One last walk

I got up early one morning in late September to take my last walk around the neighborhood. It wasn’t my last walk anywhere, just around this neighborhood. After living here for 17 years, we moved about 20 minutes away so Brett could be closer to work and it was time to downsize. It was before the sun came up and a faint rainbow was visible as the ducks flew by. I said goodby to Blondie and her grown babies. I’ll miss those creme colored mallards.

The ducks stopped by the yard days before we moved. It was the last of the bird seed so they were going to have to scrounge somewhere else.

Backyard skies on our last week here. I’ll miss the open sky but we are moving to a heavily wooded area and it will be nice to be in the shade now and see different wildlife. I’ll be posting pictures of the critters near our new home soon.

SkyWatch Friday

More summer skies from the yard

The skies from my front and back yard in late summer are insane. Some nights right when the sun hits after the rain has moved out, it looks like the sky is on fire. These were all taken in late August and early September.

The above was snapped with my phone through the glass door and the screened porch. The smaller ones before this were too close to be outside. The next day I found out it hit my neighbor’s house. It fried his fuse box and burned one side of his house. It took several days for an electrician to come out and fix everything so you really don’t know when it’s going to hit.

Lightning on the side of the house (I was standing in the garage). It’s weird the way the 2nd one was brighter in the middle.

Most nights if the sun peaks out in the backyard after a storm, I get this in the front yard.

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Those crazy Florida skies in August

As August starts to roll around, the summer rains come in. Usually in the late afternoons (although some days the rain can start in the morning and continue all day).Most nights the sun would peek out right before it set which makes for amazing colors through the clouds. I am constantly running outside to check the skies and take pictures. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy. All of the above were taken from my yard with my phone.

I was running errands and caught this tiny lightning bolt walking back to my car. It’s better to run errands on a day like this in August. It’s cooler and less people are out. Although you have to be okay with getting wet if a super soaker happens that even an umbrella won’t help.

Catching a storm coming in at Davis Islands.

While out running errands, I stopped at a fishing pier in the northern part of Tampa bay. This lesser known pier is a great spot to catch the storms rolling in. There wasn’t any lightning from the clouds or else I would not have been out here on the pier. I headed back to my car long before the rain hit.

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Crazy summer skies

I was thinking it might rain but I wanted to get out of the house for a short walk so I headed over to the Courtney Campbell Causeway nearby in late June. The rain held off for a while and I was able to catch the rainbow going across the causeway. You can see a faint 2nd one above it.

There were pockets of rain all across the bay. It looked like it was coming right for me so I headed back to my car after snapping the above.

Instead of going straight home I stopped at a nearby parking deck to see what the sky looked like from higher up.

Making a pano with my phone, the rain was on the left side and the sun was coming out on the right. Another typical Florida summer shot.

When I got home, the clouds were rolling into my neighborhood.

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Rain in the bay

The rain was moving in but I wasn’t ready to go home. I was hoping for either lightning pictures or at least a rainbow. I got neither but it was still fun being out. I headed over to tiny park on the other side of the St. Pete Pier. I could see the heavy rain out in the bay towards Tampa.

A pano of the Pier (on the left) to the small private airport tower (on the right). Typical Florida summer day, rain on the left, blue sky on the right.

Turning around I could see the downtown St. Pete skyline.

One sailboat was heading out for the bay. I hope they dodged that storm coming in. It was suppose to rain all day so I was surprised to see them going out.

Across the yacht basin, I could see the big model airplane. A tribute to the first commercial airline that started here.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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