Big blobs in the water

I was walking past the sliding doors to the backyard and saw some big black blobs bobbing in the water. I grabbed my camera and ran out to the dock to catch the manatees coming up for air a few docks down in our channel.

To most people it wouldn’t look like much from a distance but you can’t miss that snout coming up for air. And I didn’t even have to get in my car and drive somewhere to see them. I haven’t kayaked in a while but I use to see them in the outer channels or out in the open bay. They rarely get this far into the channels so it was a treat to see them from my backyard. Several neighbors had also spotted them and came out to watch. There were 3 of them, a mom and 2 babies (which were almost as big as mom).

Every once a while you could see a flipper coming up. When the smaller flipper is leaning on the bigger manatee, it usually means the baby is nursing.

It’s easy to spot the big round flat tail that flaps in the water.

I watched them for a while as they just hung out in the channel. I think they must have spent some time nursing because they didn’t move for at least half an hour and they were on the surface more than usual. Eventually they started making their way back out to the bay. Manatees are like dolphins, it’s always exciting to see them out in the wild no matter how many times you see them.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sister, Debbie!

My Corner of the World

Things in the backyard

I was out in the backyard in early September and noticed this mallard trying to eat something that was bobbing in the water. I ran and got my camera and headed down to the dock and realized it was a mango. He was chowing down on it.

After 17 years in our house, we finally had a dragonfly come in. He was flying around for a while. We opened the doors and was waving around a broom and mop and was finally able to shoo him out into the screened in porch. I then opened the porch door and eventually he flew out but not before I was able to get this close up of him. He had a beautiful green color on his head.

Later in the week it was raining. We had a wet green heron hanging out on our dock in the rain and the mallards have been visiting for a while.

Squirrels like to hang out on the top of our down spout when it’s raining to stay dry. I took this through the sliding door and the screen.

We’ve been getting regular visits from 2 female mallards lately. They scrounge around under the bird feeder for fallen seed. One morning I looked out the window and realized they had brought friends. We also get ibis on a regular basis.

Looking out the side window from my desk, I see a dove sitting on the fence. Later a little blue heron was on our neighbor’s shed.

Taken through the window, this lizard had the cutest toes.

Sunset from the backyard.

My Corner of the World 

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

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

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.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkupOur World Tuesday Graphic

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.

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.

SkyWatch Friday

Blondie and her babies

My favorite neighborhood duck came by our dock for a visit in mid-June. I call her Blondie (thinking she is a light colored hybrid mallard) and she been hanging around the neighborhood for several years. I saw her with the babies one afternoon and ran out to the dock with my camera.

Her babies were so cute, swimming around our dock. I wonder if the lighter color ones will keep their creme color or turn dark brown once they grow up. The all yellow muscovy babies turn black once they grow up but I’m not sure if these mallard will. There’s a light brown colored duck that hangs out in a neighborhood pond that could be one of Blondie’s grown babies.

I know they were looking for a handout since some of the neighbors feed them but I wasn’t going to start that.

It was fun watching the babies swim around with Mom.

Come back soon!

In the backyard

I didn’t plant these sunflowers on purpose. I didn’t think we had the right kind of soil since our dirt is so sandy. Of all of the years with a bird feeder, this is the first time I had a rogue sunflower seed take root. The double one came up first but wasn’t very big. The bigger one came up right next to our petunia pot a few days later. I think an animal, maybe a squirrel, ate it after a few days. It was all torn up on the ground near the feeder.

A macro fly on the leaf.

Taking some shots around the backyard with my macro lens.

I had to get even more shots of my hibiscus plant.

One night I went out to move the garbage can to the street and saw this black racer cutting across my driveway. I was glad I had my phone in my pocket so I could quickly snap this.

We’ve had a lot of duck families cruising past our dock. This was one of the first in early May.

My Corner of the World

Yard birds in May

Doves sleeping on our fence. Taken through the kitchen window.

This night heron was hanging out on our dock, staying busy preening.

An ibis flew in and landed on the same dock.

The night heron was not happy with the ibis near his spot and chased him off. I just happened to be walking out of the side of the house to sneak around to the back to take pictures of the heron when I caught the ibis landing.

A few minutes later the night heron flew down to the water. It was an extreme low tide and you could see some of the rocks exposed. He was looking for tiny crabs on the rocks.

A mockingbird was eating something off my neighbor’s bottle brush tree.

A red bellied woodpecker in the tree.

Not an exciting bird but the house sparrows nest nearby and I always get a lot of them at my feeder so I consider them “my” birds. They are not skittish at all.

I was hosing down the front porch early one Sunday morning when I looked down the driveway and saw a duck couple drinking the runoff water. I know they want a handout but we don’t feed the ducks here. On one side it would be fun if they nested in our bushes but on the other side, our driveway would be covered in piles of duck poop.

My Corner of the World