food in her beak and she’s trying to get her young one to fly over to be fed. She was yelling at the baby to fly across the pond to her to get food instead of her bringing it to the baby.

The baby eventually flew over and got his meal.

All of the tricolored heron babies that I saw were almost fully grown. They all had their adult colors in their feathers but they still had those baby spikes on the top of their heads and were still squawking for food.

The backyard in early June

I keep seeing downy woodpeckers and chickadees on the feeder at the same time.

I think this chickadee was going to tell me to get better seed.

I’ve been seeing baby bluebirds bouncing around in the backyard. I’ve seen 4 at one time but it’s hard to get more than one through the window. They are very skittish and take off if I go out in the back.

The doves were napping under the bird bath.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen a lizard shedding his skin.

Sunset in the lake across the street.

I usually stop at the lake as I’m getting the mail and one night I saw a lone skimmer cruising around right before dark. This was taken with my phone, which I usually have in my pocket. I went out there the next 2 nights with my camera but didn’t see him again.

Tricolored herons and anhingas are usual in the lake, getting that last meal before dark.

I caught this tern flying overhead right at dark. I think it’s a Caspien tern.

Downtown St. Pete parks

You can always find turtles chilling on the trash bumpers at Crescent Lake Park near downtown St. Pete.

I found some cute duckies walking along the sidewalk.

Usual birds around the lake include the loggerhead shrike, a roseate spoonbill and an anhinga drying out.

I found an unusual pair of birds sitting in front of my car, northern rough winged swallows. I’ve seen them in other parks before but they are fairly rare.

A cloudy morning at the park.

The big banyan tree has been fenced in for several years now. They are trying to keep it alive since it’s so old (not sure how old though). It’s taken a beating over the years with people climbing and playing on it.

It looked like it has snowed along the street in front of the park. I realized there were several cottonwood trees in someone’s yard. I had never noticed this before so I must not have been here when they were blooming. I’m sure it’s beautiful when it’s in full bloom but what a mess it was in the street and yard.

After leaving the park I stopped by Rouse park on the bay in St Pete, only a few minutes away. The royal poinciana trees were blooming and the are a lot of them in this small park.

Enjoying an early morning on the bay in late May.

SkyWatch Friday

Friendship Friday at Create With Joy

 

Riding by the cows

Scenes from my bike ride in late May. Pedaling past cow pastures.

I had my camera in my backpack and had to stop for a shot of the cattle egret with the cow. This is where they get their name. Egrets hanging out with the cattle, trying to eat the bugs that the cows stir up as they eat the grass.

I found the meadowlarks again.

I found several juvenile tree swallows sitting on the fence. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen them actually sitting down. They spend most of their time cruising around catching bugs. EDIT: Thanks to Lea’s Menagerie for a correct ID. The above is an eastern kingbird. I’m still learning a lot of the migrating birds. This was late May so it makes sense he could still be hanging around. I think that Florida sun is starting to get to me.

A pond along the cow pasture fence was a busy watering hole.

There are several gopher tortoise holes along the fences but this was the first time I have seen one out of his hole. They are listed as Threatened in Florida and both the tortoise and their burrows are protected by law.

Morning walks at the marina

The Dunedin marina area is one of my new favorite places to walk in the mornings. Even though it’s miserable hot, there’s usually a breeze here on the water. During the week, before 9am, it’s pretty quiet and easy to get a good parking spot.

Two juvenile osprey were trying to catch some food. After a while they both ended up on the same tree on the water’s edge.

This anhinga had no problem catching her fish. I think she was showing it off.

Juvenile house sparrows were digging in the sand for bugs to eat.

I found these fuzzy plants on a fence near the water. It looked like cotton but a month later I would find out what they were. More to come on these.

A great egret ready to take off.

Inspire Me Monday

Purple birds

I was was walking around the Dunedin marina early one morning in late April when I noticed there were purple martins coming out of the bird house. I’ve seen many of these condo bird houses but this is the first time I’ve seen purple martins in them. I only had my phone with me so I snapped the above. My camera was in the car so I headed back and drove around to the area they were at.

I had seen them briefly before but this was the first time I was able to get a good look at them. They are beautiful! Of course the male is all shiny and purple (they look blue to me) in the sun. There were several flying around the house.

The above is either a female or an immature male. They might have already nested and this is an offspring.

I think this is a juvenile house sparrow, hanging out underneath the bird house.

An anhinga was catching fish close by in the marina.

The view in front of the bird house. The blue building is the Dunedin Sailing Center.

SkyWatch Friday

Friendship Friday

Critters in Lakeland in early March

Out at Circle B Bar Reserve in early March, I was greeted by a tricolored heron and a kingfisher, both flying by.

Green herons are common along the trail but I can’t help but take more pictures of them.

I saw this great blue heron high up in a tree doing a mating dance. They look straight up and bob up and down. It looks like he, or she, was sitting on a nest already. I guess she was ready to start a family.

Here comes another one. Maybe a looking for a mate? She did not want any part of him as she screamed at him.

He flew around in a circle and still came back to land on the same tree. She chased him off so maybe that wasn’t her boyfriend.

I stopped by Lake Morton near downtown Lakeland on the way home. This male black necked swan had already started a family. I saw him walking over to the nest and his mate, a mute swan, left. He checked the eggs out and then sat on them while she went out for a walk (or to look for a snack). The black neck swan had a mate, also a black necked, for several years before she was hit by a car in early 2020.  They were the only pair so now the lone male has taken a mute swan as a mate so it will be interesting to see how those babies turn out.

A blue winged teal taking a nap.

I’ve been told the gray swans here are offspring of mute swans and black swans that had paired up. There are several on the lake.

An anhinga posing for me.

The baby black swans are growing up fast. They looked so cute cuddling together.

Out on the water

I went for a long walk around by the Dunedin marina on a cool morning in late February (this was one of those perfect Florida winter days, sunny and 58 degrees). I had left my camera in the car and was walking along the front of the marina and saw all of the sailboats out in the water.I snapped the above with my phone and then hiked back to my car to get my camera.

There was some sort of sailing class or group out in the water. It looked like fun. It got me thinking I might need to take some sailing lessons.

I drove over to Weaver Park, just north of the Dunedin marina. From that long pier you can see most of Clearwater Beach.

Of course as I’m standing on the fishing  pier I had to snap pictures of the anhinga watching me and the osprey cruising by. I’m glad I had left my camera in the car. I wasn’t planning on taking any pictures this morning but you never know what you’ll see out there.

My Corner of the World