Another episode of “Being a Tourist on the Beach”

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I rarely go to Clearwater Beach anymore.  It’s very crowded and cost a fortune to park, if you can get a parking spot. Although, it is fun to go over every once in while to see what’s going on.  Right after I picked up my sister from the airport we headed over to the beach to walk around. She had not been in several years.  We were hoping to get a good sunset but dark clouds had moved in.  I guess the weather had kept most people indoors because it wasn’t too crowded the Tuesday before Christmas. It was fun walking around the beach and marina.

SkyWatch Friday

A rare hybrid and the usual birds at Fort Desoto.

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A reddish egret hanging around the fishing pier.

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This is the rare hybrid that was seen recently hanging around the fishing pier. Local experts say it’s a cross between  a great blue heron and a great egret. He’s got a great blue heron beak and body but legs of a great egret. I found him pretty easily right on the pier, looking for a handout like the other birds.

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Great blue heron portrait.

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An osprey flying by.

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This snowy egret has found a good perch.

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Someone caught a big one.

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It’s always fun to guess where these big ships are going.

Another Saturday morning walk at the Fort Desoto fishing pier

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I caught this kestrel flying over my head.

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He flew over to the top of a pine tree.

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Then a frigatebird flew close to the pier.

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A juvenile hawk.  He let me get pretty close.

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The young reddish egret is still hanging around the pier. I’m beginning to wonder if this is a hybrid of some sort. Is it an offspring of a reddish egret and a white morph reddish egret?

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A cormorant preening on a light post.

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The osprey  couple that nests near the Fort were hanging around together. If this warm weather keeps up this December, nesting season will be starting much earlier this year.

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A usual sight at the pier. A big boat passing the lighthouse at Egmont Key.

Just another perfect day at the beach. SkyWatch Friday

A common bird in the Tampa Bay area

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The osprey (or fish hawk) is a fairly common bird here At least for me. I see them in my neighborhood, on the bridges to and from work, in the parking lot at work and most of the parks that are near water. I was walking the trail at the east beach at Fort Desoto looking to see if the owls were back and all I could find were osprey. There are several nests along this trail that sits right on the beach so you can always find several here.

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I watched the osprey fly off the branch and circle over my head.

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As she was heading toward the water, I thought she was going to grab a fish. Instead she just landed on the edge and stayed there for a few minutes.

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Then she took off and fly far down the beach. Oh well.

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Now it’s just me and another common bird, the boring ole great blue heron out on the beach.

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And a big boat cruising by.

No luck on the owls yet but it’s very early.

Skywatch Friday

Saturday morning walk on the fishing pier

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Another sighting of the juvenile reddish egret. He’s just a little bit bigger than when I saw him a few weeks ago.

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The juvenile osprey flying by the pier.

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Great blue heron flyby.

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Black skimmers cruising by the fishing pier.

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Ghost crab.

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A really big boat.

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In the shadow of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

A sunny morning at Fort Desoto before the summer rains started.

Skywatch Friday

A walk on the fishing pier

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The snowy egrets are always putting on a show at the fishing pier. They are hanging around waiting for the fishermen to turn their backs on their bait buckets so they can steal the little minnows. Sometimes the fisherman will clean their fish on the pier and the egrets try to steal the scraps. There are signs saying not to throw the scraps in the water or to the birds but some people still do it. Then the ones that don’t are annoyed by the birds being aggressive.

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A sting ray cruises by the pier in the shallow water.

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Dolphins feeding around the pier.

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Looks like he caught a little shark.

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It was a beautiful morning to watch the big boats from the pier at Fort Desoto.

Skywatch Friday