North Shore Park

The tiny beach at North Shore Park, near downtown St. Petersburg was not as welcoming as these pictures look. They had just raked the beach of the dead fish from red tide but the fish were still floating up on the beach. At least the smell wasn’t bad and it was such a beautiful Saturday morning. The storms were coming in a little early since this was right before lunch.

The resident hybrid great egret/great blue heron was lurking around, trying to find a live fish to eat. Most of the birds don’t eat the dead fish but a few do and they get sick. The bird rescues are all full of sick fish from the red tide.

I stopped at Crescent Lake Park on the way home for a quick walk to look for otters. No luck on the otters but I did see the above in the vegetation in the lake. A juvenile little blue heron, a great blue heron, a blue jay, a snowy egret and a green heron.

My Corner of the World

Another beautiful morning at the beach

A cute little black bellied plover was busy looking for food.

Standing on the pier, I could see this dog catching an orange frisbee way down at the other end of dog beach. He caught it every time. He was having a blast.

It was a good morning for the dolphin show at the gulf pier at Fort Desoto. The water was clear and calm and the dolphins were swimming close to it.

I headed up to the top of the fort to see if there were any birds hanging around the agave plants. I only saw a grackle. The little green huts cover the air vents in the fort underneath. I always expect to see little hobbits running around and living in them.

The view from the top of the fort.

Looking in the other direction, down towards the beach, you could see the people coming in for the day. This was around 10am so you know it’s going to be crowded by noon. It really is a little piece of paradise (Shhh, don’t tell anyone!).

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Storms were moving in

I needed to get out of the house and go for a short walk so I headed down to Fort Desoto to walk out on the fishing pier. It was a dark and windy late morning and was threating to rain so there wasn’t a lot of people out.

The laughing gulls were driving the pelicans crazy. They would wait until the pelican had a scoop full of fish in their beaks and then try and steal one from them. Or at least catch any smaller fish that fell out of the pelican’s mouth.

A willet on the jetti.

Far down on the beach, I could see a wedding taking place. Looks like it had just ended. Good thing since it was starting to drizzle.

Kiteboarders were having fun at the other end of the park facing the Skyway bridge. I don’t often see girls kiteboarding but the one in the bottom shot was keeping up with the boys.

The rain was starting to move in so I headed home.

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Shorebirds at the beach

These birds are not social distancing even outside. There were so many crammed into this tiny spit at low tide. Mostly terns and gulls in the front but all of the brown in the far back were red knots.

There were lots of different shorebirds early in November at Fort Desoto. Several times something spooked them and most of them took off.

I turned around and saw these marbled godwits fighting.

Willets and dowitchers on the shoreline on Outback Key.

A great egret came in for a landing right in front of me.

One of my favorite spots at the north beach.

A storm was moving in so it was time to go home.

My Corner of the World

The fort at Fort Desoto

There is an actual fort at Fort Desoto Park. The fort was finished in 1900 and was used until after World W 2. Pinellas county bought the fort and surrounding area later and in 1963 it opened as a park. I don’t usually spend a lot of time there but one day in late October I wasn’t quite ready to go home for lunch so I thought I would climb the path to the top of the fort to see if there were any birds around.

You can rent bikes next door and I thought the bright colors popped against all of the green and blue.

Looking around the fort area, it reminded me of a picture I had seen looking through the old family photos.

Apparently I had been there when I was just a tot running around. It must have not been opened as a park long when we went because I was born in 1963. I must have less than a year old.

After the fort, I stopped by the fishing pier to watch the dolphin show.

At this point a storm was moving in and it was starting to drizzle so I quickly headed back to my car.

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Road trip to Nature’s Coast

Early morning at Pine Island beach, north of Tarpon Springs and south of Cedar Key. I had not spent any time in this area and it’s a beautiful quiet area. At least it was in October.

I was hoping to find some new shorebirds here but it was the same old ones that I can find in my usual spots near home.

Fiddler crabs along the shoreline.

Just me and my shadow on the boardwalk, looking out on the gulf.

This is a small beach compared to beaches in the Tampa bay area. It’s a little off the beaten path so it might not get the crowds in the summer that we see on Clearwater beach or St. Pete beach. It was a beautiful morning and I was glad to be out of the house and out on the road.

The drive into the beach is a long 2 lane road with marsh on both sides. The first two shots were looking right and the bottom two were looking left as you drive in. This is why they call this area the “Nature coast”.

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Skirting by

How do you get a big beached sailboat back out into the water?  Very carefully with a big truck. For many people in the Tampa bay area, we were really lucky when Hurricane ETA skirted by us last week. It was a little nerve racking on Wednesday night as Brett and I were trying to go to bed and 70 mile winds were blasting through our channels. There wasn’t a lot of wind damage to the area but a lot of flooding. We kept getting up and peeking out the window to see how far the water had gotten into our yard. High tide was around midnight and by 10:30 we had water over our seawall and a few feet into our yard. We had some minor damage to our dock but many people had flooding in their homes. Even people who didn’t live near the water had flooding in their streets and ended up with flooded homes.

The news was saying there were sailboats beached in the small town of Gulfport in south St. Petersburg. I was out running around on Saturday morning and stopped by. I had heard there were 12 boats beached but by Saturday there was only 6 left on the beach. They were craning one of the boats to put back in the water. That’s a big task.

It looks like there is just minor damage to these boats. Mostly lots of dings but I’m sure that expensive. Some of these boats had people living on them so they have been displaced until the boats can be fixed.  Gulfport doesn’t sit directly on the gulf. It’s a small bay off the intercoastal waterway and many boats stay anchored in this area.

Otherwise, it was a beautiful morning and you would never know a bad storm came through 2 days earlier if it wasn’t for the sailboats sitting on the beach. I could see the pink hotel across the bay (Don Cesar Hotel) that sits on the beach.

The Christmas tree was up in front of the beach. I’m assuming someone put this here the day before since there wouldn’t be any balls here after that storm. The restaurants in front of the beach were opening up for breakfast. They had spent the last 2 days cleaning up the sand off the floors.

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All alone on the beach

Lots of weird things on the beach at low tide at Fort Desoto. The first three look like brains to me but they call it sea pork. Maybe some time of coral.  The bottom one is a moon jellyfish. There’s been some articles in the news about how the beaches in the area are full of them. Thinking one of the last big storms blew them close to the area.

It was very quiet in late September. Hardly anyone on the beach. I walked out to the end of Outback Key and had the place all to myself.

This guy was feeding in a recent rain puddle near the parking lot. I can’t ever pass up taking shots of a spoonbill.

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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.

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The beach has reopened.

On the trail at Fort Desoto. A butterfly and some kind of fruit that I have never noticed before. The red really stuck out in all of the green right on the trail.

A snowy egret trying to steal a snack from a fisherman.

Some of the birds near the fountain includes a loggerhead shrike, a female summer tanager and an ibis.

Dolphins were swimming around the pier.

Looking across the lagoon, lots of different shorebirds. The  middle shot has black skimmers in the front and the bottom picture shows red knots.

It was the first week in May and the park had just recently opened. I got there early and was leaving before 10am and shot this from the pier. The beach was filling up fast. Time for me to head home.

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