The same things from a different park

I headed down to Fort Desoto early one Saturday morning only to find it was closed for a marathon. So I decided to head to a park I had not been before. Maximo Park sits on the water right next to the interstate and was only minutes away from Fort Desoto. I had not been here before but had not heard much about it. It’s a small park near a marina and the people were lined up at the boat ramp to get their boats in for the day. Across the bay you can see the new bridge near Fort Desoto going up. You can buy bait fish right out of the water (for the lazy people who don’t want to pull their own bait fish up with a net).

It was a quiet day for birds but above are a few that I found including the vulture sunning himself.

Was it starting to look like fall? Looks like poison ivy with those red leaves of 3.

I stopped by Sawgrass Lake Park on the way home for a quick walk and saw this soft shell turtle crossing the parking lot. A man came over and picked him and moved him on his way. It’s rare to see these guys out of the water up close. They are usually pretty skittish.

This is one spoiled duck.

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Storms rolling in.

It looked like there were some good storms heading toward the beach in late September so I headed out after work to Clearwater Beach and Sand Key Beach. Stopping along the causeway I could see rain across the intercoastal waterway.

I got over to Sand Key and there were a few people on the beach but it was pretty deserted. It was late in the day so without the sun out for a sunset, most people went home. There were some cool clouds out in the water but I didn’t see any lightening at all. Another reason to stay close to the bathrooms in the parking lot. Those bolts could have hit at any time. There were still a few people sitting out right in front of the water.

The sun peaked out a few times and I turned around hoping to see a rainbow but that didn’t happen as well.

The storm was moving quickly so I headed back to my car.

I stopped at the marina that sits next to the bridge to walk around and watch the storm move in. It was nice to get out and walk around before dinner.

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Davis Islands yacht basin

I hadn’t been over to Davis Islands in a while so I headed over for a walk around the yacht basin at the end of the island. There’s a small dog beach there that has a great view of downtown Tampa. The dogs looked like they were having fun jumping in the water. I wanted to join them but that water was not too pretty right there near the shipping channel.

Two panos of downtown in front of the small private airport on the island.

There are usually a few planes taking off on a Saturday morning but none were leaving this morning in mid-August.

Shots above of the quiet lagoon.

Looking closer, one of the docks at the boat ramp has gone missing. The other one is still there but looks like it’s about to crumble.

My Corner of the World

A small town feeling.

Dunedin is a small town that sits on the intercoastal waterway just north of Clearwater.  It’s an artistic town with cool shops and restaurants and doesn’t have any big hotels nor that touristy feeling. I went there for a Sunday night walk recently to get a cool breeze and change of scenery from my neighborhood. I stayed off main street though since the sidewalks can get crowded and now some of the sidewalk areas are being used for outdoor dining. I walked along the water and through some of the neighborhoods close by.

Scenes from Edgewater Park and the pier at the end of Main Street.

Lots of boat traffic out on the water. You can see the buildings on Clearwater Beach far south of the park.

Art around Dunedin.

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Just being outside

A beautiful morning out at Fort Desoto. Out on Outback Key, you can see St. Pete beach far off in the distance. That big pink hotel (Don CeSar) really stands out.

Rush hour traffic on the water.

Usual birds around the fishing pier. A ruddy turnstone, loggerhead shrike and a ring billed gull with just a touch of orange around his eye.

TOTO, the banded oystercatcher, was there in his usual spot.

His mate was close by looking for food.

A nice cool morning for a walk on the beach at Fort Desoto in February. Sadly now this is more important than every, just being outside. Yesterday Brett and I went to the beach just to be outside since everything else is closed. Even the zoo is closed (although the keepers will still be there taking care of the animals). I’m working at home for the next few weeks and I’m sure the walls will start closing in. I’m going to try and walk in the neighborhood after work each night to get out. Hope everyone stays sane out there. Thanks for stopping by and let me know how you are coping.

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Last of the Thanksgiving tourist tour

Cruising along Clearwater bay looking for dophins.  Lots of big buildings going up around the beach including the new expanded Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the movie star dolphin from A Dolphin’s Tale who lost his tail and was given a prosthetic tail.

Anyone want a boat real cheap?  An abandoned boat near the marina.

Cruising by some of the big old historic homes along the intercoastal waterway.

Out along Sand Key.

Two osprey taking a bath on a sand spit during low tide.

We stopped at a spoil island near Sand Key and looked for some shells. The ones that were still alive were put back in the water.

The last day my sisters were here visiting we took a 2 hour dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. After living here for almost 18 years it was the first time I had done that. It was fun being out on the water on such a beautiful morning. We finally did see some dolphins coming back to the marina but I didn’t take any pictures. The boat was fairly full and I hung back letting all of the tourists see them from the edge of the boat. It’s fun to see people’s reactions when they see one for the first time out in the wild. Living here we take things for granted. I saw 3 of them coming home from work recently while I was stuck in traffic on the bridge.

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Heading in the other direction.

My sisters and I took the Cross Bay ferry from St. Pete to Tampa over Thanksgiving weekend one afternoon. When we got to the Tampa side we had a few minutes to walk around before heading back to St. Pete. You can take a later ferry but we took the next ferry back since we had plans later that day and well, we’ve spent a lot of time here before. I snapped the above before getting back on.

Passing back by the big boats as we were leaving.

The view from the upper deck including the selfie with my phone.

 

Lots of boats were following us out of the channel since it was a beautiful day. It looks like there was a sailboat class in the bottom picture. Lots of tiny white sailboats to the left of the yacht basin.

Bye bye Tampa (at least for a couple of hours).

SkyWatch Friday

Clearwater marina

Over Thanksgiving weekend I was being a tourist in my own town. It was easy to do since I actually had tourists with me. When my sisters were visiting we decided to take a dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. Brett and I don’t get over to this beach area often since it’s usually busy and things like work get in the way so it was fun to walk around the marina on a cool sunny morning.

There’s a no wake zone coming out of the marina area so we went really slow until we got out into the open intercoastal water. I was snapping pictures along the way. We did finally see dolphins. More on that later.

On the way home we stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier and a manatee was cruising under the pier. I was able to snap the above with my phone as he went by.

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Lunch in Tarpon Springs

Boats along the waterfront in Tarpon Springs. While my sisters were here for Thanksgiving weekend, we headed up to have lunch and walk around the docks. When I was little we use to come down to the Tampa bay area to visit my grandparents and my parents loved to make the drive up to Tarpon to walk around. Little has changed since the 70’s here with the exception of some new public restrooms. The tourist shops have the same stuff and we always leave Hellas with a lot of desserts. The bakery there is the best. They even have chocolate covered baklava.

A small sampling of the desserts and pastries.

Natural sponges are still being harvested today although most sponges you find today are synthetic. Tarpon Springs was built on sea sponges being harvested in the area.

Christmas decorations along the docks. It’s always fun to take a selfie in the big ornaments.