I had heard the white pelicans had come down to south St. Petersburg for the winter. They had been recently sighted at Fort Desoto near the north beach tip. The big white pelicans only spend part of the winter in the area and leave in early spring. I headed down in mid-November to look for them and after looking everywhere for them I was about to leave. I stopped at the East beach turnaround before leaving to see if any new shorebirds were there. I noticed something white behind the tall overgrown mangroves. There in a small lagoon, hidden behind the mangroves was a small flock of them. They were busy feeding and didn’t notice me standing in the mangroves across the lagoon. I watched these big beautiful graceful birds feeding together. They would fly in and together, a small group would swim around scooping up the fish. I’m hoping I see them again before they leave.
I peaked out the window and saw some dark clouds moving in. I grabbed my phone and ran out to the backyard. I kept hearing crashing coming from the front yard so I ran around to the front and got the shot of the lightning. The night storms have been crazy lately in the beginning of August.
The next night I drove home in pouring rain and by the time I got home the sky looked like the above in the backyard.
On the way home from work I stopped at a parking deck right off the bridge to take the above. Looking towards downtown Tampa, it was beautiful blue skies. When I turned around, the big storm was moving across the bay. I had just driven through that.
A view of the gulf fishing pier from behind the snack shop.
A big boat coming around the corner near the fishing pier. This is the main channel where all of the boats come in heading to the port of Tampa.
A great blue heron watching the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as a storm moves in.
Turtle nests were roped off all over the park.
Looking out at the north beach marsh.
Pano of the northern tip of the beach.
A storm was moving in across the north beach.
Standing on the bay pier, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is partially hidden by the storm.
It was nice being at Fort Desoto park before the storm came. The threat of rain had kept most people away. There were a few people out fishing on the pier but the beach was almost empty. Not many birds either. So I walked around the pier for a while and enjoyed the quiet.
Not the bird I was looking for. This osprey right next to the boat ramp did not want me to steal his fish.
This could have been the bird I was looking for but as he got closer I realized it wasn’t a great cormorant but just an ordinary double crested cormorant. This one flew over my head and was full of fishing wire.
Downtown St. Petersburg from the boat ramp.
Still not the bird I was looking for, this spotted sandpiper was trying to hide in the weeds that had floated up on the beach.
No great cormorant on this side of the park. Only shorebirds and gulls.
Maybe he hitched a ride on one of these boats.
Back in mid-December I had heard there was a rare great cormorant hanging around the boat ramp at Fort Desoto. This would have been a first for me so I finally made it down to the park after work on the night before Thanksgiving. It had been raining for days and it was nice to see blue skies again. This was my first of 3 trips looking for this silly bird with no luck. Hopefully he will show up when I least expect it.