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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Alone in the drizzle

The wind was blowing hard at Fort Desoto on a Saturday morning in late February.  I was the only one there on the fishing pier along with the pelicans.

The views from East beach.

Someone dropped their breakfast on the beach. It looks like a laughing gull. There are eagles that cruise this area and a nest on the other side of the park so it might be one of them.

A wall of rain was coming in off the gulf and it was already drizzling so after snapping this I headed home.

SkyWatch Friday

A storm was coming in

Storms were coming on a Saturday morning in mid-February. I still had to get out so I headed down to Fort Desoto and brave the weather (to really look for some owls). The clouds were starting to roll in when I stopped at the bay fishing pier. The wind was blowing so hard that there were no one out fishing. Walking halfway out I saw a common loon all alone. I was hoping he would get closer but he stayed pretty far out.

A great blue heron flying in and landing in front of me.

A cormorant sitting in front of the bridge.

White ibis fly by in front of the clouds.

I headed up to north beach to look for shorebirds but only kiteboarders were there. The sun was trying to peak out but it didn’t for long.

In the other direction, a kite surfer was struggling to stay up.

Back at the gulf pier, the storms were coming in from the south and it started to sprinkle so I pulled my umbrella out of my backpack and walked around a little while longer before heading home in the rain. Even on a dark cloudy day this is a magically place (unless you are just looking to get tan).

SkyWatch Friday

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.

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Trying to get sunset pictures

I ran out after work to try and get some sunset pictures since it was sunny at my house but 15 minutes away and the clouds were out. I thought I would try and work on my long exposure shots but couldn’t seem to get them right. The shots were either too dark and the water didn’t look like silk or they were too blown out. I didn’t really like any of the ones I came home with. Going to try again when the sun it out.

Trying not to step on the horseshoe crabs coming up in the tide.

I do like this shot, taken from the parking lot.

I took this pano with my phone.

Later that week I went out to Sand Key and the sun hid from me again.  A cloudy time on the beach is still better than being at home!

 

SkyWatch Friday

A quick walk after work.

At the end of October, before the time changed, I could get out for a quick walk after work before dark. I headed over Safety Harbor hoping to get some lightning shots. I could see the storms south of the causeway but they were heading towards Tampa.

Since it was low tide, there were a few birds walking around in the muck right off the fishing pier, probably eating crabs.

The mangrove crabs are very skittish but I manage to catch a few of them scurrying away.

The big beautiful oak tree in front of the library. There’s usually a lot of people in the tiny park here but I think the threat of storms kept everyone at home.

Walking around by the yacht basin, I saw an eagle sitting on one of the poles. I was able to snap the above before he took off. I know they nest near Philippe Park north of here but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one in the fishing pier area.

Even though lights were showing the way to the boardwalk, it was starting to drizzle so I headed home.

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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Rain or sun?

I wanted to get out of the house on a Sunday early evening so I headed over to the Courtney Campbell Causeway walking trail. When I got out of the car, there were 3 spoonbills feeding right along the trail. I was wishing I had my long lens but I was traveling light so shot the above with my phone.

Halfway across I could see a storm coming into the bay so I was walking pretty fast.

Almost back to my car and the storms moved over near my neighborhood.

I made it to sunset without getting rained on. The sun peaked out right before it went down. Over to the right, I could see it raining in my neighborhood.

SkyWatch Friday

Summer storms in the backyard

Pictured above are some of the shots I took from the front yard and the backyard during the month of August. Usually taken late in the day or right before dark. The skies always light up this time of year with so many storms coming through. If the sun peeks out right before sunset then the clouds turn a bright orange. These were all taken with my phone and just cropped up a little.

In the above picture you can see the silhouette of an osprey on top of my neighbor’s sailboat. She’s been back again, sleeping there and then leaving at first light in the morning.

SkyWatch Friday

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.

SkyWatch Friday